Thursday, October 06, 2016
Does U.S. have The Political Will To Fight Global Warming ?
On Wednesday, President Obama announced that enough nations had ratified the December 2015 agreement on stopping global climate change to make it go into effect next month. It required enough nations to represent 55% of greenhouse gas emissions. After the European Union ratified the agreement recently, that total had climbed to 56.75%. Currently, 72 out of 195 countries have ratified the agreement, and the agreement will go into effect next month. The president said:
"This gives us the best possible shot to save the one planet we've got."
"Even if we meet every target, we will only get to part of where we need to go. This agreement will help delay or avoid some of the worse consequences of climate change will help other nations ratchet down their emissions over time over time."
President Obama is right on both counts. The agreement is necessary, and more will probably need to be done. But will enough be done to avert the impending disaster that global climate change poses? It has been a struggle to get this far, and the likelihood of more being done seems unlikely.
But even more troubling is that this country, which under President Obama has been a leader in trying to fight global climate change, may not even live up to its part of the current agreement.
The charts above are from a new survey by the Pew Research Center -- done between May 10th and June 6th of a random national sample of 1,534 adults, with a 4 point margin of error. It shows that 48% of the public in the United States believes that global climate change is due to human activity -- less than half, and that has been true for the last decade.
And we have a political party in this country that swings a lot of weight which simply does not believe that human activity is the cause of global climate change -- the Republican Party. Only 15% of conservative Republicans and 34% of moderate Republicans (and 23% of all Republicans) believe human activity is the cause -- and their elected officials agree with them.
That means they will be opposing efforts to change human activity (like using less fossil fuels), and since they control Congress, they can block any new efforts to change human activity -- and they may well even try to block our compliance with the December 2016 agreement (especially if they add the White House to their power base in the coming election). It is a compelling reason why they must be voted out of power in November.
There are many reasons why the November election is very important (economic fairness, Supreme Court appointments, criminal justice reform, more health care reform, fighting racism and bigotry, etc.) -- but one of the most important is the future of humans on this planet. We don't have a lot of time to reverse global climate change, and putting it off another 4 to 8 years could be a long enough time to make reversal impossible.