UPI, AP, NYT – Monsoon rains inundated the island of Sumatra Monday, causing landslides that swept more than 100 people into raging rivers and death. The Jakarta Post described the flooding as the worst since 1953. “We are looking for survivors, but we fear there will be only corpses,” said one volunteer.

Meanwhile, the richest country in the world has been unwilling to budge an inch on controlling the emissions that trigger violent weather through global warming. After two weeks of talks, during which the U.S. delegation was accused of sabotage, the delegates to the global climate conference in the Netherlands have gone home in defeat. “We have all concluded that the U.S. has brought this negotiation to the brink of failure by supporting loophole after loophole,” said Philip Clap, president of the National Environmental Trust.

We have refused to go up against big business interests but we have offered to plant more trees. This is seen as unfair by European countries, who do not have the land available to plant more forests and must therefore make the hard decisions to cut down on pollution. The U.S. position earned negotiator Frank Loy a pie in the face last Wednesday, thrown by an angry protestor.

As it stands, the Kyoto treaty of 1997, which the U.S. has refused to ratify, would only buy the world just another ten years of stable weather.

During the recent Presidential campaign, Al Gore dropped all discussion of the environment and George Bush stated that he wasn?t yet certain that global warming was a reality.

U.S. negotiator Frank Loy, who was unable to convince the various U.S. factions involved in the conference to cooperate, still insists that the effort should continue. “We will not give up,” he said. “The stakes are too high, the science too decisive, and our planet and our children too precious.”

The next official session will meet in Marrakesh next October. The U.S. is responsible for 25% of the world?s greenhouse emissions. Will we wait for ominous weather changes here at home before we agree to clean up our act?

Source: United Press International, Nov. 23, 2000; The New York Times, Nov. 26, 2000; Associated Press, Nov. 28, 2000.

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