Thursday, July 24, 2008

Should We Lower Our Standard of Living so China can Pollute?

Everybody knows that the United States is the world’s biggest polluter. Everybody knows that if George W. Bush wasn’t standing in the way, the U.S. Senate would approve the Kyoto Protocol from the Framework Convention on Climate Change and in a few years the entire planet would be pollution free. Just ask Al Gore.

Well, “Everybody” is wrong.

Sometime last year China passed the United States as the world’s largest emitter of CO2 which is considered the primary “Greenhouse” gas. It has even been reported that China, all by itself, increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by 2% in 2007. If that is not bad enough, the total CO2 emitted by China has DOUBLED in the past 7 years. And, at their current rate of growth, China’s emissions will double again in the next 10 – 12 years.

Translation: The United States could take every car off the road, shut down all of our coal burning power plants, basically take America back to the Stone Age and 10 years from now the “Greenhouse” gases will be exactly the same as they are today. All thanks to Chinese coal fired power plants and wasteful big industry. They are currently adding an additional coal fired plant every week or so with no end in sight. While the scrubber technology common in America is available and installed on many of the Chinese coal plants, the operators have found it cheaper to pay a fine than to use them, compounding the problem.

But wasn’t the Kyoto Protocol supposed to fix all of this? China happily signed it and why not? They don’t have to limit their pollution; they only have to report it! Currently China burns more coal in inefficient and polluting factories and power stations than the United States, Europe and Japan combined, yet they have no restrictions on the growth of their emissions. It would seem the only thing the Kyoto Protocol hoped to achieve was to lower the standard of living for the developed nations while allowing developing nations such as China, India and Brazil to foul the air and water with impunity. In fact, 80% of the nations in the world are completely exempt from Kyoto imposed limits and Russia – another major offender -- wasn’t asked to make any improvement, only maintain their same current levels of pollution.

George W. Bush recognized how unfair it was to expect the Western world to lower their emissions while letting China and others raise theirs. In 2001 he withdrew from the Kyoto farce:
"This is a challenge that requires a 100% effort; ours, and the rest of the worlds. The world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is the People's Republic of China. Yet, China was entirely exempted from the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. India and Germany are among the top emitters. Yet, India was also exempt from Kyoto… America's unwillingness to embrace a flawed treaty should not be read by our friends and allies as any abdication of responsibility. To the contrary, my administration is committed to a leadership role on the issue of climate change… Our approach must be consistent with the long-term goal of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere."
-President George W. Bush (see the complete letter
Instead of being praised for his good sense he was vilified. Despite the self evident inequity of the Kyoto Protocol where the nations trying to battle pollution are punished while those creating the bulk of the new pollutants were in effect rewarded, the hew and cry from the “Global Warming” alarmist could be heard throughout the land.
“Bush hates the Environment!”
“Bush is in the pocket of Big Oil!”

Those crying the loudest about the evil George W. Bush are the same ones who didn’t notice the United States Senate voted on the Kyoto Protocol while Bill Clinton was still in the White House. By a razor thin margin of 95-0, the senate informed President Clinton he was wasting his time with the Kyoto Treaty. As long as the Chinese were exempt then he could consider it DOA. Dead on Arrival. And this from a senate that couldn’t get a unanimous vote whether the sun would rise tomorrow.

You can debate the pros and cons of “Global Warming” but air and water pollution exists and it’s getting worse in the developing world. Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post said it best:

"I'm not a global warming believer. I'm not a global warming denier. I'm a global warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can't be very good to pump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats."
-Washington Post (read the complete article

The big question is whether it is fair to ask the developed world, which is already fighting pollution on every front, to sacrifice their standard of living so reckless third world leaders can foul the world’s ecosystem?

If you’re interested, here are some great articles on Global Warming and the way the Chinese have gamed the U.N. and the world “scientific" community. The folks in Peking must be stunned that they are the leading cause of new “Greenhouse” gases and the number one polluter in the world yet are considered victims by many in radical environmental movement.

As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes

"Chinese cities often seem wrapped in a toxic gray shroud. Only 1 percent of the country’s 560 million city dwellers breathe air considered safe by the European Union. Beijing is frantically searching for a magic formula, a meteorological deus ex machina, to clear its skies for the 2008 Olympics.

Environmental woes that might be considered catastrophic in some countries can seem commonplace in China: industrial cities where people rarely see the sun; children killed or sickened by lead poisoning or other types of local pollution; a coastline so swamped by algal red tides that large sections of the ocean no longer sustain marine life."

-The New York Times (read the complete article HERE)


China's pollution nightmare is now everyone's pollution nightmare

"The catch is that China has become not just the world's manufacturer but its despoiler, on a scale as monumental as its economic expansion. A fourth of the country is now desert. More than three-fourths of its forests have disappeared. Each year, uncontrollable underground fires, sometimes triggered by lightning or mining accidents, consume 200 million tons of coal, contributing massively to global warming. A miasma of lead, mercury, sulfur dioxide, and other elements of coal-burning and car exhaust hovers over most Chinese cities."
-Christian Science Monitor (read the complete article HERE)


The Last Empire: China's Pollution Problem Goes Global

"The largest source of that pollution is the billion tons of coal China burns per year, more than virtually all the world's developed nations combined. The International Energy Agency reported in November 2006 that global coal consumption had increased as much in the previous 3 years as in the 23 before that, and that China was responsible for 90 percent of the increase.

It operates more than 2,000 coal-fired power plants and puts a new one into operation every four to seven days. Few possess scrubbers that could limit emissions, and those that do tend not to use them, since scrubbers drive up the plants' energy and maintenance costs. China's central government has issued some fairly strict regulations to limit plant emissions, but they are rarely enforced because of corruption and the reluctance of local officials to confront job-generating power companies. Those companies called upon to meet the regulations usually opt for paying an annual $500,000 fee instead. The plants provide 80 percent of China's energy, at the price of emissions devastating to both China and the rest of the world."

-Mother Jones (read the complete article HERE)

NASA Photo of China Pollution

NASA Photos of Chinese Pollution The air has become so dirty in China, in the winter, in some places the snow is brown.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My meetings with Iraqi Shiite clerics angered me...

...and also inspired me. It angered me because America has lost its idealism, but it inspired me to join with others to restore the idealism I remember in the 50's and 60's - - - before the drug culture and the “me” generation began to change our society.

I spent a long weekend in London meeting with a handful of prominent Iraqis, including two leading Shiite clerics. The group’s mission is to memorialize the brutality that existed under Saddam Hussein and to create a museum akin to the Holocaust Museum.

The Iraq Memory Foundation works to document the first-hand testimonies from Iraqi survivors of Saddam's regime. For nearly 30 years, Iraqis suffered from his brutality, but so many Americans say, "So what, that's their problem, they've been fighting for years and will always fight." Just look into the eyes of an Iraqi dad who had to watch with his wife, their eight-month old daughter fly a foot into the air as the current was turned on to an electric cable attached to their child’s wrist. Saddam should have been taken out even if his most serious weapon of mass destruction was a Red Ryder BB gun.

On a visit to Hyde Park's Speaker's Corner, I engaged a British Imam. Here are a few highlights of our exchange:

  • Should leaving the Islamic faith be punishable by death? His response, "In Britain, no, but in an Islamic state, yes." In an Isalmic state, conversion to a different religion is considered synonymous with treason.

  • Some people are concerned about Muslim immigrants not assimilating into the British culture. The Imam's response - "As Muslims we have fully integrated into British society, but we have no desire to assimilate to an inferior culture." Ironically, Britain today has "reverse assimilation" as exemplified by the fact that British police sniffer dogs wear "booties" with rubber soles so as not to offend Muslims.

  • On the Muslim who was found not guilty of beating his wife in a German secular court because it did not violate Shari'a law, his response was, "Just as we punish our children to reprimand them, so too sometimes it is justifiable to reprimand our wives. It is our duty."

How does a multiculturalist embrace two cultures where one hangs homosexuals as they did the 14-year old boy in Iran last month, while the other protects and advances the rights of homosexuals? Similarly, is multiculturalism possible when we contrast Islam with Christianity? One says the Quran must dictate the function of government in a theocratic caliphate-type system of government. The western worldview embraces Jesus' comment, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto God what is God’s”... one of the earliest statements on the separation of church and state. How do multiculturalists justify the concept of religious freedom and a culture that kills those who leave the Muslim faith?

Dining at the House of Lords, graciously hosted by Baroness Caroline Cox and Lord Malcolm Pearson, joined by my friend Gerard Batten, who ran for Mayor of London, we discussed the impact of political correctness on British culture. A UK judge recently said that Shari'a law is permissible in domestic relationships, distressing women's rights advocates. Adding to this, the recent resolution passed by the United Nations, banning criticism of Islam and Mohammed, essentially making it akin to 'hate speech', drives all of us to discern what we can do, as private citizens on both sides of the pond, to maintain the free speech traditions we've enjoyed in western civilization, and for which so many have died.

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God Bless, Foster ****