I’ve been pondering a question for a few days. One that is just a little heretical
Is George W Bush going to save the World?
Before the wailing and gnashing of teeth begins let me state that it’s not something I expect him to do on purpose. Call it ecological blowback- the unforeseen consequence of policies that seem designed to do the exact opposite.
The US is, per capita, the world’s biggest consumer of energy. It particularly has a penchant for oil and President Texas Tea is the logical last emperor of the kingdom that petrol built. If the US doesn’t slow down its consumption it’s due a big crash, one that could easily take the rest of us with it.
So it’s for the best that the weak dollar, unrest in the Middle East and whatever other horrible things Dubya’s caused means that petrol is now $3 a gallon. When you factor in the exchange rate that doesn’t sound like much to us but to a population that has never really had to face up to the true expense of its greed it’s quite harsh. Suddenly that SUV is revealed as the wasteful, useless penis extension the rest of us always knew it was.
Every day more and more US citizens are coming to their senses and opting out of the petrol bacchanal. Biofuel- both vegetable oil and ethanol- is being produced in greater amounts. Wired recently reported on what they called the hygrid movement- ordinary citizens protecting their energy supply with home solar or wind.
These aren’t the folks on the fringe any more. The new breed of Green is resolutely middle of the road in so many other ways. As Bush’s policies continue to hit the middle class we can only expect this constituency to grow and grow.
Even the man himself has paid lip service to biodiesel and fuel cells. But these are a politician’s words- from a man other politicians consider untrustworthy- so we shouldn’t expect him to really do anything.
In the long term as well Bush’s tenure could leave a positive mark. As more cities, and then states, adopt their own Kyoto plans the possibility of a green president becomes stronger. As solar and other renewable technologies become cheaper and more widespread, mor epeople will understand why they should vote for a green president. The oil companies and corporate interests that fund the Bush school of politicians will find their incomes and influence waning. The smart ones will adopt the policies they’ve spent so many years campaigning against and the dumb ones will die. Foreign oil will become less and less important, bring about the change in the Middle East that force and bribery have failed to create. And the cleaner, greener, nicer United States won’t be hated by everyone.
Yes, this is an extremely optimistic vision, but it’s not impossible. The only down side will be the revisionists. Much as Reagan is now the man who single handedly brought down Communism- rather than being the guy who was there when it happened- in twenty or thirty years, just as the new Golden Green age is really beginning, we’ll have to put up with being told that Dubya did it all on purpose.