[saymaListserv] Fw: Nader vs Gore
kcarlyle at juno.com
Wed Nov 1 16:35:44 JEST 2000
On Tue, 31 Oct 2000 19:31:22 -0600 "Peggy Bonnington"
<bonnipeg at bellsouth.net> writes:
>I think this letter from my friend Rosemary is VERY thoughtful and
important to consider. She makes some excellent points:
... I would hate to have to look and hear Bush for the next 4 years
because of the Green vote...
(I don't want to begin an exchange so please don't respond. Just consider
It all depends on one's perspective. Some folks feel that Gore is
stealing votes from Nader.
In any event, a Gore victory is probably the worst case scenario because
nothing will change--he's owned by the corporations--it'll be business as
usual. Second best will be a Bush victory--he'll be so bad that in four
years everyone will realize we need to get away from the
one-party-with-two-faces system. Best case, of course, is a Nader
victory--stranger things have happened.
>From "Peacework" magazine September 2000, Volume 27, Issue 308:
Green Politics 2000: The Enigma and the Advocate
Throughout recorded history, our human species has prospered, using
technology and trade to provide goods and conveniences and to prolong
lives, but at a price. Our previous successes relied on the exploitation
of new territories and the disposal of the polluting effluents of
production into our ground, water, and air. But we have exhausted the
supply of new territories to exploit, and the cumulative effects of our
effluents have poisoned the planet. We have nowhere else to go.
As a biological entity, homo sapiens is as dependent on its ecosystem as
the spotted owl but not as adaptable as the termite. And our culture and
our political systems are likewise fragile. Russ Gelbspan in The Heat is
On writes, “Long before the systems of the planet buckle, democracy will
disintegrate under the stress of ecological disasters and their social
While the Democratic and the Green Party candidates for President have
demonstrated that they recognize these concerns, the Republican candidate
has such a well-documented, abysmal environmental record that his
candidacy does not even merit consideration here. And the GOP platform,
as one might expect, regards the environment as a commodity and can only
relate to it by using business terminology. We must “treat the natural
resources as assets,” it states, and the “government should provide
market-based incentives to develop technologies” to save the environment.
Of course, the platform calls for “voluntary programs” which I’m sure
will be as effective as voluntary taxes might be.
So environmentalists are left with just two serious candidates to
consider: an enigmatic environmentalist/politician in Al Gore, and a
proven populist advocate in Ralph Nader.
The Democratic candidate is an enigma. Early in his career, he helped
initiate the cleanup of heavily polluted industrial sites known as
Superfund and he was among the first to raise awareness of the
catastrophic implications of global climate change. But then as Vice
President, he devolved into a politician, promoting world trade and
putting his concern for the environment on a distant back burner. It’s
true that he was constrained in his subordinate position, but
environmentalists expected more.
Meanwhile, Ralph Nader of the Green Party has consistently spoken for the
people. His long career as a consumer advocate and his personal lifestyle
speak volumes. Have we ever seen a candidate anywhere with such
integrity? Nader also speaks a different language, an assertive dialect
we might recognize as “truth to power.”
While the Democrats echo the Republicans on weak, “market-based”
solutions to our environmental problems, Ralph Nader is refreshingly
direct and up front. “I advocate the immediate cessation of commercial
logging on U.S. public lands,” he states firmly. In speaking on clean
energy, his phrase “Congress should require...” contrasts sharply with
the GOP voluntary compliance solution. And he minces no words in saying,
“Air pollution is a form of domestic chemical and biological warfare.”
In terms of specific environmental issues, we need examine only one,
arguably the most serious threat to the world in the new century: global
warming. This concern encompasses a broad spectrum of environmental and
social ills. Droughts, heatwaves, rising sea levels, and destructive
storms will have unpredictable effects on food production, will displace
millions of coastal dwellers, and cause great human suffering.
Global warming must be mitigated by reducing use of fossil fuels through
energy efficiency and increased use of alternative, clean, renewable
energy sources such as wind and solar. Shifting away from coal and oil
combustion will not only reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions,
but will eliminate a great deal of soot, ozone, and acid that attack
human lungs, pollute watersheds, and kill trees.
A serious long term effort to stabilize the climate must address the
problems of poverty and income disparity. People and governments
struggling for survival do not have global warming on their agendas. For
example, impoverished peasants slash and burn Brazilian rainforests,
raise subsistence food crops until the poor soil is depleted, and move on
to repeat the cycle--a practice that releases tons of stored carbon into
But a commitment to alternative energy would generate millions of new
jobs throughout the world--creating a positive feedback loop in which
solving the economic problem saves the environment and vice versa. A
bonus of economic progress is that birth rates decline. Equitable
distribution of wealth and stable population will ease tensions and lead
to political stability. While this is certainly an oversimplification of
complex, interrelated issues, recognizing the problem is the first step.
In 1995, 1,500 climate scientists from across the world confirmed the
fact that a “discernible human influence” was changing the planet’s
climate. Eight of the hottest years in history have occurred in the last
decade. Demonstrating acute denial, the Republican platform says
“...contentious issues like global warming...” are “not based on the best
science” and “more research is needed.” It says we should “increase
domestic supplies of coal, oil, and natural gas” and “provide tax
incentives for (their) production.”
But now for the serious candidates.
Al Gore as author of Earth in the Balance, wrote that global warming was
“perhaps the greatest danger this country has ever faced.” But as Vice
President , he spent less than a day at the 1997 Kyoto talks and
submitted to the fossil fuel industry’s demand that developing nations
must be significant participants in emissions reductions. (Developing
countries, rightfully concerned about fairness, feel strongly that the
industrial countries responsible for high levels of atmospheric carbon
dioxide should bear the principal burden.) The Democratic platform states
that our country must reduce climate-changing pollution, but adds a
condition: “while making sure that all nations of the world participate
in this effort.” This from a country (with less than 5% of the world’s
population) whose profligate consumption of energy annually spews forth
millions of tons of greenhouse gases (about 25% of the world’s total).
The agreement was also weakened by decreasing emissions reduction targets
and by including the shell game of emissions trading. (Emissions trading
is a scheme whereby countries that reduce emissions below their allocated
limits can sell rights to pollute to those that exceed their quotas. The
plan is fraught with problems: establishing baselines, negotiating
quotas, monitoring compliance, resolving disputes. For example, this
loophole would allow industrial nations to buy pollution credits from
former Soviet Bloc countries whose reductions are the result of economic
collapse.) Gore seems to have become the type of politician he
criticized in his book, whose tactic is “rhetoric offered in lieu of
Ralph Nader states his position clearly and does not bow to the powerful
special interests. He recommends clean energy and improved fuel
efficiency to fight global warming, demanding “the elimination of all
subsidies for fossil fuel...” He calls for ratification of the Kyoto
agreement with genuine compliance by this country saying, “The U.S.
commitment must be real so other nations, especially the developing
nations, follow our lead.” And shrewdly anticipating potential loopholes
for industry to exploit, he adds, “There should, however, be no
misleading bookkeeping...or buying phony emissions credits...”
Nader also understands that the agreement is just a first step. “Most
importantly,” he says, “the Kyoto Protocol must have provisions to make
sure the agreement is adequate or commensurate with the threat. A seven
percent reduction is just the beginning and the Protocol must be flexible
enough to incorporate future scientific discoveries that may very well
tell us that we need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions to far greater
at a more rapid pace.”
Both candidates have stated strong positions on the environment. One
candidate has consistently shown integrity and resistance to powerful
influence. I lean toward integrity.
kcarlyle at juno.com
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