Osama bin Laden lends unwelcome support in
fight against climate change
Drudge, Fox News and other right-wing media seize on al-Qaida leader's taped comments reportedly sent to al-Jazeera
- guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 January 2010 16.23 GMT
This was the last conversion to the environmental cause that anybody would have wanted.
In a new audiotape that surfaced today on the al-Jazeera network, Osama bin Laden has pronounced himself a believer in climate change and blames America and other
"Speaking about climate change is not a matter of intellectual luxury — the phenomenon is an actual fact," the tape says according to al-Jazeera. "All of the industrialized countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global warming crisis."
The utterance immediately got star billing on the right-wing blog Drudge Report as well as a mention on Fox News - both repositories of opposition to action on global warming. And the Conservative RedState website asked, "What is the difference between Bin Laden and Al Gore?"
The tape whose authenticity has yet to be confirmed by intelligence agencies, is the second purported message from the al-Qaida leader in a week. In
"George Bush junior, preceded by [the US] congress, dismissed the agreement to placate giant corporations. And they are themselves standing behind speculation, monopoly and soaring living costs."
"They are also behind '
The al-Qaida leaders
Osama's concern for the environment is not exactly new-found, but it is intermittent. In a 2002 letter to the American people, Bin Ladenwrote: "You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries."
His latest pronouncement comes at a time when the Obama administration might be compelled to retreat on its pledge to bring the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks to trial in a Manhattan courtroom, which has run into intense opposition.
The administration is also trying to find ways of moving ahead
Obama, in his state of the union address this week, promised to incorporate two cherished Republican energy options — expanding offshore drilling and building more nuclear plants — into his energy plan.
Meanwhile, the White House is doing what it can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — even if Congress fails
The White House today announced that it had directed all federal government departments to reduce emissions by 28% over 2008 levels by 2020. That is a more ambitious target than America's official position in the global climate change negotiations — a reduction of 17% over 2005 levels by 2020.
The White House said the action would save 205 million barrels of oil and was the equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road for one year.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is set to formally declare on Monday that it will take climate change into account in its long-term strategic thinking. The new focus on climate change comes as part of the quadrennial