MLA Gold Award Site

Excerpt from Boiling Point by Ross Gelbspan, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Boiling Point

How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists and Activists Are Fueling the Climate Crisis--and What We Can Do to Avert Disaster

by Ross Gelbspan

Boiling Point
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2004, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2005, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter 5
Three Fronts of the Climate War

We are all adrift in the same boat. And there is no way half the boat is going to sink.
Raul Estrada Oyuela, Argentine climate negotiator, Kyoto, Japan, December 1997

Although the battle over the climate issue is most vividly illustrated by the relentless resistance of big coal and big oil within the United States, it has rippled throughout the political, diplomatic, and business arenas--pitting nations and industries against each other and even setting the federal government against many states.

Within a month of taking office, President George W. Bush opened a gaping rupture between the United States and Europe on an issue of paramount importance to the Europeans--global climate change.

That split over the climate crisis would be reflected in growing divisions between the United States and the rest of the world, between Washington and many U.S. state and city governments, and within the business world as well, exposing deep differences within the auto, oil, and insurance industries.

The Bush administration's diplomatic posture mirrored one of its central ideological goals: the drastic reduction of the power and influence of government domestically-and the concurrent reduction of the influence and reach of international governance institutions.

Bush aroused the suspicions of many U.S. allies when, a month after his inauguration, he reversed his campaign promise to cap emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants. Under pressure from lobbyists in the coal industry, as well as from conservative members of the Republican Party, Bush announced on March 13, 2001, that he would no longer seek to regulate such power plant emissions.

The statement dismayed many Democrats--and a number of Republicans, including then treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, a strong proponent of aggressive climate policies. But the strongest negative response came from across the ocean.

Nine days after his announcement, Bush received a stern letter from the fifteen-nation European Union condemning his action. The letter, signed by European Commission president Romano Prodi and Swedish prime minister Goeran Persson, challenged Bush to find the 'political courage' to tackle the climate crisis.

The letter made it clear that to the EU, an agreement 'leading to real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is of the utmost importance . . . The global and long-term importance of climate change and the need for a joint effort by all industrialized countries in this field makes it an integral part of relations between the USA and the EU.'

The president's response to the EU was unequivocally dismissive. Six days after receiving the letter from the EU, Bush withdrew the United States from the Kyoto Protocol because, in the words of the president's press secretary, 'It is not in the United States' economic best interest.'

Margot Wallström, the European Union environmental commissioner, called Bush's decision 'very worrying.' Kazuo Asakai, a top official in the Japanese embassy in Washington, told the Washington Post, 'Japan will be dismayed and deeply disappointed. [The Kyoto treaty] is very serious and important.'

The European diplomats were particularly stunned by the fact that the administration had failed to inform them of its plan before announcing it to the media.

'Sometimes people think this is only about the environment, but it's also about international relations and economic cooperation,' EU spokeswoman Annika Ostergren told Reuters News Service. 'The EU is willing to discuss details and problems, but not to scrap the whole protocol.'

Swedish prime minister Goeran Persson was sharply critical of Bush, telling reporters that Bush's position was a heavy blow to the international effort to curb global warming. 'It will have a tremendous impact . . . because it would have sent an extremely strong signal if the U.S. had stuck with the Kyoto protocol,' Persson said.

From Boiling Point by Ross Gelbspan, pages 93-126 of the hardcover edition.  Reprinted with Permission from Basic Books – Copyright 2004.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Everybody's Fool
    Everybody's Fool
    by Richard Russo
    Written from multiple viewpoints, Everybody's Fool features an ensemble cast of inhabitants ...
  • Book Jacket: The Strings of Murder
    The Strings of Murder
    by Oscar de Muriel
    As Jack the Ripper eludes the police at Scotland Yard in London and all efforts to catch the most ...
  • Book Jacket: If I Was Your Girl
    If I Was Your Girl
    by Meredith Russo
    Who defines us? Do we ourselves, or does the society in which we live? Meredith Russo's ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams

    The Roaring Twenties comes to life in this tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

C To T Q

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.