Green politicans

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 10:34 p.m.

At last the United States has two leaders who seek to green up our country. Their goals are as profound as their names are renowned.

The new Senate bill by John McCain and Joe Lieberman puts practical limits on greenhouse gas emissions. This comes as a welcome breath of fresh air in the country that produces the worst emissions and, until now, has refused to face the consequences.

In the last millennium, scientists clearly showed that a 30 percent rise in carbon dioxide and other gases since the industrial revolution generates global warming. And they showed that global warming has many unfortunate consequences, including rising sea levels, more severe droughts and forest fires, and large-scale destabilization of virtually all environments.

The question for this new century is not whether scientists got it right, but whether nations will confront the problem.

The great irony for the U.S. is that while it fields many of the best climatologists and aeronomists in the world, its political leaders have ignored their findings.

They endorse pollution and avoid a solution. And that is why the new Senate bill is so heartening.

The hard-nosed question of whether it will pass is almost beside the point. In the first round it is likely to be quashed by Republicans loyal to the White House. But the truth must eventually rise to the surface.

Thoughtful people may now consider this bipartisan bill. Many industries have joined in facing the challenge.

The McCain-Lieberman bill gives hope that a sound policy will emerge on an issue almost as important as war and peace.

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