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How to Address America's Altering of Earth's Climate

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Indisputably, the next president must get a handle on America’s ignorance of global climate change before it further hinders the fight against global climate change.

 

Bush in his years in office has made various weak appeals to fight global climate change but in these appeals, he has gone to great lengths to limit his admittance that this dangerous phenomenon is in fact being driven by humans. He has been even more reluctant to admit that America is a prime purveyor of all that has caused our climate to change.

 

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Bush’s actions have mainly stunted any actions that may have headed off this global crisis. Bush holds the view that the Kyoto protocol would wreck our economy. In response to people who condemn him for not ratifying the Kyoto protocol, Bush has proposed to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 18% by 2012 despite the fact that greenhouse gas emissions will have increased by one-third between 1990 and 2012.

 

John Tirman, who influenced me to write this article, wrote in 100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World that conservatives should be “wary of human actions that will upset the heritage we’ve been given” and should “conserve society and its institutions to oppose radical change”. On the contrary, Bush and his conservative base that have supported him through out his reign have recklessly pursued a policy where profits are more important than being conservative. And as Tirman points out in his chapter on how America has altered Earth’s climate, the right wing is staggeringly different from the philosophy it had centuries ago.

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What Should Be Done?

In lieu of the fact that it would cost little to act, products/services could be created to boost the success of capitalism in this country, and new “green” jobs could employ people and reduce the unemployment rate in America and in lieu of the fact that Republicans have abandoned their roots for profits instead, one must pressure the only side with the capability to make sure America takes responsibility for what it has done as soon as possible. That side in this two-party dictatorship is the Democrats, whose popularity is resolute when considering that the Republican Party continues to be hypocritical and ignorant towards Americans.

That’s not to say Democrats have been angelic for America. The Democrats as soon as they gained control of the House and the Senate should have begun a push to ratify the Kyoto protocol and institute some responsibility into government. Instead, Democrats seem intent to ride into the White House in 2008 on people’s disdain for Republicans even if they haven’t got the policies to lift up America and do what needs to be done.

When considering that Democrats have made the Congress a “lame duck” Congress by opting to just promote new policies on campaign trails instead of enacting change now in the House or the Senate, who among the Democratic candidates should be put into office to fix how America continues to alter Earth’s climate?

Let’s go back to May 2007. It was in this month that Barack Obama came out in favor of coal-to-liquid-fuel as a means of reducing global warming. According to an LA Times article cited on Gristmill, a blog on environmental news, “one presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), [was] pushing to provide federal loan guarantees, tax breaks and other subsidies to spur the production of fuel from coal.” This was in spite of the fact that a study by the Argonne National Laboratory, a research arm of the Energy Department, showed that “turning coal into liquid fuel yields 125% more carbon dioxide than producing diesel fuel and 66% more than gasoline. If the carbon dioxide is captured and permanently stored, liquid coal emits 20% more greenhouse gas than diesel but 11% less than conventional gasoline.” Most importantly, the bill [did] not require that the fuel be produced without increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s another site site detailing Obama’s support for coal liquefication, which seems to be a largely inadequate answer to global climate change. Was this the best Barack could offer in response to America’s role in altering the Earth’s climate? Isn’t this kind of response virtually the same when compared to how the Bush administration has been responding to global climate change?

Since then, Obama has offered this ad to citizens of America who he hopes will vote for him. It ignores his previous call for coal-to-liquid fuel. It instead uses lofty rhetoric and fails to mention any policy he would enact to fight global climate change.

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Hillary Clinton supports the Climate Stewardship Act of 2003, which is the McCain-Lieberman plan for addressing global climate change. Skepticism should occur in anyone’s mind when considering any plan put forth by McCain and especially Joe Lieberman, however, Hillary Clinton seems resolute in her support for this act. The Marshall Institute, which happens to be supported by Exxon if you look the institute up on SourceWatch, does not support this plan and raises some interesting points in regards to the plan. Primarily, the institute believes the benefits of the plan do not exceed the costs.

One should not rely on any organization supported by any oil company when deciding that any response to global climate change is wrong. That said, here’s another comment on the Climate Stewardship Act, which advocates a market-based approach to addressing climate change. However, the author of this comment is a senior fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has been supported by Exxon, Pfizer, and Texaco. Thus, it appears that a disinformation and misinformation campaign has severely muddied a plan that might realistically move us to begin acting to fight global climate change. Would action take place fast enough or would America be dragging its feet? Would action take place fast enough if a “Strategic Energy Fund” was enacted, which seems like an approach to fighting global warming much like the Climate Stewardship Act?

It’s much easier to determine which candidate’s response to global climate changeshould be supported if you remove Obama and Clinton from the picture. Gristmill and Outside did interviews of Edwards, Richardson, Dodd, and Kucinich, which show how they have hugely developed policies for addressing America’s role in global warming while Obama and Clinton are lagging behind in their responses.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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