Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2001

The progress of global warming

President Bush was coy on the issue of global warming during his campaign, but eventually his administration was going to have to pick a side on the most fundamental question in the debate. Is the weather getting warmer because of human activity, or isn't it?

The administration took the right position. At the White House's request, the National Academy of Sciences last month convened a panel of 11 scientists ... to study the issue. The evidence that greenhouse gases from power plants, factories and vehicles are collecting in the atmosphere and raising temperatures is more persuasive than ever, the panel concluded.

So National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told reporters that President Bush "takes extremely seriously what we do know about climate change, which is essentially that there is warming taking place."

The administration's statement should end a long controversy that has hampered efforts to stop global warming. For years, some business leaders and elected officials have been hesitant to acknowledge even that global warming is occurring and is a danger, because doing so would lead inevitably to calls for more restrictions. ...

Whatever the proper response to global warming is, denying its existence will not make it go away. ... What's important is that, now that the White House has acknowledged the danger of global warming, there can be a dialogue on how best to stop it.

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, June 9

Saddam and copyright protection

What does it mean to say that the world is a smaller place? For artist Jonathon Earl Bowser, it means that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein can rip off his painting with impunity.

Thanks to instant global communications Mr. Bowser, who lives in Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward Island, learned that one of his paintings, The Awakening, graces the cover of a newly published Arabic novel widely believed to be authored by Hussein.

The book, Zabibah and the King, is the story of a cruelly raped woman said to represent the Iraqi people and an iron-willed king, Hussein, with allegorical allusions to the Persian Gulf War. The CIA is poring over it for psychological insights into Hussein.

A lawyer is poring through international treaties to determine whether Mr. Bowser has any redress for the copyright violation. ... It is doubtful Mr. Bowser will ever collect a dime.

More troubling is the threat to his good name. For good reason, Mr. Bowser felt compelled to e-mail the CIA disavowing any connection to the dictator. The Cold War is over, but fear lingers of what it spawned - "black lists" and government dossiers bulging with vengeful gossip and misinformation, now so much easier and faster to compile. Instantaneous communications indeed make the world a smaller place but add nothing to people's sense of security.

Miami Herald, June 11

Steel dumping and presidents

Chalk up another wonderful difference between Presidents Clinton and Bush.

Clinton listened for years to pleas from American steel companies to do something to stem the tide of foreign steel that was dumped into the U.S. market at artificially low prices. ...

He promised "tough action," and did exactly nothing, fearing retaliation from foreign trading partners more than from American steel workers.

Fast-forward to the administration of Bush, whose vice presidential running mate told West Virginia steel workers at a campaign appearance last year that the Republican team would respond "swiftly and firmly" if foreign nations violated the law by illegally dumping low-priced steel into the U.S. market. ...

Recently, the Bush administration announced that it will initiate a case before the U.S. International Trade Commission, the body that must put a stamp of approval on any import restrictions or tariffs on imported steel.

That's exactly the action that the steel industry had pleaded for years for Clinton to take, but he made clear he valued the approval of foreign nations more than the jobs of American workers. ...

The American steel industry is overdue for a piece of good news, and the decision to make the trade case certainly qualifies. But it's perhaps even better news that we now have a president who does more than just listen.

Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va., June 6

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