Tuesday, May 03, 2005

MSNBC Loves the Global Warming!

Here's First Read at MSNBC regurgitating Republican talking points from the Wall Street Journal editorial page on the political and economic costs of high gasoline prices.

Money Quote:

"The Wall Street Journal editorial page argues that natural gas offers a case study for how environmentalists, with 'their hostility to all fossil fuels, or for that matter all energy production that isn't still a technological fantasy,' are contributing to the energy problem. The page reminds us that Alan Greenspan "has repeatedly told Congress that natural-gas bottlenecks" -- which the Journal says are mainly due to the 'professional green lobby' -- 'endanger the economic expansion.'"

Yup, Greenspan and the Wall Street Journal are right. We've got to stop those damn environmentalists ("the professional green lobby") from"endangering economic expansion" by not falling in love with all fossil fuel usage like the rest of SUV-driving, exurb living Americans.

Give me a break. The polar ice caps are melting. Climate change and extreme weather conditions are here to stay. Weather-related economic damage has increased to $300 billion dollars a year (remember all of those hurricanes last summer?). Carbon dioxide and methane gas have increased to dangerous levels in the atmosphere. And we need to use more fossil fuels because we might "endanger economic expansion"?

John McCain, a Republican and a conservative, believes in the greenhouse effect and global warming. He believes human activity, specifically activity related to fossil fuels, has contributed to the destruction of the environment. So why is it that First Read can just repeat the WSJ and Repub talking points on energy without noting that some Republicans agree with "the professional green lobby"?

Let's be real here: the WSJ editorial page only cares about money, specifically how much money can be made on the backs of the poor, the middle class, and the environment. And Greenspan, as Federal Reserve chairman and prime shill for the banking interests, is single-handedly responsible for suckering millions of Americans into refinancing their houses and carrying millions of dollars of extra debt. Who cares what the WSJ editorial page or Greenspan think about anything?

The environment is in decline. The earth is warmer. The ice caps are melting. Weather is more extreme. These are facts. Maybe if fat-assed Americans would get out of their cars and walk somewhere instead of driving to the 7-11 to buy their ice cream and potato chips, the earth wouldn't be in such bad shape. Maybe if we built some sidewalks in the exurbs and some public transportation for people to use on their way into the office park from the housing subdivision, the polar ice caps wouldn't be melting so fast or the ocean levels rising so rapidly. Does the Third World contribute to the problems in the environment? You bet! Should they be held accountable? You bet! Should American conserve more?

You bet. The reason Greenspan and the boys at the WSJ (or those at G.E., MSNBC's parent company, for that matter) don't want Americans to conserve more is because that means they will buy less and spend less. And that's bad for the economy, or more accurately, bad for the corporations.

But you know what? Buying less and spending less is good for the earth and the human beings who live on it. And that's what really matters. What good is short-sighted economic expansion if you can't live on an over-populated, overly polluted earth anymore? How about we try some long-term "green" economic expansion (building light-rail, repairing urban infrastructure so people can live in proximity to their work, developing alternative energy sources) over short-sighted "quick buck now" expansion

PS: Maybe the folks at MSNBC like the global warming and reliance on fossil fuel usage because it gives them some extreme weather to cover in between the missing brides and persistent vegetative state stories?

UPDATE: The LA Times covers some unique ways the Japanese plan on meeting their greenhouse gas emission-reduction targets as outlined by the Kyoto Protocol. They include: turning down the air conditioning in offices and government buildings and having businesspeople wear casual attire during the summer to faciltate the warmer working conditions.

Money Quote:

"Japan imports more than 80% of its energy, and cost and demand are soaring. Electricity use jumped 3.7% in 2004, largely because of a brutal summer heat wave, the memory of which still makes Japanese wince. Meanwhile, under Kyoto Protocol stipulations, the country is committed to slashing its greenhouse gas emissions by 6% over the next five years from its 1990 levels.

The result is a willingness to consider the imponderable in order to save energy. Already, Japan seems set to move to daylight-saving time by 2007. The country shifted to daylight-saving time during the postwar U.S. occupation, but dropped the measure in 1952 after four years of using the extra daylight to wring more hours of labor out of workers. Many Japanese still equate "springing forward" with longer work days, and hate the idea.

And now they're bracing for hotter work days. Koizumi wants thermostats set no lower than 28 degrees Celsius — a number that sounds warmer when converted to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Environment Ministry can't say exactly how much energy this would save, but among some segments of the population, there appears to be a willingness to make a fashion concession to global warming

Can you imagine Americans voluntarily turning down the air conditioning, driving smaller cars, or making any sacrifices in order to lessen energy demands?

I can't. As the boys at the WSJ would say, "that's un-American!"

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