Last Round, Prompt 2: Climate Change

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I agree with Ausubel that failures to mitigate climate change are largely due to crises of government. So far, the U.S. has not been setting the best example as a leading world power buy not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Even though we have the science and technology available to make renewable energy affordable, the politics involved are preventing it from being accessible and implementable on a large scale. Renewable energy options, such as wind turbines and solar panels are only concentrated in certain areas and regions because we do not view them as economically feasible even though they are more sustainable in the long-term. We are still heavily reliant on fossil fuels that we see as cheaper, even though the price does not accurately reflect the cost to society.

Ausubel says, “Cleaning up politics will clean up the environment.” This quote reminded me of the “Homo Ecologicus” reading from earlier in the semester, which criticized existing liberal democratic institutions in failing to handle environmental problems due factors such as short election timespans, opposing special interests, and partisanship. However, Ausubel gave the example of California as an “energy success story,” which can be used as a source for optimism when talking about the failures of governing institutions: 

As the world’s eighth largest economy, the Golden State instituted a    succession of policy innovations such that it now emits about half as much carbon per dollar of economic activity as the rest of the country. It’s first among the states in promoting energy efficiency. The result has been savings of $ 56 billion for customers, while obviating the need for twenty-four new   large-scale power plants. The gains are so impressive that its rules have been adopted by other states and into federal standards.

Therefore, I think it is possible for resolutions for climate change to fit into a dichotomy between government and technology. Maybe California is proof that ecological modernization is achievable and hopefully it can help change the rest of the country’s mindset and then convince the rest of the world that economic growth without environmental degradation can occur. 

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One response »

  1. I would have to agree with you that there are answers to be found in government and technology. California is also a great example of how reducing one’s carbon footprint and using less fossil fuels does not mean terror for the economy. Many times, simply reducing waste can help lower emissions and create savings. Other pros besides helping the economy include slowing climate change and health benefits of cleaner air.

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