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When global warming reached Aspen
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-01-25 09:40:02
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Media and organizations from all around the world are talking about global warming and the greenhouse phenomenon more and more lately. As amazing as it may sound, some of those voices belong to chief executives from some of the largest companies in the US and they are even expressing their concerns to the American President, George W. Bush.

Often we forget that these companies, however big and however widespread their financial interests are internationally, they are still made from people and people run them. People who live, probably in places we wouldn’t even dream to live, where the winter should have snow, the autumn brown and orange leaves and a summer with nice warm temperatures. They probably paid a great deal to have that and not miserable autumns with one day tropical temperature and the next tropical storms, and they definitely didn’t pay all that money to go skiing only to find sand and rocks.

I know that all this sounds a bit naïve, but the truth is I don’t care how some people come to realize what’s going on with our environment in detail; just that they do realize it. For decades scientists and people who are environmentally aware keep warning in every possible way that we have to do something. In the beginning they had to face laughter and sarcasm for doomsday scenarios and science-fiction theories. Later some started taking it more seriously with the Kyoto Protocol and the involvement of the UN in environmental issues, yet still people hadn’t felt it and neither had the companies that are part of the problem.

And now they did. I cannot say that I’m happy for that; I would much rather if they had never felt it, even if that meant that all these would be science-fiction theories failed. If the people who spend their weekends in Aspen and the Alps felt it, then what can the farmers of the Mediterranean say? What does the dramatically increasing numbers of asthma sufferers in the big cities say?

The American president has to address the issue in his State of the Union speech and, after the latest incidents, he has to say once more why he’s refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol, plus explain why the USA has rejected mandatory controls on the greenhouse phenomenon in the past. His excuse has been the economy, but it seems that the chief executives have come up with an answer by addressing the American president in a lengthy letter: “We can and must prompt action to establish a co-ordinated, economy-wide market-driven approach to climate protection.”

These people have formed a group, the US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) with which they intent to push mandatory caps on greenhouse gases cutting them by more than 60% by 2050. Members of the USCAP are chief executives of companies like Alcoa, BP America, DuPont, General Electric, FPL Group and others. However, the White House was quick to announce that “binding economy-wide carbon caps” is not part of Mr. George W. Bush’s approach without clarifying if Mr. Bush and his administration had any kind of approach, except protecting the interests of certain sectors, like oil companies on every coast; this includes the destruction of Alaska's landscape.

You see in that sense we have to be glad that even if it happened because some executives could not ski in Aspen or their gardener had problems with their garden, more people in the ‘right’ places are becoming aware of the problem and they are willing and able to do something about it at last.

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