American President Barack Obama is “the best shot” at tackling climate change before it’s too late, a renowned international affairs expert said in Olds on Wednesday.
Before an audience of 400 people at Olds College, Gwynne Dyer said he’s impressed with Obama’s knowledge over the pace at which global warming is occurring, and what must be done to curb it.
The president has already amassed a handful of advisors, including Harvard physicist John Holdren as his chief scientific advisor. Dyer would have appointed the same green team.
“On the climate issue, he really gets it,” said the Canadian now living in London, England.
“It’s given me hope more than anything in the past year — who he chose.”
Obama understands greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced much faster than the 2050 targets set by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“He understands that doing it early is better than doing it later because (greenhouse gas emissions) are cumulative every year.”
Dyer predicts over the next six months Obama will try to broker a one-on-one deal with China, the world’s biggest air polluter.
“It will be a model for how everyone else can do it too,” Dyer said.
“If we have to wait until 147 countries make a deal, we will be waiting until the cows come home, watch television and go to bed.”
Dyer later took aim at the new U.S. leader for accepting “Washington’s war on terror.”
Obama is now convinced that Afghanistan is the battlefield and will add thousands more troops to the country.
He’s lobbying NATO allies to send more as well.
“I am sure that (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper is having his arm twisted on that 2011 deadline of pulling Canadian troops,” Dyer said. Dyer said NATO forces are fighting the largest ethnic group known as the Pashtun.
“The Taliban are the political vehicle of the Pashtuns,” Dyer said.
“We drove them from power by aligning ourselves with the other ethnic groups . . . it’s not about terrorism, it’s about the balance of power in Afghanistan.”
He figures Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. in 2001, didn’t tell the Taliban he was going to attack the U.S.
“The Taliban didn’t attack the United States, bin Laden did,” Dyer said. “If the Taliban does get the power back, what would be the purpose of sending terrorists to the U.S. Do they want to be invaded again?”
When NATO troops leave, which Dyer predicted will happen within four years, then Afghanistan will lapse back into obscurity.