“I guess climate change is happening, but we in the US simply can’t reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. That would be competitive and economic suicide”. Heard at a dinner party this past week in Northern New Jersey from a well-educated and well-travelled PhD. Sometimes, really smart people can be say really dumb things. With the Copenhagen Climate Change Negotiations (see last week’s In the News) fast approaching, and our politicians still undecided on what we in the US will be saying there or even who is going to represent the US at the meeting, this attitude isn’t helping. We in the US are no longer “leading the competitive charge” as countries scramble to be leaders on new technologies, in new industries, and in job creation as we all try to figure out how to meet the world’s increasing demands for clean energy or any kind of energy, with new 21st century development tools. Ask your kids who are looking at colleges or ask yourself if you are looking to change careers. Where is the new “buzz”, what are the hot new subjects to study at school, the “new career paths.”? Many are related to …new “green” technologies and new ways to promote and help companies and individuals become more “sustainable”.
Speaking of new, I am a “new” American and very proud of it! Born Canadian, and always be, I became an American citizen 3 years ago, in large part so I could be an active participant in the democratic process where I live. Part of what I love about America is the commitment to succeed and overcome, and the ability to be able to do this, regardless of where one comes from or what one believes. Freedom of speech is entrenched in our constitution. I am wondering though, when did fighting global warming and climate change become equated in some prominent circles with anti democracy and anti capitalism? When did our ability to express our beliefs on these concerns make some one a “socialist” or “tree hugger”, somehow both having a negative connotation. To quote one of my “heroes” Roz Savage: “Too often at the moment we look like schoolchildren squabbling over a toy – our most precious toy, the Earth. And the danger is that as we pull in opposite directions in our global tug of war, the Earth will end up broken – or at least unable to sustain human life. That is the worst case scenario – or maybe, from the Earth’s point of view, the best.”
As the world’s finite oil reserves disappear at an alarming rate as worldwide demand increases, we need to find new ways to keep our economic motors running, and new ways to become “more competitive” in green technologies and innovations. We need to find ways to be both financial successful and morally responsible. Can they both go hand in hand? Other countries are showing us that they can do it and are leap frogging the US and winning. As we move forward and the world spotlight shines on all of us, will we let our politicians off the hook to easily by failing to press them to pass an Energy and Climate change bill, because somehow it is being touted as a road to “economic suicide?” Are we going to walk away from the global negotiations on climate change next month in Copenhagen and not have done our part in solving the problem, when we have been responsible for creating much more than our share of the mess?
Food for thought, what do you think?
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