The success of the documentary cinema The Inconvenient Truth, starring former Vice President Al Gore, coupled with major weather related disasters the world over in the last few years has once again brought climate change and global warming to the fore front.
While United States has long remained the world’s largest contributor of green house gases that lead to global warming, the Bush administration has yet to sign the internationally heralded Kyoto Protocol. In fact, it has been caught in some blatant controversies trying to disprove a body of scientific evidence regarding the matter.
Many politicians and journalist have concluded that this has happened not because they don’t believe climate change is taking place, but rather because of the powerful lobbying groups mainly from the auto and oil industry that supports them. Cars and fossil fuel use, along with coal based electricity, remains some
of the biggest source of carbon emission the world over.
With recent hubbub about global warming, and polls showing immense public concern over the issue, President Bush has spoken publicly many times about slowing down the effects of global warming, mainly by using technology to cut carbon emissions.
In his State of the Union address last year, he explicitly endorsed the Hybrid car technology, one that would run not just on gas but also electricity. After the Democratic Party won control of the House and the Senate, the U.S Government has also steadily endorsed many pro-environment causes such as the development of alternative energy such as bio fuels for automobiles, and is actively drafting bills that will require Detroit to produce cars that give better mileage. This April, the Supreme Court voted 5-4, giving the federal government the authority to regulate vehicle’ carbon emissions under the country’s Clean Air Act.
While the environment has already become a major Presidential campaign agenda for elections ’08, true leadership on global warming has so far come most effectively form local authorities across the United States. Almost two hundred cities have taken to the cause, designing and implementing their own campaigns to slow down the effects of global warming as much as possible. California’s governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg have both take the lead and made fighting global warming a primary objective during their time in office.
While California plans to plant over 11 million trees in its urban space within the next two decades, New York recently hosted one of the world’s largest summits of the mayors with a focus on cities and local authorities taking the lead for this cause. Trees are natural air purifiers, and today there is a serious public effort across towns and cities to build greener space.
There has also been a massive grassroots campaign to fight global warming from religious groups as well as celebrities. And saving the world itself has become a financially sound decision for investors the world over. Wall Street, too, has taken to the cause, and Goldman Sachs has already invested billions in clean energy.
The people of America seem to be increasingly geared up to take responsibility for their part in causing global warming, which will affect countries that were not major contributors of the greenhouse gases the most. And it’s forcing leaders in the Republican and Democratic Party, as well as the business and scientific community and religious groups to do what it takes to neutralize the global warming effect.