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How to Fight Climate Change

United States
New York Times
10/08/2010
Allin C. Seward III

Paul Krugman argued that the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass climate change legislation was due to “greed and cowardice,” notwithstanding the scientific and economic arguments. I disagree.

Climate change legislation failed to pass because the American voters did not fully support it. And the U.S. public did not fully support climate change legislation because no one except experts understands the issues: The science is too abstruse, and the economics of climate change is not on the minds of most people today:

People are worried about jobs.

The only way to effectively address climate change is for our leaders to make it an issue of national security: Emphasize the link between consumption of fossil fuels, especially foreign oil, and the rise of international terrorism. Once that link is clearly established, people will be willing to make an effort: The home-front will contribute to fighting against terrorism, which threatens every one of us. People will understand that there is no way to put a value on the lives of any of the nearly 3,000 people who perished in the Sept. 11 attacks, and that any effort is worth making to prevent recurrence of such a tragedy.

The oil lobby has no response to this argument. Weaning the United States from its foreign oil habit will help protect Americans by drying up the funding for terrorists and, at the same time, promoting our climate change goals, since the only way to get off oil is to invest massively in renewable energy and other technologies that don’t rely on fossil fuels.

Once people understand that basic equation, they will support the necessary legislation, and we will be able to enlist our greatest asset and most potent weapon — our economic clout — in a fight to save our lives, our economy and our planet. That effort must be led from the top — by a national energy self-sufficiency and security agency charged with making the U.S. energy self-sufficient by 2030.

“Greed” could then be mobilized to support the effort , and the courage to act that Mr. Krugman seeks will be found.

 

The news content in this section is responsibility of the information agencies and does not necessarily reflect the position of the Government of Mexico on this or other related topics.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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