Global Warming hits home …finally

Tim Paluch

I won’t be alive in 100 years, so why should I care about global warming? Global warming is not an issue, just something those socialist radical environmentalist hippies made up to put restrictions on free-market capitalism. I think we should hold off on confronting the global warming issue until we do more research. Are any of these three opinions similar to your view on global warming? If you answered yes, take pride in knowing that you are an idiot.That’s right, an idiot. Moron. Fool. Nincompoop. Ignorant lackey. Go ahead, take your pick, write it on a post-it note and slap it on your forehead so everyone can see who’s the big loser of that fabulous thinking game called common sense.Global warming is an issue, and it is getting worse, despite cries to the contrary from such world-renowned environmental scientists as Rush Limbaugh, Jesse Helms and Dubya. Today, there are few scientists that doubt the existence of global warming. Most agree that the rate of warming is accelerating quickly, and that the consequences could start to become increasingly worse. It is quite simple: The oceans get warm, the glaciers will melt, causing sea levels to rise and salt water to make its way onto low-lying coasts. Farming regions will start to shift, and weather patterns will become more and more sporadic.Tim, you say, then why, pray tell, did the United States single-handedly trash the November 2000 Kyoto Protocol, the 1992 agreement that would cut greenhouse gases by 7 percent below 1990 levels?Well, dedicated and ever-inquisitive reader, for that answer all you have to do is walk around Washington and count the number of officials with post-it notes stuck to their foreheads. The United States went to The Hague in the Netherlands with one goal: Bully the rest of the world until they accept our version of the treaty. Thankfully, the rest of the world did not waver under the pressure of the selfish Americans.America went to The Hague with unreasonable demands and proposals that would allow U.S. companies to continue polluting.The United States insisted on receiving credits for forests and farmlands and for paying developing countries to plant trees, insisting that trees absorb enough carbon dioxide to offset the pollution industries. (Don’t laugh. I don’t think we actually believed it either).The Europeans responded by insisting that the United States could meet less than 50 percent of its obligation, and thus declined compromise with the Americans. The foreign press began its assault on the United States.”The actions of the United States delegation at the global climate conference in The Hague are a disgrace. The representatives of the most polluting nation on Earth have effectively thwarted modest measures which would have helped their own citizens as well as everyone else,” The Herald of Glasgow, Scotland wrote not long after the meeting.For some reason unknown to such rational thinking people as myself, the U.S. elite as well as the American public have failed thus far to embrace global warming as a truly dangerous issue that affects all of us. Coming from a country of selfish consumers that consider “Access Hollywood” hard news, this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. America, the main contributor to the global warming problem, is geographically situated so that it will be one of the last places to experience the effects. Quite the irony, eh?For the last decade, an apathetic public has been misinformed on the dangers of global warming by big business, the very corporations the Kyoto Protocol is designed to regulate. Much of the public still questions whether or not the world is heating up, despite the growing scientific and Nobel laureate consensus.Other countries, though, have recognized the problem and begun to take the responsible steps toward reforms. Britain, which experienced the worst flooding in nearly 300 years last year, plan to cut its emissions by 60 percent over the next 50 years. The problem is here, and is not going to go away no matter what Corporate America tells us. During talks at The Hague, a lot of scary developments were presented by various scientific organizations.The U.N. weather agency announced that heat deaths are expected to double in the next 20 years, most greatly harming low-income people and already famine-depleted areas of developing nations.The CGNU, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, informed the conference that climate change, as a result of global warming, would bankrupt the global economy by 2065.It is up to the United States, the world’s largest consumer and polluter, to start taking their share of the responsibility. America’s output of greenhouse gases need to be reduced, and though the 7 percent outlined in the Kyoto Protocol is lower than needed, it is still a step in the right direction. Our selfishness and willingness to continue to be the pawn of big-business Corporate America are a disgrace, and a spit in the face of the rest of the world.Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill.