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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Administration's excuses on environmental issues unacceptable

I have a hard time understanding why an international conference on global environmental problems attended by leaders of approximately 100 nations is not important enough for George W. Bush to make an appearance. The president's decision to not attend the World Summit last week in South Africa displays an attitude of negligence that is becoming far too popular in this country, especially in our government. 




Although the long-term positive implications of this event are very subjective, the president's absence should be offensive simply because it seems that he could not care less about the environment. I fail to see why an international forum that made plans to increase renewable energy use, improve water quality in poverty-stricken areas and work towards sustainable development does not warrant the attention of our country's top leader. 




It is very clear that Bush does not care that other countries are beginning to see us as a nation that wishes to use as many of the earth's resources as possible without working to make sure they will be available in the future. This attitude is certainly starting to bother many other nations, yet still does not seem to be raising any eyebrows in this country. 




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Perhaps other nations are fuming about our arrogance because, despite having only 5 percent of the world's population, Americans use one-fifth of all fossil fuels and approximately one-third of all paper products, yet we still did not feel it was necessary to send our most authoritative governmental figure. Unfortunately, Bush has consistently displayed his distaste for developing the American economy and lifestyle while keeping the environment in mind. 




Furthermore, delegates at the summit could not convince the United States to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, a pact that many nations have signed in order to work towards alleviating climactic concerns. Bush has said he will not sign the treaty because he thinks it will harm the U.S. economy, but how long can we maintain our standard of living without paying any attention to the threat of global warming? 




Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of this situation is that the president's reckless attitude towards the environment seems to be lost in the shadows of our war on terror. While the European Union is working to increase the global percentage of renewable energy usage to a reasonable 15 percent, our president's energy policy cut funding for alternative energy solutions in half. 




Just in case you still believe that our country is actually concerned about clean energy production, consider that one of the few things the United States did accomplish in this summit was eliminating external pressure from the European Union to increase our use of renewable energy. 




Although Bush's decision not to attend the World Summit may seem like a trivial matter in a state of war, our country's failure to make a meaningful statement at this conference is worrisome simply because we are using far more resources than any other nation without even considering external opinions or the future status of the environment. 




I am awaiting the day when our government takes the initiative to actively pursue sustainable environmental practices, but that time does not appear to be in the near future. Bush's refusal to attend the World Summit shows that our country is actually moving further away from important global goals, which should be disconcerting and alarming, but has failed to create much of a stir anywhere in the nation. 




How will the government handle a serious situation when one arises if it does not even care enough about conservation to send the president to a global meeting to discuss current and future problems? I cannot understand why this issue keeps getting blown off by our country's leaders. It bothers me to think that unless there are some changes in our environmental policy, current climate and energy concerns will eventually become too large to handle without serious repercussions. 




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