Monday, July 19, 2004

Kerry on the Environment

John Kerry's next chapter is entitled "The Challenge of Defending the Environment and Achieving Energy Independence." He gives this a high priority, and is quite critical of the current administration's response to environmental concerns;

The president and his appointees are taking this country in the wrong direction on the environment and energy. They are listening to extremist voices - the kind of people who deny, against all evidence, that there's any such thing as global warming and who are willing to gamble the future of the planet and the lives of all those who live on it to prove they are right. The administration is following the advice of narrow interests - especially those associated with the oil industry (from which both the president and the vice president have profited), which view environmental protection and energy independence alike as threats to their bottom line.
- A Call to Service
, pp.148-149.
Kerry goes on to link this cavalier attitude towards the environment to the breakdown in our foreign relations;

The abrupt abandonment of U.S. leadership on these environmental issues has been one of the most disastrous steps taken by George W. Bush's administration, affecting not only our environment but our alliances and our international reputation.

When President Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998, he made it clear that the rough goals and guidelines it outlined for action by the United States to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming needed to be revised. When President Bush took office in 2001, he had a clear mandate from the U.S. Senate to continue negotiations on this subject. But instead the president unilaterally repudiated the Kyoto Protocol, calling it "dead on arrival," and indicated no interest in an alternative process for reopening negotiations.

His remarks were instantly reported by media around the world, their underlying contempt all too clear even when translated into dozens of languages. Their impact came back to haunt us when we were trying to build a "coalition of the willing" to help us deal with Saddam Hussein. The administration failed to see that Kyoto was not merely a standard diplomatic agreement but an ongoing process that represented the resolve of 160 nations that worked together for ten years, a group that was convened and led by the United States. It was a good-faith effort that the president simply dismissed, with no effort to mend it, seek compromise, or even discuss it.
- A Call,
pp. 155-156.
How does Kerry propose to correct these disastrous steps?

A Kerry administration will put America back into the mainstream of respect for scientific evidence, technological progress, and bipartisan action on energy and the environment. Those who deny our responsibility for stewardship of the earth and its resources will be dismissed from positions of influence. And while there are legitimate differences of opinion on many issues of environmental and energy policies, I will not tolerate, much less invite into the White House to craft policies, special pleaders seeking government-imposed privileges to despoil the earth or control our energy supplies.
- A Call,
p. 149.
To free the U.S. from "excessive dependence on the wrong energy sources, controlled by the wrong people," Kerry is calling for the establishment of a peaceful equivalent of a new Manhattan Project; new investments in research into ways "to harness the natural world around us to light and power the world we live in." Beyond the using the sun, wind, water and various crops as energy resources that will wean us from our dependency on oil, he also wants "to restore the place of coal as a valuable resource and help shed its longtime image of having a negative impact on the environment."

Kerry suggests a number of other ideas, without being too specific concerning any of them. He places his faith in the American people to meet this crisis. He sees his role as giving research and development, incentives for improved energy efficiency, and working with the global community a high priority in his administration, and to continue to hold up our responsibilities of good stewardship before the people;

Most of all, my proposals on both energy and environmental protection will place these subjects back on the front burner of the national debate where they belong and where they will be of integral importance to our budget policy, trade policy, and foreign policy.
- A Call,
p. 172.
By Jove, I think he's got it!


No comments:

Post a Comment