Monday, October 15, 2007

No US Re-nay-agan on Environmental Treaties

This, my 200th post, is part of blog action day, where bloggers around the web unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment.

There is not much doubt that the main environmental concern at the moment is global warming. In 1997 the industrialized nations signed an agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the Kyoto treaty. American President George W. Bush refuses to abide by the terms of the treaty, claiming he "does not believe the science".

I doubt he understands the science. The right wing, fearing that socialists are using global warming to further their political arguments have adopted three positions; to deny the science behind global warming; to argue for technological solutions rather than "economically damaging restrictions"; or, like David Cameron, embrace global warming and its economically damaging solutions in an attempt to become electable.

Back in the late 1980's and early 90's, the big environmental concern was depletion of the ozone layer. Back then, America also had an idiot for a leader in the form of Ronald Reagan; and some would argue so did Britain. However the similarities ended there. Margaret Thatcher graduated in Chemistry from Oxford and actually did understand the science. She persuaded Ronald Reagan to sign the Montreal Protocol, the Kyoto of its day and as a result, ozone depletion is beginning to subside.

What does Margaret Thatcher think of global warming? Well according to a recent article by the ASI (based on her book Statecraft), she is firmly in the second camp, believing it is a problem but one that can be overcome by human ingenuity rather than damaging restrictions. It is a position which I tend to agree with. There is no point telling people what they can and cannot do, or charge them more in an attempt to stop them doing it; in a free country, we will make up our own minds based on our own desires and most people will not stop to think about the long-term consequences.

What price a scientifically savvy Prime Minister who can influence America on the environment?

Could it cost us the Earth?

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