Friday, October 30, 2009

Is W.Va. roadblock to global action on climate?

Rural America, and West Virginia specifically, are the principal culprits in slowing global action against climate change, writes Justin Rowlatt of BBC News. Rowlatt, whom the BBC bills as its "Ethical Man," is traveling across the United States trying to save the world, and in a recent post concluded that coal mining in West Virginia will keep the world from addressing global warming as it should. In one of the more provocative headlines you'll read, Rowlatt asks if "rural America can hold the world ransom."

"It may seem extraordinary that a sparsely populated, rural state like West Virginia could hold such sway in international politics, but the logic here on the ground is compelling," Rowlatt writes. He writes that coal mining is all West Virginians have, and their dependence on coal will likely prevent the state's two Democratic senators from supporting the climate-change bill. Without West Virginia's votes Senate Democrats will then water down aspects of the bill to prevent a Republican filibuster, undecutting global climate-change talks.

In an effort to explain the thinking of West Virginians, Rowlatt writes that miners and some local residents fear climate legislation will cause them to lose jobs, but his article slights the Mountain State by saying it has little to offer other than its "mountains of coal." (Read more)

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