FLATULENCE RULES OKAY! By William Bowles

November 2001

Okay, it’s a tired old story this Global Warming thing. Everybody has an opinion and nobody knows what’s really going on, at least that’s what the critics say. The ‘experts’ assault us from all sides but a couple of facts are worth noting:

  • 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the world’s fossil fuels and guess where they live
  • Greater Los Angeles uses more energy than the entire Indian sub-continent!
  • As sea levels rise (and they are, whatever the reason), 3 billion people are going to be on the move or to paraphrase an old pop song, ‘All washed up and no place to go’

In 1992, at the Rio Summit on Climate Change, the world’s leading industrial nations (the G-7) promised to hold greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels but not a single one has kept to that promise. Their emissions have actually increased over the past eight years! Flatulence Rules Okay!

The world’s leading scientists, including Nobel Laureates by the dozen, tell us that we’re headed for a catastrophe that threatens the entire biosphere, indeed, the future of humanity (second only to an all out nuclear war), yet it seems to be ‘business as usual’ for the so-called developed nations.

Instead, their dumping industrial production on the developing world and to add insult to injury, are now accusing the developing nations of not cleaning up their act! There’s been no attempt to help developing nations actually use the sustainable processes ironically developed in the West in the first place (even if they ain’t using it themselves). If for example, when a US company moves its production to South Africa, part of the deal should include grants, know-how and support to make the new plant eco-friendly, energy efficient and sustainable.

There’s been no attempt to diversify energy production or to transfer solar, thermal and wind power generation technologies to the developing world. Instead, they’ve relied on the vast quantities of oil and coal available and the masses of cheap labour present, knowing damn well that entrenched interests in these countries are not concerned about the consequences either. Why should they, they’re creating jobs and raising standards of living, at least in the short term.

The US, the main culprit in this madness, has an economy dominated by Oil and Automobiles (did you know that there are half a billion cars on the planet?) and as the US elections unfold, it’s clear that the process is dominated entirely by these interests, that’s why it doesn’t matter who wins as these interests have bankrolled both sides!

Are the experts right? The problem with the “we don’t know” approach is that by the time we do find out, it’ll be too late to do anything about it. This is aside from the immorality of such an approach, which sees life as nothing more than making money and spewing out a never-ending stream of (largely) useless products and chowing up the planet as it goes.

The big issue is whether we can collectively do anything about the domination of the G-7 countries. My own feeling is that without the populations of these countries (as opposed to their rulers) actually taking a stand and saying that they won’t go along with this gigantic con job, we don’t stand a cat in hell’s chance.

The rise of the Green Party in the US, led by consumer activist Ralph Nader is the one bright spot on the horizon and who knows, perhaps by the time the 2004 US elections roll round, the American public will have caught on but will it be enough to break the power of the giant corporations that effectively control not only the domestic energy/economic policies of the US but to a great degree they also determine US foreign policy as well.

So, at the end of the day, whether global warming is a real threat or not, the policies of never-ending consumption and the consequent plundering of the world’s natural resources by the West are an affront to the poor of the world and make a complete mockery of the moralising the West goes through about the habits of developing nations.

Copyright © 1987-2003 William Bowles unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved. You have the right to reproduce content from this if it is not-for-profit, non-commercial use or for ‘fair use’. For commercial reproduction, please contact the copyright owner.

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