The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Pollution and the Greenhouse Effect:
The Hypocrisy of the Big Powers

May 7, 2001

President Bush recently made a point to announce that his administration will not ratify the Kyoto treaty which was an agreement to reduce carbon dioxide gas emissions. The pollution from this gas is one of the chief causes of the greenhouse effect and of global warming.

Bush had the nerve to explain that he could not accept the plan because "it would be harmful to our economy and to American workers," as if he worried about such matters. The U.S. decision provoked an outcry from China and Canada, and a bit by Japan and Europe. Not wanting to be outdone, French president Jacques Chirac claimed that putting aside the carbon dioxide question was "disquieting and not acceptable."

In fact, the treaty, which was adopted at the end of 1997, puts few limits on the countries who sign it. They have to reduce this pollution about by only five to seven% by the year 2012. So they had 15 years in which they could leave their pollution levels at where they were!

It is true that other countries have not signed the treaty, including France and 30 poorer countries. But the U.S. is the world’s biggest polluter. With four% of the world’s population, it produces 25% of the world’s pollution from such gases. The U.S. by itself is responsible for an important part of the greenhouse effect which will drastically worsen the conditions under which we live.

It’s obvious that the environment is growing more polluted, but that hardly worries the heads of the big powers, whether American or European. Each government is interested only in defending its own industries, its own capitalists. None of them gives a damn what happens to the planet in the future.

Bush takes a cavalier attitude about the future, but the decisions made today will seriously impair the health and well-being of future generations–starting with the children of today.