In the US, climate change sees checks and balances


Electric ecotaxis run on coal fired battery power in Washington, and in politics checks and balances separate progress and stand offs in the climate debate. “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations”, Barack Obama said in January during his inaugural speech, bringing this issue back at the forefront of American politics amid Republican opposition.

The US capitol is a city full of checks and balances; here power is omnipresent yet at the same time action is difficult to undertake. Democracy in America, with its separated powers between the president and two Houses of Congress provides plenty of possibilities for policy obstruction.

So might the US finally change on climate change? In spite of Obama’s speech only one thing is certain – climate change will change America.

In the State Department the line is clear: Obama’s overture on climate action is nothing new, rather, it is the expression of existing policies and engagement. Yet outside Washington, next to a firestowe
and a wall full of Irish 20th century poets – “I can resist anything except temptation” quoting Oscar Wilde – a young professor at George Mason University is tempted to see the president’s approach as new.

Politicians will not be able to resist change, he says, since yet-to-be published opinion surveys point to climate action as a means to cash in on independent voters in the 2014 mid-term elections.

Moreover, scientific progress might soon enable the downscaling of climatic megatrends to local forecasts for areas such Virginia and other US states under different temperature scenarios – such as 2, 3 or 4 degree temperature increases, thereby turning climate change into a local issue.

Yet such a change of policy is unlikely before the next mid-term elections, set for November 2014. In the Republican controlled House of Representatives, opposition to European style cap-and-trade climate
policy is unconditional, and in the Democratic controlled Senate the view prevails that the likelihood of a carbon tax in the current term is less than 20 % at best.

However, a number of democrats are optimistic that Obama might nevertheless try to propose a carbon tax as part of a grand bargain set to tackle the US’s deficit even before the mid-term elections - knowing that success is unlikely, but sharing the view that the struggle itself might be politically beneficial for the Democrats.

Hence a significant US policy shift presided by Obama seems dependent on the Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives in 2014 – ahead of the 2015 deadline by which the world is to agree on a comprehensive climate deal beyond 2020.

It is a fine cut indeed.

Meanwhile, climate activists about Washington hope to make the most of the executive powers that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have to safeguard clean air legislation. Requirements for fuel quality
are being tightened, the US Department of Agriculture promotes both first and second generation biofuels, and from Montana to Colorado shale gas takes on coal in the energy mix.

From a European perspective, this bottom up approach to the climate challenge that focuses on politically feasible action in the short term rather than top-down CO2 reduction targets for the next decades inspires scepticism.

Will the US truly be part of a solution?

I am going about America to try to find out.

  1. #1 by Mauro on April 18, 2013 - 11:48 pm

    Guess what, after all there some good people exists and won´t let us (the people) down.

    http://principia-scientific.org/supportnews/latest-news/163-new-discovery-nasa-study-proves-carbon-dioxide-cools-atmosphere.html#.UVYwRz4bXF4.facebook

    The fraudulent climate change has another step back, the dangerous Co2 is afterall good for the environment because it cools off the planet, hum?…

    As you know, the plants can also say good things about Co2, more Co2 gives us more growth, which means more productive agro-fiels with more biomass, which means more weight per product.

    The 388 ppmv causing no harm to humans or plants, on the other hand it won´t help the crops to growth because all plants, i mean, all plants need Co2 and why?

    In Canada they give Co2 supplementation to plants for them to growth, did you know? With outstanding results.

    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm

    you want to write about climate change, so what about geo-engineering? Is not that climate change? Try to mitigate or block the radiation from the sun, or using HAARP station to create rain, droughts, and other “climate change” sorts of thing?.

    This is a report on the environment, security and foreign policy from the european parliament, with date of 1999.

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A4-1999-0005+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

    HAARP – a weapons system which disrupts the climate

    On 5 February 1998 Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Disarmament held a hearing the subject of which included HAARP. NATO and the US had been invited to send representatives, but chose not to do so. The Committee regrets the failure of the USA to send a representative to answer questions, or to use the opportunity to comment on the material submitted.(21)

    HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project) is run jointly by the US Air Force and Navy, in conjunction with the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Similar experiments are also being conducted in Norway, probably in the Antarctic, as well as in the former Soviet Union.(22)

    HAARP is a research project using a ground based apparatus, an array of antennae each powered by its own transmitter, to heat up portions of ionosphere with powerful radio beams.(23) The energy generated heats up parts of the ionosphere; this results in holes in the ionosphere and produces artificial ‘lenses’.

    Another damaging consequence of HAARP is the occurrence of holes in the ionosphere caused by the powerful radio beams. The ionosphere protects us from incoming cosmic radiation. The hope is that the holes will fill again, but our experience of change in the ozone layer points in the other direction. This means substantial holes in the ionosphere that protects us.

    With its far-reaching impact on the environment HAARP is a matter of global concern and we have to ask whether its advantages really outweigh the risks. The environmental impact and the ethical aspect must be closely examined before any further research and testing takes place. HAARP is a project of which the public is almost completely unaware, and this needs to be remedied.

    That´s why people don´t trust, beacuse it´s all a big scam, not only this but the hole thing…:)

    And by the way 97% of greenhouses gases is…water vapor, and with this giant truth, because it is, where do we put our 7 gigatons that we produce? Since we have much more natural “stuffs” above us, like volcanos, or the dead leafs and microbians which all combine give to the atmosphere more than 300 gigatons, representing 3.5% from the 5% that is left.

    Thank you for your time.

  2. #2 by Bo on April 19, 2013 - 4:29 pm

    @Mario> You are messing up things. HAARP has nothing to do with any kind of climate changes, no artificial hole in the ionosphere et al. Read up on facts before posting conspiracy theories.

    http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/faq.html

  3. #3 by Mauro on April 20, 2013 - 4:09 pm

    Can you really say that? Even when the european politburo admitted in that report what is the HAARP project?

    Are you saying that the people who made that report are a complete dumb assholes? I think you are.

    What did you expect that HAARP´s web site was going to say? Yes, we are using technology that can change the climate, it´s like you have the official CIA web site saying, yes, we make wars all over the place and deal with scum, monet laundry, drugs, and so on….

    Don´t be naive, or maybe, you´re just pushing the conspiracy card, because, that´s what people like you, do, when they don´t knowledge the facts and try by any means to ridicularized the other part.

    The fact that you picked up just the HAARP issue, when you have for example NASA showing new scientific proofs that global warming is a farse made by politicians and alike, with purposes that has nothing to do with saving environment, any views on that part? Or is just another conspiracy?

    http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/sea-based-x-band-radar-1-sbx-1/

    Do you know what that is? It´s an HAARP station, that can travel anywhere in the world, I´m pretty sure they don´t tell you this on their own web site, don´t you think?

    And what about water vapour? Can anybody tell me how come we are so worried with such a small % of what we produce (Co2) when we have the other slice which represents almost the totality of the greenhouse gases?

  4. #4 by Stanley Faraci on April 29, 2013 - 3:37 am

    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions, or in the distribution of weather around the average conditions (i.e., more or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change is caused by factors that include oceanic processes (such as oceanic circulation), biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions, and human-induced alterations of the natural world.’

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  5. #5 by Gale Careaga on April 29, 2013 - 8:52 am

    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions, or in the distribution of weather around the average conditions (i.e., more or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change is caused by factors that include oceanic processes (such as oceanic circulation), biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions, and human-induced alterations of the natural world.^

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