20 April 2008

Global Climate Change: Times' Kristof Challenges Bush and Candidates on Climate

Nicholas Kristof challenges President Bush's latest statement about climate change in today's New York Times. According to his Facebook page, he was inspired to write the opinion piece by a recent study in the journal Nature, titled "Dangerous Assumptions" by Roger Pielke, Jr, Tom Wigley, and Christopher Green.

"Imagine if President Bush announced a plan for Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs that declared: They will cease accumulating nuclear weapons by 2025. We will accomplish this through incentives and voluntary action, without mandates.

"Mr. Bush would be ridiculed, but in essence, that’s the plan he announced for climate change on Wednesday. He set a target for halting the growth in carbon dioxide emissions by 2025, without specific mandates to achieve that, and in the meantime he blasted proposed Senate legislation for tougher measures as unnecessary.

"Unnecessary? When scientists detect accelerating melting in the Arctic and confidently predict centuries of coastal retreats and climate shifts, endangering the only planet we have?"

Kristof closes his piece with a call for a new green economy, even if he doesn't call it that:

"So the next president should start a $20 billion-a-year program (financed by a pullout from Iraq) to develop new energy technologies, backed by a carbon tax and cap-and-trade system. Each of the presidential candidates favors some form of a cap-and-trade and would mark a step forward from President Bush’s passivity — although John McCain’s recent proposal for a summer holiday from the gas tax would be a deplorable step in exactly the wrong direction, unless he hopes to turn his land in Arizona into coastal property.

"The bottom line is that none of the candidates focus adequately on climate change, for this will be one of humanity’s great tests in the coming decades — and so far we’re failing."

Read the full opinion piece here: Kristof