The news from the Bali conference on climate has been unsurprising to me. I generally shy away from hippie, evil corporations and Bush being a corporate pawn clichés, but it's like he wants us to think in those terms. Like always, Bush's administration moderates its tone when its critics are proven right, but it remains as unwilling to adress the problem. This time the US is unwilling to bind itself to an international agreement (again) that obliges it to interfere with domestic economy and CO2 output. Yeah, it is supported by Japan and Canada in this stance, but when you get down to it, you can scrap those of the list just as soon again since a) Japan has in the past already made such large contributions to cutting CO2 that it's really difficult for them to find anything else that could be cleaner without conflicting with a core value of Japanese: consumerism. And b) Canada is held hostage by a conservative government, so I do what I do best and blame those rather than Blame Canada.
Bush's logic is always free market oriented when it's not really such a strong arguement. He wants to protect the market from cheap Chinese cars so he wouldn't be caught dead telling the auto industry how to make cars. I heard somewhere a Ford cars wouldn't pass even China's enviromental standards. Or he says the US cannot make the change without incredible effort. If so, I'd like to hear him explain why Putin had Russia sign Kyoto. You'd think the older Russian industry would have an even harder time than a country much richer than itself. Of course that is if Putin wasn't just out to score brownie points with left wing critics who care about enviroment and human rights in equal measure.
What truly made Bush the laughing stock was his own little conference in Washington half a year ago. No bald faced liar could have humiliated himself more than that. His administration claimed it was leading on enviromental protection and Europe should follow their example. Sorry, but if the Netherlands followed that example I'd be typing this blog from a refugee camp in the German Alps now since our dykes would have broken like the levees of New Orleans. They then had the arrogance to expect other nations to contribute financial and scientific resources to improve the world. A cynic would say Bush wanted to rummage through the donations bin, pick out contributions he liked, and then throw in a half burned cigar and call it 'his contribution'. The rancid cream on top was a press statement by his lackeys, so they could cart the news teams off to somewhere so nobody would see the insulted and gravely disappointed delegation as it left.
I figure there may be a few climate change sceptics reading who will say "why waste money on something that hasn't been proven?". Okay, so if a 100+ reports on climate change are not proof, let's take a hypothetical situation, hmm? Ask yourself what the enviromentalists (mostly scientists, greens and left wingers) stand to gain from being right, then ask what the critics (corporations, free market proponents and right wingers) stand to gain from being right. I can see no benefit for enviromentalists that are material, and they cannot be driven to press for such sacrifices if there wasn't anything wrong to begin with. The critics however, if right, won't have to make expensive changes to increase their efficiency and cut their polution, so for them it's about the money.
Still nor convinced? Well, let's say the enviromentalists get their way and we make all those suggested changes, but climate change isn't just avoided, but it turns out to have never been a threat. Then we will have invested huge sums of money in biofuels, renewable energy, hydrogen fuel and even fusion power, while water and air pollution is brought back considerably, increasing the health and welbeing of people living in industrialized regions, and forfeited any tiffs over oil trade while economically strangling a few brutal regimes that are only tolerated and sucked-up to because of their fossil fuel reserves. Not a bad way to be proven wrong, is it?
And what about if we do things the way Global Warming sceptics want it and they are proven wrong? Well, I'd hate to see what the world will be like then. I'd also hate to be in any redneck's shoes when he has to explain to refugees from Shanghai, New York or Amsterdam why he didn't want to make a little effort to prevent pollution before it led to global floods and other disasters.
Ironically, Bali is an island in the Indonesian archipelago that is rather small and will probably lose significant amounts of land to the sea if it does not disappear entirely in the event of global flooding. My mom used to buy Balinese Treats at a baker but nowadays it's impossible to get those even at a specialized sweets baker. I estimate that if Bali is all washed up, they'll be even harder to get. We may as well call them sea snacks then, and I reckon if Bali is gone, we'll be having plenty of those here.