OUR EMOTIONAL INABILITY TO FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING
How is it possible that Chancellor Angela Markel, of Germany, Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of England, and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France could offer at Copenhagen to reduce their greenhouse gases by 30% by 2020 while President Barak Obama can offer only 5% reduction?
It is because the European leaders have the support of their people and president Obama does not have it. Why? Because the Europeans are more global citizens; they have suffered through many wars, they are not naïve, and they are also more interested and more aware of the rest of the world. However, the majority of our American people are nice, simple, caring people, but they are also quite naïve. We have had it quite easy. We did not suffer any destruction from the time of our civil war, and even during WWII our losses were the least by far of any major participant in the war. And our economy benefited from the war effort. We think we are special and invincible.
The problem is not primarily lack of knowledge and understanding of facts by many of our leaders. It is also, or may be mostly, an emotional and psychological dilemma. It is very hard to acknowledge within your own soul that humanity is on a verge of irreparable damage. It took me several years before this reality broke my own emotional resistance; and I have been educated as an environmental scientist. I also have been aware of global warming for decades and spent years developed alternative energies against it.
From the ending of the last ice age we had it relatively easy. We never experienced any global danger of this magnitude before. It is not only Republicans that deny GW, many Democrats in Congress and across the country are more interested in their reelection than the survival of humanity. They are unable to grasp reality. It is not that they are bad people, they are too limited, too self absorbed, and do not have enough courage to brake with their "business as usual" mode. In the same time we have some outstanding industry leaders that are willing to be pioneers and stake their position and income to push for a more aggressive fight against global warming, such as the presidents of Duke Power and PG&E utilities.
I believe our president is not able to grasp the full reality of global warming despite the advice of some good people around him. He may understand it intellectually but when it is critical to act and go beyond his political comfort zone, he is not willing to risk his political future to fully alert the American people to the danger we are facing. His political advisers are not grasping the global reality yet.
It is not sufficient to be better than president Bush. President Obama did not show yet the characteristics of a leader of substance, and of a leader suitable to these critical times.
We are not willing to accept that global warming is posing real danger to all the people of the world. Even those who are against global warming have been doing little to change the political status-quo. They have not gone beyond their comfort zone to protest, to create massive political pressure or any thing else that would make a difference. They feel good that they are against global warming. But beyond a small minority of activists do you see any great movement doing anything of substance? I do not.
America is such a vast country it is hard to see beyond it. We are so focused on our own community, state and country as if the rest of the world does not exist. Most of the American public is unsophisticated, and unaware of what is going on in the rest of the world. At the same time poles find that we are now have the most isolationists' attitude from the time of WWII. We do not grasp within our guts that global warming has no boundaries and we are all in the same boat.
We have been accustomed to think that the American strength will get us everything, from the latest I Phone to an easy conquest of Iraq. After all we have the strongest military power in the world, and we have the largest economy. But we also are the most lied to, mislead people on earth both by business and our own government and politicians. No wonder we regress to be so self-centered, so self-involved we can not see nor accept reality.
And the power of money (essentially legal bribes) in our politics is so powerful, Congress can not pass any meaningful bill that benefits the majority of the people.
I just watched again a two hour documentary on the US Advertisement Industry. Amazing how they have developed the most appealing, powerful mind-bending approaches to force us to buy almost anything they want to sell us. We are so much lied to in business, so many in the banking and real estate business justify their lies by: "every body does it" that it was natural for many of us to participate in the mass lies that produce the financial collapse of the last few years. The financial industry used the same tools if bending facts to mislead people to buy and commit and speculated to such an extent that the economy tanked. But the people on the top remain very wealthy.
And the problem with global warming is that our politicians and leaders across much of the country are using the same proven techniques to mislead us to believe whatever they want to.
As long as we will continue to be so self absorbed, so uninterested in the reality around us, so unaware of the world beyond the US, then our destiny would be to be the most disliked country on earth, and with a good reason, we are not willing to reduce our standard of living one iota to allow some of the poorest people on earth to have just one decent meal daily.
WE are not so strong any longer and our unwillingness to participate in the fight against global warming will backfire on us from all sides.
The physical world will survive with much higher temperatures but the people will suffer endlessly unless we cut our greenhouse gases drastically and soon. And we are the country that emitted the maximum amount to date and that continue to emit some twenty tones of CO2 per person per year. If China did that it would emit four times what it emits today. And four and a half times more than we do now.
What may be the answer?
Without US leadership and example China would not reduce its emissions as needed. The US must cut its emissions of all GHG by at least 30% by 2020 as the Europeans are willing to do. We have so much energy waste that it is not too difficult to do it if our political system pass the right laws without catering to the interests of the coal and power industry, but the interest of humanity.
We can not escape from our responsibility and let the global climate deteriorate even more rapidly than it does now. Our leaders must rise to the occasion, and I do not know how to force them unless we get involved in political pressure on a wide scale. No environmental organization has done anything of substance in this area yet. Only their leadership is involved as if mass grassroots pressure is ineffective or not possible to create.
It would be impracticable to wait until the general public sees and grasps the damage and then panic into action. It would be too late to reverse the escalating climate deterioration.
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