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October 9, 2000
Bush, Coal & the Internet

Page 2: Bush as Coal Man

The Western Fuels Association, which commissioned the Internet study relied upon by Bush, advocates more coal exploration, coal mining and coal burning.

In its 2000 Annual Report, Western Fuels condemned the "anti-coal activities" of the Clinton-Gore administration. The report also criticized efforts to address the problem of global warming through the international agreement, reached in Kyoto, Japan, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Reflecting the association’s hostility toward public concern about global warming, the Western Fuels annual report contains a page showing a picture of three monkeys – one each covering his eyes, his ears and his mouth – with the caption, “Are Americans ready to be told the truth?”

That truth, according to the association’s Greening Earth Society, is that increased levels of carbon dioxide help the environment by providing sustenance for plant growth. In a report entitled “The CO2 Issue,” Greening Earth paints a rosy picture of greenhouse gases: "Evidence of very modest nighttime winter warming, robust plant growth, rejuvenating forests and ample harvests abounds."

While scientists can’t forecast with precision the climate impact of global warming caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, there is widespread agreement that sudden and drastic climate change would have a devastating impact on the earth's environment.

From rising sea levels to sudden changes in habitats for wildlife to more extreme weather patterns, droughts in some places, floods in others, the warning signs are clear.

A recent report by the World Wildlife Fund and the David Suzuki Foundation concluded that one-third of the world's habitats will be altered by global warming in the new century.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was established in 1988 jointly by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization for the purpose of assessing information related to global warming, has warned that there is already a discernable impact on the earth’s climate.

On Nov. 2, 1999, Robert Watson, the panel’s chairman, said: “It is not a question of whether the Earth’s climate will change, but rather when, where and by how much. It is undisputed that the last decade has been the warmest this century, indeed the warmest for hundreds of years, and many parts of the world have suffered major heat waves, floods, droughts and extreme weather events leading to significant economic losses and loss of life.

"While individual events cannot be directly linked to human-induced climate change, the frequency and magnitude of these types of events are expected to increase in a warmer world.”

Despite the warnings from the world’s scientific community, Gov. Bush has chosen to listen to the naysayers and downplay the threats of global warming. His campaign simply has called for more "research into the causes and impact of global warming" while promoting only modest initiatives to develop alternative energy sources and energy efficiency.

While his close ties to the oil industry have been well documented, Bush now appears to have lent his ear to the coal industry, too.

Given the source of his information – as flawed and self-interested as it is – George W. Bush as President could be expected to support major new investments in the two-century-old energy sources of coal, oil and other fossil fuels.

Sam Parry is managing editor of and works for the Sierra Club's Human Rights & the Environment Campaign.

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