Monday, August 25, 2014

A Climate for Change:  The Country’s Sinking Climate Debate - Washington Post Editorial

The U.S. Capitol in Washington (Credit: Click to enlarge.
[T]here are reasons not to give up.  The biggest is the urgency of action.  As the U.S. debate has deteriorated, scientists’ warnings have become more dire.  According to the authoritative Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , every region of the world faces serious risks , including sea-level rise or worsening heat waves, floods and wildfires — and those are consequences scientists can predict.  Though poor nations along the equator may be hit hardest, U.S. analysts are beginning to quantify a variety of direct and negative effects climate change could have in our own country .

These factors help explain a second reason for hope:  despite ups and downs in the polling, a solid majority of Americans favors action to curb greenhouse emissions.  As with the recent national shift on gay marriage, feelings on climate change will eventually move more decisively — we hope in time to spare the world unnecessary expense and suffering.

And the United States is reaching a put-up-or-shut-up moment.  As Congress dithered, Mr. Obama filled the policy void with executive actions designed to cut greenhouse emissions under authorities Congress entrusted to the Environmental Protection Agency decades ago in the Clean Air Act.

[U]nderstandable frustrations notwithstanding, the shape of the climate debate now and through the 2016 election is important.  In the coming days we aim to contribute to that debate with a brief series of editorials.  We will review the need to act; defend the EPA’s efforts but explain why they are not ideal; highlight several strategies that would work better; and show why it makes sense for the United States to take steps even though other nations have yet to do enough on climate change.

Action of some kind, at some point, is inevitable.  Our proposition is that it should come sooner rather than later and be smart rather than clumsy.

A Climate for Change:  The Country’s Sinking Climate Debate - Washington Post Editorial

No comments:

Post a Comment