The World Meteorological Organization has run out the alphabet in naming hurricanes. With a whole month left to go in the hurricane season, remaining storms will be designated by Greek letters.

The devastating impact of global warming can’t be denied. Millions who live in coastal regions of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico from Cuba to Haiti to Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Mexico have suffered enormous loss of life, livelihood and property.

Warmer oceans fuel hurricanes, and the world’s oceans are being heated by an unceasing flow of “greenhouse gas emissions” into our planet’s atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil produces these gases. The gases trap the sun’s heat in the earth’s atmosphere, like a greenhouse. Deforestation contributes to the effect.

It’s been only four years since the Bush administration scorned the rest of the world and rejected the Kyoto Protocol, refusing to commit the U.S to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. produces one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas pollution.

Bush’s alternative to Kyoto is voluntary programs for polluters to clean up their act. The programs sport cheerful names like “Healthy Forests” and “Clear Skies.” The result? Emissions from the U.S. have grown at the rate of 1.5 percent a year.

Bush stated that the Kyoto agreement’s goals were “unrealistic” and would damage the U.S. economy. Since that time the U.S. economy has been damaged — but by Katrina’s and Rita’s floods and winds, not pollution controls. Meanwhile, Kyoto’s goals have proven to be realistic; 15 European Union nations have succeeded in collectively cutting their emissions to 2.9 percent below 1990 levels.

The Bush administration has consistently treated global warming, which he euphemistically refers to as “climate change,” as an unproven theory, in need of more research. Fringe scientists promoted by right-wing think tanks have replaced real scientists in formulating government policy. They provide cover for the energy industries’ drive for profits. What’s next? Weather forecasts based on intelligent design?

When those with their hands on the levers of power chose profits over science, it’s a dangerous world indeed.

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