D23: Denial of Reality

Debates, schemmates . . . Our biggest danger in this life is that there are no debates in this country. Debates paid for by the coal industry of course will have no questions, no discussions about drought, global warming, climate change, food supplies. Business as usual, move along, there is nothing to see in the environment, lets talk silly stuff instead. Okay? Okay.

And then the Decider does another raft of dishonest claims in the speech last night. I discovered Think Progress did a good job of parsing the speech. For those of us interested in sustainable life policy decisions (or lack of decisions), I include a few of these deconstructed claims. The deceptive speech is followed by the facts.
SOTU: Bush Has Repeatedly Blocked Global Climate Efforts

Bush said: “And let us complete an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases. This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride.”

FACT — BUSH BLOCKED GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE EFFORTS: The United States remains the only industrialized nation to refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol. At the most recent global conference on climate change in Bali, the United States rejected mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions and was “principally responsible for obstructing progress.” [National Geographic, 12/3/07; BBC, 12/15/07; Reuters, 12/13/08]
FACT — ‘MAJOR EMITTERS’ MEETING UNDERMINES GLOBAL EFFORTS: This week, the United States will convene a “major emitters” meeting in Hawaii. By meeting outside of the U.N. framework and by likely agreeing only to “aspirational targets,” Bush’s ‘major emitters’ meetings undermines the efforts of the United Nations to draw up a global binding agreement. [Reuters, 1/27/08; NYT, 9/24/07; BBC, 12/13/07]

SOTU: Bush’s Policies Have Catered To Energy Interests

Bush said: “Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions. Let us increase the use of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power. Let us continue investing in advanced battery technology and renewable fuels to power the cars and trucks of the future.”

FACT — BUSH AND ALLIES HAVE RAKED IN MILLIONS FROM COAL INTERESTS: During the 2000 campaign, the Bush campaign received more than $2.8 million from energy interests, including $442,739 from electric utilities and $107,821 from the coal mining industry. “Over the last six years, coal companies have donated $9 million to federal political candidates and party organizations, and 90 percent has gone to Republicans.” Massey Energy, one of the largest American producers of coal, boasts one director who alone has contributed over $89,000 to Republicans over the last eight years. [Earth Justice; NYT, 8/9/04; OpenSecrets.org]
FACT — BUSH REJECTS RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY STANDARD: Bush threatened to veto the 2007 energy bill because of the renewable electricity standard that would have required utility companies to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. [Washington Post, 12/4/07]
FACT — BUSH DEMANDED CONGRESS KEEP TAX BREAKS FOR BIG OIL IN ENERGY BILL: Bush also threatened to veto the energy bill over a tax package that would have repealed $13 million in government subsidies and tax breaks to oil companies. The money would have helped pay for the legislation’s renewable energy and energy efficiency provisions. A 2006 analysis by the US Climate Energy Council found that oil companies were slated to receive “$31.6 billion on handouts from taxpayers over the next five years.” [Reuters, 12/12/07, Climate Energy Council, 2006]

To review, the debates have denied realities that we face global climate crisis, Dubya ‘the decider’ has always denied this reality and used the executive branch to cover up science about peak oil, global warming (to name only two). Lastly we can look at the American population. We have denied the reality of many decades of myths about our country and how it works. It seems to me we appear to be an easily duped, distracted or just plain disillusioned electorate. Now that our survival is in the balance and so many of us are aching to make a difference, reality is our mission. The following from Pacific Views inspires me:

So please understand, in all ways, that the greatest tragedy of global warming, this very serious and urgent climate crisis, is inaction. Is a belief in human powerlessness in the face of a problem we ourselves had the power to create. Is the blinkered moronicity that allows leaders to make decisions exactly as if money were edible. Is the trap within which the public is caught that makes it difficult to have the time and resources to do more than buy what they're offered and try to chill out a little bit every evening by the flickering glow of reality television.

And in that frustration, there's the seed of hope. We did this to ourselves. We can't change the inexorable laws of physics that are destabilizing our weather. Yet we can change each other's minds and willingness to act, we can help each other find the way out.

"If one thing could be different, everything could be different." - G.I. Gurdjieff