Saturday, October 20, 2012

We the Climate Ostriches?


Are we Americans ostriches?  Why in these presidential debates nothing has been said about the climate change.  How many of us truly realize that the overwhelming scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels is trapping heat in the atmosphere, with potentially catastrophic long-term effects.
Obama and Romney failed to address our increasing  ecological disasters in the debates.  While they have talked about extracting ever-larger quantities of oil, natural gas and coal no discussion has been made of their serious economic and environmental impacts.
Romney did falsely attacked Obama in the first debate on his failure with creating green jobs.  Yes a few did fail, however, most were a huge success . In the second debate, Romney spoke about how the President “has not been Mr. Oil, or Mr. Gas, or Mr. Coal.”  Romney declared, if elected, would be all three. Obama countered, “We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years.” “Natural gas production is the highest it’s been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment.”  Does anyone still remember what happen in the Gulf Oil Spill?
Where is public opinion about our future global ecological challenges?  Yes Obama does cite that his administration has invested in alternative energy technologies, such as wind and solar, however, he fails to talk about lessening greenhouse emissions and thus do not contribute to atmospheric warming.
Romney deludes us with about “North America[n] energy independence.”  This is a myth in since the international energy market sets the price of oil is a global supply and demand. Also experts predict that we heavily rely on foreign energy sources way into the future.  Even if we extract all the oil and natural gas be produced in the United States, Canada and Mexico energy prices will not fall.  Natural price is localized since it harder to transport over long distances.  Also the technology of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — to pump huge quantities of natural gas, and the price is already quite low yet enormous environmental impacts have yet to be fully understood.  Also fracking has been mostly unregulated and subsidized undermining alternative energy markets with providing lots of cheap fracked gas.  Fossil fuels enjoy much greater  corporate welfare.
Both Romney and Obama are pro-coal.   However Obama champions we he calls “clean coal” technology, which is a contradiction terms or more political rhetoric.  The bottom-line is of we wish to lessen carbon emissions; burning coal is the source of the problem.  
So both Obama and Romney say they accept the findings of climate scientists are correct about the warming of the atmosphere.  Yet they both fear talking or addressing this issue because  of public opinion polls.  Like Congress we are cowards to even to show by example to lessen our impacts so to influence big emitters such as China, India and Brazil to do their part.  However, California and other states are taking the lead. Simply this issue of climate change has serious security and future implications.   Not being truthful about the full ramifications of  different energy sources has resulted in robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Using inexpensive fossil fuel now have enormous future costs jeopardizing our next generations.
Unfortunately this presidential campaign reflects Americans unwillingness to address climate change.  Because it is a delicate and tricky subject both Obama and Romney have opted to play it safe and ignore one the most detrimental issues in our lifetime.  Leaders are supposed to lead not just follow public opinion.   It is a pity since our symbol of the eagle is now looking more like an ostrich.