Last week two totally unrelated issues came together in some sort of cosmic drive-by to highlight the lack of rationality being employed by the U.S. Federal Government. It was Wednesday, hump day to some, and while a majority of a nations were recognizing climate change as the threat it is, the U.S. House of Representatives was busy voting to increase fines on those brave enough to flash a boob or other graphic images.
Suffice it to say… February 16, 2005 was one for the history books.
With little mention in the U.S. media, the Kyoto Global Warming Pact, ratified by 140 nations, went into affect seven years after it was negotiated in 1997. A result of work began at the Rio De Janeiro Earth Summit; this international effort of environmental stewardship should be seen as a first step in the much-needed reevaluation of energy and industrial policy of developing and developing nations.
Believed to be behind rising global temperatures and disrupted weather patterns, carbon dioxide, and the five other Greenhouse gases trapping heat in the atmosphere, are targeted by the Kyoto Protocol which set binding targets for developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels, in order to address global warming.
Not much I know, but it's a start.
The United States, the world's largest emitter of such gases, has refused to ratify the agreement, saying it would harm the economy and flawed by a lack of emission restrictions on China and India. Australia is the only other developed nation not to do so. Also joining this coalition of the unwilling, are oil producing nations Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Venezuela.
Also receiving little mention from the mainstream corporate media was the February 16th vote in the United States Congress to increase the fine for public indecency on the airwaves to 500,000 per violation, without clearly defining what indecency is. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the men and women of Congress are more concerned with the threat of Janet Jackson's right breast, than the threat of catastrophic climate change.
I guess it's just a matter of priorities.
One definition for indecent is- adj: not in keeping with accepted standards of what is right or proper in polite society. Sexually graphic language and behavior can be indecent, as could the clinically obese, or a fur coat in Southern California. To argue that point is unnecessary, as any word or action can offend anyone alarmed enough to be offended. Frankly? Public nudity and a foul-mouthed rock stars do not register on my list of global obscenities. Corporate domination of the public airwaves does. So does the unwillingness of corporate media to honestly address environmental issues such as global warning and climate change.
Respectful of polite society, I have always considered industrial pollution to be improper, and ultimately unacceptable. Unfortunately the U.S. Congress has never been overly concerned about the consequences of over consumption of natural resources. 81% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas.
Since U.S. emission trends are largely caused by trends in energy consumption, unless alternative fuel sources are developed the United States will continue to be the primary source of global warming. U.S. failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol is just another example of American unilateralism endangering global stability.
The Kyoto Protocol is evidence accepted standards regarding global concern have shifted in favor of ecological restraint. By ignoring the obvious the U.S Government is pandering to the industries responsible for the build-up of greenhouse gases.
Global security is more than a jingoistic war on terrorism. Global security is also about doing right by ecological systems that support human populations. Global security is also about mitigating environmental destruction due to industrial pollution. Global Security is about clean air and water.
A Congress and Senate unwilling to demand ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, and the reduction of green house gases is not only indecent, it is down right obscene. And we the people have no one to blame but ourselves for turning up the heat.
As a Californian I have to ask myself, why do we put up with such indecent behavior?