The U.S. government angered environmentalists by refusing to ratify the Kyoto protocol. But some American states, politicians, and firms are keener to fly the green flag.
Five minutes. That’s how long George W. Bush and John Kerry spent discussing the environment during the three televised debates of the 2004 presidential campaign. It doesn’t seem to be an issue that keeps American politicians awake at night.
Indeed in March 2001, only a few weeks after he became president, Bush announced that the
But things have changed today. Protection of the environment has climbed up the political agenda and regularly hits the headlines of
In less than a month this autumn,
On Sept. 20, 2006, the Californian justice minister announced that he was taking six Japanese and American car manufacturers to court. He accused the companies of being a public nuisance and of manufacturing “cars which release massive quantities of carbon dioxide.” The importance of this decision cannot be underestimated: in
And on Sept. 29, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act which legally binds
It is far from surprising that
a landmark measure aimed at improving air quality nationwide – was the fruit of campaigns fought over pollution in
Other States Coming Around
State governments are not the only forces in American society to take action on the environmental front. The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) illustrates a growing trend among private companies. Its members include Rolls-Royce, Motorola, IBM, the local governments of major cities such as
Companies usually oppose restrictions on emissions, saying they could make them less competitive. But participants in the CCX say their reduced emissions actually made them more competitive, because they were able to reduce their energy consumption and improve productivity.
The Bush administration has argued that ratifying the
Some politicians have also taken up the cause. Bush’s entrenched stance on
Gore’s film on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, was widely seen and became the third-top-grossing documentary in American history (after Fahrenheit 9/11 and the March of the Emperor.) Gore’s re-emergence in the public eye has given rise to speculation that he might run for the presidency in 2008. It’s unlikely he would be able to convince the Democratic Party to nominate him instead of Hillary Clinton. But if he did become the Democratic candidate, you can bet he’d spend more than five minutes on environmental issues during the debates.
Date created : 2008-01-11