Rising tide

An environmental issue and a justice issue
In his State of the Union address, President Bush once again sounded the alarm about America’s dependence on foreign oil, and he called for a reduction in gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next 10 years. But Bush framed the issue largely as a national security concern: dependence on foreign oil leaves the U.S. vulnerable to hostile regimes and to terrorists who can harm our economy by disrupting the flow of oil. He said little about the environmental need to conserve resources and reduce planet-heating greenhouse gases.

Global warming is happening at a greater rate than scientists predicted only several years ago. According to an article in Science magazine last month, the sea level could rise 20 to 55 inches by the year 2100. About 1 percent of the earth’s surface was blighted by extreme drought 20 years ago; that figure has risen to 2 percent, and by 2050 it could rise to 20 percent.


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