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Pollution in the White House
       The governments of the European Union have expressed strong disapproval of George W. Bush’s recent decision not to implement the Kyoto protocol on global warming. Instead, he will permit fossil fuel power plants to continue to emit high levels of carbon dioxide into the air (the major cause of the greenhouse effect). Previously the U.S. had agreed to continue to lower emissions levels and work toward making these power plants more environmentally friendly.
       The Bush announcement is considered a major affront to other nations seeking to meet the air quality goals set by the Kyoto accord. German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder—whose country will host the next conference on climate change in Bonn this summer—has conveyed his concern to Mr. Bush. The daily Berliner Morgenpost called the Bush decision a “serious affront” to Mr. Schroeder, and said the chancellor returned to Germany “with the realization that the president and his advisors are determined to be merciless in the interests of America, in particular those of its oil industry.”
       The Independent, a London daily, fiercely denounced Mr. Bush’s decision. In an editorial titled “A cynical man, a catastrophic error,” the paper said the problem isn’t just that Mr. Bush thinks the U.S. cannot meet its commitments on global warming, “it is that he does not care... Of the many potential conflicts between the U.S. and its partners... nothing is as bad as this. It is not even isolationism, it is in-your-face truculence. The supposed ‘leadership of the free world’ is in the hands of a man determined to visit greater misery on the generations to come.” (Note: truculence=“fiercely destructive”)
        Mr. Bush’s claims to the contrary, there is in fact a significant amount of scientific research demonstrating that world temperatures are rising (“global warming”) due to increasingly large gaps in the protective ozone layer around the earth. Even Christine Whitman, Mr. Bush’s EPA director, agreed with the previous U.S. policy of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
       We’d like to know what scientific literature Mr. Bush was referring to when he claimed there was no scientific proof that these emissions cause environmental harm. Since Mr. Bush is notorious for not reading, he undoubtedly relied on a one-page “executive summary” prepared by a former oil industry lobbyist who is now on his staff. Either he did something careless and stupid like that, or he knowingly lied. Either way, like our European counterparts, we are outraged.
       We cannot imagine that anyone who cares about the environment and the public health would agree with what Mr. Bush is doing. He does not speak for us.

Let’s Hear it for Local Talent
       Sure, Baltimore has problems. What city doesn’t? But too often our sound-byte media focus on stupid statistics (like keeping score of murders or whining over declining population figures or bemoaning “low test scores”) that in no way convey the heart and soul of this city.
       Baltimore has a wealth of extraordinarily talented and gifted people. If their work is not publicly recognized, however, this exceptional aspect of our community goes unheralded except by those who experience it first-hand.
       Want an example of this? Go to Everyman Theatre to see the current production, “Blues for an Alabama Sky.” The ensemble of five actors—Elauna Griffin, Jefferson A. Russell, Deidra Lawan Starnes, Frederick Strother, and Lance Williams, all with local roots—would make anyone proud to say they live in a city and surrounding region that can produce such talent. It should also make us eager to identify and nurture other talented folks in our midst whose abilities might otherwise not come to flower.
       Though Elauna Griffin, a shining light in this production and a resident company member of Everyman, died of an asthma attack on March 31, the show will go on, from April 11 to 22. We urge our readers to see this play. Call 752-2208 for tickets.

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This story was published on April 4, 2001.