In a keynote speech opening the fourth biennial State of the Planet conference at New York's Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN Millennium Project, said ignorance, misplaced priorities and indifference were keeping the world firmly on a path to disaster.
"Politics is central," he said, condemning what he called the "scientifically antagonistic" policies of the current US administration under President George W. Bush.
"We're fighting all the wrong wars in this country," Sachs said, adding that what the White House really needed was a subscription to Scientific American magazine.
"Our political leaders do not have the training to understand these issues," he said, citing the crisis in Sudan's western region of Darfur which Sachs argued was primarily the result of water shortages that had prompted conflict.
"We view these crises first as political crises when we should view them as ecological crises," he said.
Yesterday at Freedom House, bush was asked about global warming. The oilman says that we "got to invest in hybrid batteries". Here is the transcript from the WH website.
Q From Australia. I've got a question about global warming -- in the Australian Parliament, Tony Blair called for greater action. And this seems to be something that the U.S. President could make a major difference on. There's a virtual consensus that the planet is warming. If you addressed issues like emissions, fuel efficiency, issues to do with alternative energy in your last few years as President, it could make a significant difference I think to the --No one asked any follow up questions to His Hubris. Where the heck was this man during the oil crisis of the 1970's? (Did anyone watch Southpark last night?)
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate you bringing that up.
Q -- and I suppose I want to know, what is your plan?
THE PRESIDENT: Good. We -- first of all, there is -- the globe is warming. The fundamental debate: Is it manmade or natural. Put that aside. It is in our interests that we use technologies that will not only clean the air, but make us less dependent on oil. That's what I said in my State of the Union the other day. I said, look -- and I know it came as quite a shock to -- for people to hear a Texan stand up and say, we've got a national problem, we're addicted to oil. But I meant what I said. (Is this man a master of stating the obvious or what?
Being addicted to oil is a problem for our economy. In a global economy, when burgeoning economies like India and China use more fossil fuels, it affects the price of gasoline here in America. In a world in which sometimes people have got the oil we need, or don't like us -- it's kind of a undiplomatic way of putting it -- it means we've got a national security issue.
I have -- much of my position was defined early on in my presidency when I told the world I thought that Kyoto was a lousy deal for America. And I tell you why it was a lousy deal for America. It meant that we had to cut emissions below 1990 levels, which would have meant I would have presided over massive layoffs and economic destruction. I believe the best way to put technologies in place that will not only achieve national objectives like less addiction to oil, but also help clean the air, is to be wealthy enough to invest in technologies, and then to share those technologies with parts of the world that were excluded from the Kyoto Protocol.
And so I guess I should have started differently when I first became President, and said, we will invest in new technologies that will enable us to use fossil fuels in a much wiser way. And what does that mean? Well, it means that we've got to figure out how to use ethanol more in our cars. Ethanol is produced mainly by cane and corn. But we're near some breakthroughs that we can use sawgrass and biomass to be able to produce ethanol
That means we got to continue investing in hybrid batteries. Ours is a country where many people live in urban centers, like Washington, D.C., and it's possible to have a hybrid battery breakthrough which says that the first 40 miles of an automobile can be used by electricity alone. Right now the hybrid vehicles, as you know, switch between gasoline and electrical power. But that consumes gasoline, which means we're still reliant upon oil. The idea is to get off of oil.
On the electricity front, we need to be using nuclear power more in this country, in my judgment. It is a renewable source of energy that has zero gas emissions. We've got a great natural resource here in America called coal. We have 250-plus years of coal reserves. But we also recognize that by -- burning coal causes environmental problems, and so we're spending billions on research to come up with clean coal technologies. And we'd like to share those technologies with other nations of the world that are beginning to grow so that they are good stewards of the environment, as well.
And so I got a comprehensive plan that uses technologies to help this nation from a national and economic perspective, but also will help improve the global economy -- the environment from those new, burgeoning economies that are -- like China and India, to be exact.