Putting the World at Risk

smog

 

The biggest loser in last Tuesday’s election was the environment. You can bet the new Republican majority will jump at the chance to unleash Old King Coal upon America.

I just received an email from the Union of Concerned Scientists sounding the alarm over this dangerous turn of events.

The organization noted that:

  • There are multiple bills on the floor of Congress to strip the EPA of its regulatory power and slash the agency’s budget.
  • And politicians who will make it their mission to stall progress on global warming will control both houses of Congress come January.

I expect President Obama to veto the most extreme legislation, but with the kind of money and muscle backing the anti-environment movement, he cannot hope to hold the line alone.

The powers behind the crusade for coal are baring their fangs.

Senate opponents of an EPA rule designed to reduce carbon pollution from power plants are calling for an “investigation” of the Union of Concerned Scientists for supporting the EPA. And a front group ran full-page ads in USA Today comparing the scientists behind the rule to terrorists and anarchists.

With this kind of opposition, it looks as if any chance of a carbon tax on coal fired plants has vanished for the foreseeable future.

Global warming will remain unaddressed as the tides creep into the streets and homes along Miami Beach, the polar ice cap melts away and the world’s beaches gradually succumb to inexorably rising sea levels.

And there’s a more immediate threat – deadly smog.

While the Chinese are desperately trying to alleviate the poisonous pollution that has citizens of Shanghai wearing masks (photo above), Americans are moving in the opposite direction. It’s going to be drill, baby, drill and burn baby burn (coal and oil of course) – at least as long as the Republicans remain in power.

The anti-environment revolt in America raises troubling questions.

Americans share the environment with the rest of the world, and I question their right to endanger everybody else.

I lived in Northern Ontario in the late Fifties, and I recall the devastating poison that acid rain introduced in Canadian lakes and rivers. Now, Canada faces a new threat from American greed and fecklessness.

Not only Canada of course. America has neighbors to the south as well as the north. Central and South America – and the islands of the Caribbean – are at risk.

Indeed, the risk is worldwide. Air and water currents move all over the globe.

To make matters worse, America’s coal producers are not only planning an American revivial but also preparing to exploit developing markets in Asia.

I see this kind of assault on the environment as an act of aggression against the rest of the world. And I wonder: Will other nations meekly accept it? Or will they have the guts to challenge America’s blatant disregard for the health and well being of all mankind?

Click for the dangers of coal burning.

Click for acid rain and Canada.

Click for more on the threat of coal.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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