Procrastinating On The Environment


Many climatologists point to convincing evidence supporting the claim that the current climate change now occurring throughout the planet is from human manipulation of the environment. The concern is prompted by the acceleration of changes in weather patterns never before seen until now. Others argue that there is not enough data recorded over a long enough period of time to draw any conclusions.

The latter position, supported by the fossil fuel industry, much of the private sector and most politicians in the republican party is to continue to collect data and maintain the status quo until more evidence is identified; but no one from their side has ever articulated how much proof would be sufficient enough to make any definitive conclusions.

On principle, its the familiar Laissez-faire approach; government should do nothing that would impede the private sector which has historically generated economic growth, and I might add most of the harmful byproducts of the industrial revolution. Using this rationale, they claim that imposing increased costs mandated by the government on businesses to restore the environment is equivalent to taxes that would cause the private sector to constrict and reduce jobs. This they insist would lead to recession.

Using the Laissez-faire model sounds great on paper, except it still does not address corporate greed which does require strong governmental monitoring. Private corporations do not owe their allegiances to the public, but to their stockholders. The profit motive is their driving force and minimizing their costs leads to maximizing their profits. These are the boundaries of their mandate and how they achieve it is often at the expense of the public. This is why government regulation is crucial and should be encouraged rather then regarded as an impediment to private sector growth. The challenge is to find the right balance between the two.

With respect to the climate change we are now experiencing, bipartisan stagnation due mostly from the republican majority in Congress infected by corporate lobbyists is analogous to Emperor Nero watching Rome burn. The question we should be asking our politicians is: Should we be portraying the current climate change in this manner?

From scientists, we should be inquiring whether there is still time to restore the ecological balance of Earth, or have we already reached the point of no return?