The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Action On Global Warming
All but 48 of the Republican Senate candidates are climate change deniers or are against taking action on climate change. Joe Miller, who defeated incumbent Lisa Murkowski in Alaska in August, said, “We haven’t heard there’s manmade global warming.”
Carly Fiorina, running against Barbara Boxer in California, said repeatedly that she is “not sure” climate change is really occurring.
The American people, according to a survey conducted earlier this month, believe in taking action on climate change. About three out of four (73 percent) of those surveyed, support protecting the EPA’s authority to “take steps that will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electric utilities and other major industrial polluters.” Only one in four (24 percent) oppose the EPA’s authority to control GHG emissions.
More than four out of five (83 percent) of those surveyed think scientists and other experts at the EPA are “the most qualified to make decisions about how best to safeguard the American public when dealing with greenhouse gas emissions and other major pollutants.” Less than one in 10 (nine percent) said Congress is the best qualified.
Conducted by the Infogroup and Opinion Research Corporation, the survey interviewed 1,007 adults.
While the American people support taking action on climate change, the Congress has yet to pass legislation which would put a price on GHG emissions. As investor and billionaire, George Soros recently said, “The gap between what needs to be done and what’s actually happening is getting wider.”
Australia also has not put a price on GHG emissions
The U.S. is not the only developed country that needs to take action on climate change. A recent article in an Australian newspaper said Australia is behind the rest of the world when it comes to climate change policy. The article points out that China and India had “already taken strong steps.”
“There is no risk of Australia taking a leadership position,” said Cameron Hepburn, a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford. “We are so far behind the post we risk coming last.”
Hepburn said Australia needs to put a price on carbon. “If we don’t price carbon soon we will be forced to do it at some point, in a way we don’t like very much,” Hepburn said.
Developing countries call for rich countries to take action
While developed countries like the U.S. and Australia fail to put a price on carbon, developing countries like Kirbati, a nation made up of 33 Pacific island atolls, are forced to prepare for the worst. Kiribati is predicted to be one of the first countries to be flooded because of rising sea levels. The country recently said it will close over 150,000 square miles of its land to fishing to protect the ocean. Fishing accounts for 45 percent of Kiribati’s revenue.
President Anote Tong says Kiribati is closing miles of its land to fishing to send a message to the world: “We need to make sacrifices to provide a future for our children and grandchildren.”
When asked by Mongabay.com how the people of Kiribati feel about the fate of their country being in the hands of other countries, Tong said, “There is a sense of injustice, but also an understanding that until recently, people weren’t aware of the impact of their actions. However knowing what we do today, carrying on as business-as-usual is irresponsible and immoral. Failing to take action borders on an act of criminality.”
During the last day of the 56th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) conference on September 18, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga ended the conference by saying that every country should make climate change action a priority.
Odinga said, “Copenhagen was a big disappointment and I therefore urge you to push for aggressive investment, renewable power investment and energy efficiency which will protect our climate while providing employment and growth. We still need more leaders than politicians in this area.”