This picture (from the cover of National Geographic) shows the ice caps on Greenland melting (my words, not theirs, but it is what's happening). In just the past decade, the flow of some of Greenland's glaciers have doubled in speed. We are witnessing the beginning of the melting of the polar ice caps – right now.
The National Geographic article noted that if the ice on Greenland melts, ocean levels will rise a catastrophic 10 feet! Coastlines all over the world would be inundated. If this happens; every coastal city, significant portions of some countries, and whole ecosystems will cease to exist.
But there is good news – sort of. At the G-8 summit, an agreement was made that “resolute and concerted national action” on the emission of greenhouse gases was urgently needed, and “substantial” reductions were planned. Congratulations, sort of. The G-8 summit has made a step in the right direction, but at a time when we need to be sprinting. The agreement noted that the EU, Canada, and Japan all wanted CO2 emissions halved by 2050, but the US (as expected) has resisted all firm commitments.
The final agreement won't be made until 2009, which is, of course, after Bush is out of office. Hey... wait a minute, doesn't that mean that Bush hasn't really agreed to anything. Damn if this doesn't look like spin. Bush has just agreed to do nothing but talk about about extreme climate change for the rest of his term, and his administration will claim he is an environmentalist. This agreement has no commitments, no caps, and there's even an option to cop out if China and India don't participate – just in case our next president also happens to be bought and paid for by the coal, power, oil, and auto industries.
Also hidden in the news on the very same day; the EPA has issued a new “guidance” on water protection under the Federal Clean Water Act. It seems that all water in this nation doesn't deserve equal protection. The new rule claims that for water to be protected, there must be a “significant nexus” between the stream or wetland and a traditional waterway.
It appears that the EPA only cares about water you can boat in. What kind of red-neck attitude is that? Does this mean that soon, the EPA will only care about wilderness you can ride a 4-wheeler through?
With this kind of protection, say goodbye to clear mountain streams.
There is a small stream coming down from Wilderness Area near my home. Right now, two companies are planning to build what they call “two” coal fired power plants as close as 4 miles away. They actually plan to build seven units, and locate them at two sites. Over the course of the next 50 years, these units will burn about 750 million tons of coal. That's over two train loads a day, every day, for the next 40 to 60 years. And with these new EPA rules, I doubt this mountain stream will be protected.
We have witnessed the George Bush junta do everything it can, including a few things that are likely illegal (see future blog entries), to gut the EPA and sell out the Department of Interior. I fear nothing has changed except the presentation.
I truly hope this isn't what it looks like. We'll know in a couple of weeks. If scores of US power companies cancel their plans for construction of coal fired power plants, then I guess Bush really means business. But, I get the feeling that this is just the same old bullshit sandwich... with different bread.