What Planet Are These Guys Living On?

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is scan breaking news on the Web. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry when I read this:

“Meeting in Japan, leaders of eight of the world’s largest economies, including U.S. President George W. Bush, pledged to halve emissions of greenhouse gas in their own countries by 2050.”

Are you kidding me? 2050? Will the earth still be here then? Someone should tell the Group of Eight leaders that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012. I’d like to believe we’re going to be here after that, but 2012 is a useful deadline for pressing tasks like saving the planet.

What’s more, as several commentators have noted, the Group of Eight doesn’t include the fast-growing economies of China, India, and Brazil, where thousands of new autos are hitting the road each year. The emissions produced by these vehicles aren’t included in the voluntary G8 accord. We’ve got to be able to do better than this. Our future is riding on it, to paraphrase the old Michelin tires commercial.

10 comments on “What Planet Are These Guys Living On?

  1. Pingback: Conspirama

  2. Well, I hope to stay alive long enough to see how historians treat the two-term administration of George W. Bush. As they say down in Texas, “It ain’t goin’ to be purty, y’all.” I’m really sorry that Molly Ivins isn’t here with us to sum it all up. I miss her writing! As a true Texan, she really had Bush’s number and sprinkled her barbs with folksy language.
    In Molly’s memory, I’m going to tell the famous Texas joke about Bush that made the rounds of the Internet a few years ago.
    I copied this one from politicalhumor.about.com/ and edited it slightly.

    Here it is:
    A 70-year-old Texas rancher got his hand caught in a gate while working with cattle. He wrapped the hand in his bandanna and drove his pickup to the doctor. While suturing the laceration, the doctor asked the old man about George W. Bush being in the White House.

    The old Texan said, “Well, ya know, Bush is a ‘post turtle.'”

    Not knowing what the old man meant, the doctor asked what a post turtle was.

    The old man looked at him and drawled, “When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a post turtle.”

    The old man saw a puzzled look on the doctor’s face, so he continued to explain:

    “You know he didn’t get there by himself, he doesn’t belong there, he can’t get anything done while he’s up there, and you just want to help the poor dumb sumbitch get down.”

  3. This whole thing is just such a shame… They have to know that this means nothing. I just wish they did some real work. To bad the tax payers had to pay to send Bush and all his Secret Service agents over there so they could do this.

    I have said this before today on this topic… at least the press is calling them out on this too… all to often the press is guilty of green washing and making things seem good when they really are not.


  4. 50 by 50, as it’s called, is a pretty commonly accepted goal for greenhouse gas emissions, and even then it will take monumental effort to achieve it. Of course, we’d be a lot further along if we’d been doing anything at all to meet it in the last eight years, but any forward motion is welcome at this point. As for 2012, we’d be doing very well to even have a regulatory program in place by then.

    As for not including the biggest portions of the developing world — you’re singing W’s tune. That’s exactly the excuse used for not accepting Kyoto (and with our current approach to trade, it’s not inaccurate — we could end up with the very short pointy end of the economic stick). But there IS not excuse for doing nothing for the better part of a decade while the science and observed effects become more and more clear.

  5. Carl — Comments from people informed about the topic are always welcome. Having said that, I want to say that by pointing out that India, China, and Brazil aren’t part of the program I’m not trying to jump into W.’s camp. I think we should expand G8 to include them and get them on board for “50 by 50,” as you tell me it’s called. Also, the economics minor in me wants to note there’s nothing like higher gas prices to stop people from driving and to limit greenhouse gas emissions. People have been ragging on Time magazine’s story about things to like about pricey gas, but this could be one of them. Thanks for stopping by! — Monica

  6. You must know when I’m tweaking you by now. And enviros have been looking at $4 gas like it’s the holy grail for years now — but the fact is we’re not built for a sudden change in lifestyles, and the inflationary pressure of high gas prices is not a good thing. But if, 35 years after the “oil crisis,” we finally start to think about maybe doing something about it, that would be a good thing.

  7. Well, it’s good to know that the practice Conor Shea dubbed “Monica-baiting” is still alive and well after all these years. And, no I still can’t tell when someone is pulling my chain. I took all your comments seriously!

  8. There’s a wonderful blog out of the Ojai, California area by Kit Stolz called “A Change in the Wind” you might want to check out. He just quoted the following:

    “From the Times of London on the unsuccessful G-8 effort to reduce carbon emissions:

    The G8 summit concluded on a light-hearted note, as President Bush bade farewell to world leaders with the words: “Goodbye from the world’s greatest polluter.” The other statesmen laughed, at first nervously, and then more enthusiastically when they realised Mr Bush was making a joke, mocking America’s reputation on global warming.”

    As far as I’m concerned, Bush belongs in jail for the rest of his natural born life for crimes against humanity. Maybe we’ll see THAT in our lifetimes, though I won’t be holding my breath.

  9. Sf Mike — Thanks for stopping by. I will check out “A Change in the Wind.” Liked your post on the victory garden for the slow food movement. — Monica

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