THE BLOG

Yes, Pogo: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is US

12/03/2010 12:51 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Cancun UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the gathering to replace the Kyoto Protocol, just began in Mexico. Not only is no one from the U.S. Congress bothering to fly the 1354 miles from DC, no member is even sending a staffperson to observe. Of course, neither Barack Obama nor Hu Jintao, the leaders of the two countries emitting the most carbon dioxide (42%), will be there. But you can only wonder why 15,000 participants are showing up.

A bigger waste of time and money I can't imagine. Next to most of the Department of Defense budget, of course. At least hold these meetings in the middle of summer, say, in Delhi, to see people sweating. But Copenhagen last year and Cancun this year, in December? Makes no sense.

What are some of the numbers? In the benchmark year, 1990, China and India produced 13% of the world carbon dioxide emissions. In 2007, their total doubled to 26%, and in 2035, the expectation is up to 37%. Thus far, both India and China have been exempted and, further, are not included in any future agreement. The U.S. signed -- but the U.S. Congress never ratified -- the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire in 2012. But who really cares, as this treaty was totally ineffectual anyway, for global carbon dioxide emissions increased 41% between 1990 and 2008? And can you believe that one hundred and ninety one countries signed and ratified the treaty? What can you expect, though, if there is no enforcement teeth? We need a simple carbon tax (or call it something like "credit"), but how?

The USA is the only major industrial national not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Is something wrong with us? Mind you, China, India and Russia actually said yes, we will join the world and at least show good intent.

In 2009, an American poll showed that more people were opposed than not to the climate change bill passed by the House of Representatives (41% to 37%). A newer survey this year showed that we are even less concerned about global warming. Now with the Republicans in control of the House complementing Senate Democrats from fossil states, the situation becomes totally impossible.

All this even though NASA has reported that:

Since the late 1800's, the global average temperature has increased about 0.7 to 1.4 degrees F (0.4 to 0.8 degrees C). Many experts estimate that the average temperature will rise an additional 2.5 to 10.4 degrees F (1.4 to 5.8 degrees C) by 2100. That rate of increase would be much larger than most past rates of increase.

Furthermore, just two weeks ago, the International Energy Agency predicted that the temperature of our atmosphere would increase by 6.3 degrees F by 2035, only 25 years from now.

I once thought any year now, a really hot summer would kill many, many millions and decision-makers would finally do something. A few months ago I came to a conclusion that there is no early chance that the world will get so hot as to be calamitous. Thus, I am afraid, observing the politics of America, that there will not ever be a global agreement to check climate heating... until it is too late! As Pogo said: We have met the enemy and he is US.