G-8 and the Neanderthal

Look, I understand why in disarmament talks, countries don’t want to do it unilaterally: if we disarm and you do not we are at greater risk. I do not understand why Bush takes this position — which Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Environment Minister, characterized as neanderthal — on reducing CO2. In this case, the risk is the opposite: if we move unilaterally to reduce CO2 we reduce everybody’s risk, ours included. True, those not participating may get an industrial leg-up but it will be a leg-up on a crumbling foundation. Their advances will not keep up with the retreat of the ground beneath their feet.

This is not the way Bush sees it, and so the headlines making the rounds that this G-8 summit may be more harmonious than previous ones are just silly. He is bringing in the worst report card on the environment that can be imagined. He has not abandoned his position that the US will do nothing unless everyone does it. The only harmony that may ensue is the quiet placidity of waiting until his successor can make an appearance next year, the quiet drip drip dripping of the Greenland glaciers turning to sea water…. So harmony be damned!

Moving ahead decisively, and even recklessly, to reduce CO2 emissions in the US, or any large-economy country, will, in the first place, help us and in the second place provide the moral, technological and economic high ground to push, shame and threaten others into joining the battle. George Washington and the New England volunteers did not wait for everyone’s agreement to take on the British: they just did it, recklessly and in many ways, ineptly. But the time was right, others joined, education took place in the experience, and life began anew. The patriot armies this time may be Global Patriots and the enemy, again, a certain George.

Environment Report Card

Thanks to the World Wildlife Fund for the Report Card (pdf)

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