Final Round, Prompt 2: Climate Change

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The crisis of climate change is most certainly due to the failure of government, at least in part. However, as with many issues, the answer is not that either government or technology is to blame. Rather, both have played a significant role in the development of global climate change. Without advancements in technology during the industrial revolution and throughout the twentieth century, human-induced climate change most likely does not happen. At the very least, it does not happen to the extent that it currently is, considering that non-industrial factors (such as raising cows and other forms of agriculture) also contribute greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at noteworthy levels. Even in the face of technology that allows humans to affect their environment like never before, it is possible that disastrous global climate change is still avoided if governments across the globe responded appropriately. As noted in the prompt, governments have consistently failed on an international level to create policy likely to stop or even mitigate climate change. Ausubel also notes in “Six Degrees of Climate Separation” that international summits rarely lead to international solutions, and when the representatives from these national governments are capable of coming to an agreement, the result is a policy that does not go far enough to create a significant impact. In the end, both technology and governments have failed us and contributed to the global threat of climate change.

Like the sources of the problem, the solutions are also found in both government and technology. Ausubel notes that improvements in energy efficiency and green energy technology points to a promising future with clean energy options. Governments have the inherent capacity to deal with a large-scale, collective action problem such as climate change. While both government and technology have lead us down this dangerous road, realigning each can lead to tremendously beneficial results and workable solutions for the problem of climate change.

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One response »

  1. I think the prompt is more asking if technology is not advanced enough now or if climate change is more due to limitations by the government. In this case, I believe that it is mostly, if not all, due to government limitations. We have seen technological action taken to respond to government policies, but not the other way around. For example, the Montreal Protocol was enacted and there was a rapid response to develop alternatives to CFCs. I cannot think of a time when an advancement in technology rapidly changed government policy in such a way. Therefore, I believe it is up to the government to make more strict regulations and push technology and innovation to create a greener society.
    I do agree with the last part: simple government regulation or simple advances in technology will not make a difference. To change our self-destructive course, we must use an integration of them both. It is hard to admit that the only way out of this mess is to continue with the processes that got us into this mess in the first place, but it is much too late to turn back now.

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