Storms bring need for change to our shores

Only five weeks into the 2005-06 Hurricane Season, two tropical depressions have already taken aim at America. After last year’s devastating hurricanes, it’s hard not to notice that something is amiss. This “something” is most likely tied to the often-quoted global warming.

Apparently even President George W. Bush is buckling under the pressure as he recently acknowledged that humans did cause global warming “to some extent.”

The same conclusion was drawn by a report commissioned by the White House. That is, before White House officials edited it to reflect Bush’s point of view: global warming doesn’t even exist.

Bush also undermined what could have been a step in the right direction and went on to say, “The Kyoto treaty would have wrecked our economy, if I can be blunt.” Thus, Bush preemptively dismissed an agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions that was hoped to be discussed at the G8 summit this week. The agreement had been tabled to give the president another chance to opt in, yet save face for having snubbed the Kyoto agreement earlier.

The statement that environmental measures always conflict with economic interests is absurd. Done right it has no detrimental effect, as the industrial countries, which already ratified the Kyoto agreement, successfully proved over past years.

The statement is so absurd that even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went on the record against it. He wrote in an editorial published last Sunday in Britain’s Independent, “governments everywhere” must combat global warming. Schwarzenegger not only contradicted Bush’s statement, he also said that ignoring climate change would in the long run be more damaging to the economy than any measures would.

“Global warming threatens California’s water supply, public health, agriculture, coastlines and forests – our entire economy and way of life,” Schwarzenegger said.

Apparently there is nothing “girly” about doing what’s in the interest of the planet.

Hurricanes are just one of the effects caused by even a few degrees of global temperature increase. Their destructive force is fueled by winds created by temperature differences in the earth’s atmosphere – the warmer the waters the more destructive they become. Even an elevation of a few degrees would most likely have disastrous effects.

The Bush administration is brushing this aside as pseudo science.

Are these politicians really prepared to take that chance, or will they play it safe and put some measures into place that to stop the worst-case scenarios from occurring?

The ball is in the president’s court. But if his answer remains no, he may face some tough questions the next time he poses for a photo-op with his brother, Jeb, while unloading water for hurricane victims.