Global Warming Facts and Effects – Global Warming Climate Change


March 11, 2013

Allan Savory: How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change

Category: Climate Change Reversal,Desert Reversal – admin 12:14 am

 

Does Great Tragedy Always Produce Great Change? by Ian McCoy

Category: Climate Change Reversal,Uncategorized – admin 12:14 am

by: Ian McCoy

American environmentalism often wins its biggest victories after major destructive events. An oil spill and a burning river in 1969 led to new anti-pollution laws and the Exxon Valdez disaster helped create an Earth Day revival in 1990 and sparked a landmark clean-air law.

But this year, in the worst oil spill in U.S. history—there has not been the same kind of drive into the debate over climate change and fossil-fuel energy.

The Senate is still gridlocked; opinion polls haven’t budged much. Demand for petrol (gas) is going up, not down.

Environmentalists say they’re trying to turn public outrage over oil-smeared pelicans into action against more abstract things, such as oil dependence and climate change. But they are also facing a political moment deadened by a bad economy, suspicious politics and lingering doubts after a scandal over climate scientists’ e-mails.

It seems that people’s anger is focussed on BP and hasn’t been automatically connected to some sense that there’s something more fundamental wrong with our relationship with the natural world.

The story of 2010 is not that nothing happened after the BP spill; -it’s that much of the reaction has focused on preventing accidents — on tighter scrutiny of rigs and mines — rather than broader changes in the use of oil and coal.

Last year, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would create a “cap and trade” system for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. That bill probably won’t fly in the Senate because of concern over rising energy costs — and a compromise is still being worked out.

Meanwhile, for the environmental groups trying to break this logjam, it’s hard to imagine a more useful disaster. The BP oil spill has made the intangible — the cost of fossil-fuel dependence — into something tangibly terrible. Environmental activists have held “Hands Across the Sands” events at gulf beaches to protest offshore drilling, and in DC they spelled ”Freedom from Oil” on the Mall with American flags. They have organized calls to Congress and have held viewing parties to watch films about oil dependence.

We at just4theplanet commented a short while about the USA “stepping up to the plate” over climate change legislation. This is probably their best chance to pass a comprehensive bill

But in public opinion polls taken after the spill by academics, 53 percent of people said they were worried about climate change. That was only slightly different from January, and still down from 63 percent in 2008.

There may be distrust of climate science among a small group after the “Climate-gate” scandal last year, in which stolen e-mails seemed to show climate scientists talking about problems in their data. But as we reported last week, those scientists have been repeatedly cleared of academic misconduct.

What is even more worrying are U.S. government estimates that show public demand for gasoline and electric power is looking stronger now than last year at this time. So if these disasters have made individuals start conserving their energy use – there is not much empirical evidence to back this up.

All of this makes a sharp contrast to 1969, when a far smaller oil spill — 100,000 barrels (4.2 million gallons) — hit beaches near Santa Barbara, CA.

That spill triggered new restrictions on offshore drilling and, along with other disasters such as the fire on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River; it helped spark the first Earth Day in 1970. In the years afterward, the government imposed historic new restrictions to protect clean water, clean air and endangered species.

This year’s spill, hit in the era of recycling, organic food and hybrid cars, has revealed a worrying shift toward quieter, less ambitious environmental politics.

One reason is the economy: Concerns about unemployment have made the public and elected officials wary of the costs of change. People still remember $4-a-gallon gasoline a couple of summers ago, and don’t want fossil fuel to become more expensive. So it seems that great tragedy can bring great change – but it depends on the timing. When people are very concerned about the economy – this overrides any other concerns – including the environment.

Another factor was likely the site of the spill. Louisiana residents, who are among the most affected by the oil, have vented anger at BP specifically — but not as much against the wider oil industry, which plays a vital role in the state’s economy.

Perhaps there is also a feeling which runs deep in the American psyche that the government cannot really control this stuff anyway. But at 11 weeks after the spill, some historians say it’s too early to say it won’t alter national environmental politics. In 6 months to a year we shall have to see what has been done. But we at just4theplanet repeat what we said previously – please America- don’t neglect our planet for the sake of the mighty dollar.

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Ian McCoy

University educated, Author

The comprehensive site for all thingsenvironmental

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