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Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007 04:41 pm

Bush’s silly summit

The fight to stop global warming needs a leader

Untitled Document “It’s important to set a tone and to lead,” explained George W. Bush when he ran for president. “That’s exactly what [I] do.”
Well, actually, George, you have not led. In fact, you’ve been inert — almost comatose — on maybe the biggest issue of our time: global warming. The seriousness of climate change, however, has reached such profound proportions that even Bush can no longer stick his head in the slush and pretend that his beloved fossil fuels aren’t the primary culprit, so, to make a show of at least being awake, Bush’s handlers recently set him up as host of his very own two-day international summit on global warming. Held in the cozy confines of the State Department building in Washington, the 17 nations responsible for four-fifths of the world’s climate-altering emissions were brought together for the purpose of, well, of what? To hear Bush speak, of course. George the Leader boldly declared that nations should set goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and that an international fund should be set up to develop new technologies for achieving those goals. Bravo! Then he abruptly left, cutting his speech short and offering, in the way of specifics, much less tangible commitments to action. Indeed, “the Leader” continues to oppose any mandatory goals for cutting fossil-fuel emissions, insisting on a “voluntary” approach — which includes volunteering to do nothing. As for the tech fund, he set no amounts and offered no contribution. Apparently the Tooth Fairy is to deliver the needed technology. The delegates to Bush’s Global Warming Fest were puzzled by why they’d wasted their time. As a British official noted: “We could have another 20 years of talking about talking. We need to start deciding about doing.”
But that would require a leader. 

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist, and author.
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