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Bush win prompts mixed response from green gr -

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Bush win prompts mixed response from green groups

Reporter: John Stewart

MAXINE McKEW: The re-election of George W Bush has brought a mixed response from green groups.

Most view another four years of Republican leadership as a disaster for the environment.

But some say that governments no longer matter and that companies are bypassing national leaders to
make their own decisions about reducing greenhouse emissions.

JOHN STEWART: Just two months ago, Florida was struck by some of the worst hurricanes in years.

But voters in Florida didn't make a connection between the extreme weather and the world's
deteriorating environment.

Instead, the Republican's gained votes in Florida by producing a generous disaster relief fund.

JEB BUSH, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: This has been, as we know an historic 6-week period, never before
since, I guess, 1880 has there been a state that has received four hurricanes at once.

JOHN STEWART: Greenpeace, says the Florida situation symbolises the environment's low profile,
during the US election campaign.

DANNY KENNEDY, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, GREENPEACE, AUSTRALIA PACIFIC: Oddly, Bush did apparently well in
Florida because he was perceived as handing out welfare to those impacted by tropical cyclones
there.

What we should have seen was somebody like Kerry, standing up and saying, "Look, this is the
problem with the energy pathway and the lack of energy independence and the lack of alternative and
creative solutions in the energy side of the JOHN STEWART: The United States is the world's largest
polluter, producing more greenhouse emissions than China.

But during the presidential debates, the candidates answered just one question on the environment.

With strengthened numbers in both the house and the Senate, Republicans can now see the way clear
to drill for oil in the Arctic national wildlife refuge.

DANNY KENNEDY: It's a crime to open up such a wonderful wilderness in the Arctic at this time.

But what's worse is that it signals this addiction, this grip, that the US economy and politics is
in, of the fossil fuel business.

JOHN STEWART: But some environmentalists say it doesn't matter who's in charge of the White House
or Canberra.

Local businesses in states like California are ignoring national leaders and cutting their own
deals, just in case the Kyoto protocol comes into force and companies are made to show proof that
they've invested in growing trees.

FRANCIS GREY, SUSTAINABLE ASSET MANAGEMENT: A state like California, for example, could trade with
Victoria, in terms of swapping carbon credits between different commercial companies in two
different zones and that market can develop independent of the involvement of federal Australian
and American governments.

JOHN STEWART: But Greenpeace says the market won't save the environment.

DANNY KENNEDY: But it's a dream to think that that sort of incentive-based system will work,
particularly if there is no big stick being wielded by anyone.

JOHN STEWART: If the polar ice caps continue to melt and Hollywood keeps producing films about
extreme weather, the environment may become a bigger election issue.

If not, green groups say we're heading for a big wake-up call within the next 20 years.

John Stewart, Lateline.