BBC News reported earlier this week that people around the world would make sacrifices if they thought it would help the environment despite resistance to change from politicians and government bureaucracies. In a poll conducted by Globescan, over 22,000 people across the world were asked several questions ranging from support for higher energy taxes to making personal sacrifices.
1. There is strong support for higher energy taxes if these taxes go towards development of cleaner new technologies.
2. Responses in both China and the U.S. (the two most polluting countries) overwhelmingly support cleaner, greener policies.
3. A majority of those polled feel that energy prices on the worst polluting energies (coal and oil) will need to rise significantly before these sources will fall from favor by both individuals and industry.
4. An overwhelming majority worldwide report that lifestyle changes are necessary to reduce the amount of climate-changing gases.
It’s time for a change… According to Doug Miller, president of Globescan, “The principal message for political leaders is that they are leaving a significant amount on the table by not asking their citizens to play more of a role [in combating climate change].” So, why aren’t politicians paying more attention – especially in the US where people are constantly polled and where politicians often respond quickly to polling information?One reason may be that increasing taxes has become a political “third rail” in late-20th /early-21st Century, and so has regulation; we are still dealing with the mess caused by 1990’s de-regulation of utilities in US. Another is that stricter environmental policies is bad for business (remember Bush’s reaction to Kyoto?).
Most important, however, the poll shows that people recognize the consequences of their actions at the individual level. So why wait for the politicians? If the people lead, the leaders will follow.
Click here to get the full results from the poll.
From UCLA’s Sustainable Resource Center Director comes news of an important conference for water and environmental reform. Scheduled for Wednesday, November 14 and Thursday, November 15 at L.A.’s downtown Sheraton Hotel, the conference (dubbed From Sizzle to Substance) will examine the crucial connection between water resources and climate change. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos
Greenland, a misnomer for an island covered in ice, once saw a time when its climate sustained vegetation and forests. A cooling period called the Little Ice Age, which occurred between the 14th and 19th centuries, made Greenland dependant on foreign resources for produce. But according to a recent article in the New York Times, warmer temperatures caused by global warming are creating a climate that can once again sustain plant life.
In fact, this island’s once craggy hills and mountains are sprouting vegetation and warm-water loving cod are making their way to its southern shores. For those debating the validity of global warming, Greenland provides a rare glimpse at the speed with which the climate is changing.
On this island, an increase in temperature of a degree or two becomes a catalyst, changing centuries-old routines and livelihoods. As the Greenland ice sheet thaws due to longer summers and shorter winters, families who once relied on Iceland for vegetables are beginning to grow their own on experimental farms. Trees once thought dormant are showing signs of new growth. The Greenlanders very way of life is changing. And rapidly.
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Author Bjorn Lomborg’s latest project proves to be as controversial as his former offerings. His new book, Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming, takes on climate change, which in his opinion is a myth perpetrated by environmentalists with their own agendas and perpetuated by the wrongly informed, overly emotional populace. He denounces the predicted effects of global warming, labeling them “vastly exaggerated and emotional claims that are simply not founded in data”.
For example, he states that the experts’ predictions that Greenland’s melting ice threatens a catastrophic sea-level rise, is, in his opinion, grandiose hype.
Lomborg’s in-your-face manner may not be the bedside suave we prefer when being jolted by alternate point of view. However, there may be some validity beneath his bluster. What I would like to see out of this controversy isn’t a town-hall debate between both factions on the topic of, is global warming fact or fiction?
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Is there anyway to stop the Emerald Ash Borer from whipping out the Ash Trees in North America?
The emerald ash borer already has infested trees in more than 1,200 cities and townships in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, said Philip Bell, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regional manager for the beetle.
The USDA has imposed a quarantine in states with the beetle that prevents host materials such as firewood, bark and wood chips from crossing state lines. The Wisconsin DNR adopted an emergency rule last year that forces campers at state parks to use firewood obtained in Wisconsin.
Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, said he’s ”sickened” by the thought of losing Wisconsin’s ash trees, but doubts the state can stop the beetle. The USDA has imposed a quarantine in states with the beetle that prevents host materials such as firewood, bark and wood chips from crossing state lines. The Wisconsin DNR adopted an emergency rule last year that forces campers at state parks to use firewood obtained in Wisconsin. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos