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Why Climate Change Must be a Political Issue! by City Tech Blogger Lev Gurvits

This question has been bothering me for a while: “Why climate change has to be so perceptible on the political radars, after all – it is a strictly scientific question, and therefore the measures to cope with that kind of phenomena supposed to be purely scientific…”, or at least so I thought…

Before I took a class on” Physics of Natural Disasters”, I was annoyed every time climate change was mentioned by politicians, most of which don’t really care much of the science or the scientific aspect of the global warming issue. What actually caused the irritation, were not the ideas those politicians expressed, but the manner global warming was referred to – as it some kind of belief, or a political predisposition. The course of global warming and climate change, can’t be interpreted as some kind of religion or a cult belief – it is exact, to a high point of certainty, science. The reason so many people still hesitate with whom to entrust with their point of view on that issue, are hundreds of millions dollars are spent on lobbing in favor of fossil fuels industries all over the world, and that happens instead of holding those industries responsible for the phenomena!

After I started looking deeper into climate change and tried to understand the mechanics behind it, I discovered another, not less important aspect of the dynamics behind that issue – the politics. How Lobbying works, is a complicated process and not the topic I would like to put an emphasis on but understand its role in the policy making process and the way it affects the legislators that we entrust as a nation is crucial to each of us. The important point is, that lobbying can be so influential on the politicians and legislators who decide what happens to us as a humanity, that sometimes they can’t even stand behind their decision, as they don’t really have a “choice”. And if someone brave enough will try to “choose right” and oppose the money influence, those may lose a big chunk of their political support entirely, which will make them more likely to lose their political grasp on to the policy making abilities anyway. Therefore, the change has to come from below – each and every one of us has a responsibility as a voter and in order to execute it in a right way. We should choose those representatives who want to fight climate change and make it their priority. After all, in a long run there might be nothing left to fight for anymore.

Back to the question that was bothering me, not only do I feel more educated in these few months into the course, but also equip with better tools of perception regarding the global warming issue. Now I can see past those inaccurate political remarks concerning climate change and concentrate on whether one or the other speakers are in support or oppose to control fossil fuels usage. A beautiful example of both can be noticed in NYTimes article “Judge Blocks Disputed Keystone XL Pipeline in Setback for Trump” where a political move was made by the current President’s administration to reverse the decision made by his predecessor, only to later be blocked by a judicial decision. Keystone XL Pipeline is a long-distance fuel streaming pipe-system, that plans to connect distant geo-political points on the Canada USA maps and aims to economically benefit both countries and of course the company itself. The court decided that “[Presidential] administration failed to follow established rules and procedures for decisions like these” and “it failed to provide a fact-based analysis justifying its actions” – therefore the administration only played a type of a bulling game, in hope there will not be enough strength on the opposing side. In other words, no one in the current administration carefully examined long-lasting environmental effects of that project –whether those of an immediate impact to the natural flora and fauna of the region the pipe passes through, or the fossil emissions increase effects on the climate change. The political card played instead by Mr. Trump was kind of a public shaming attempt claiming that “It was a political decision made by a judge”. But the actual shaming credit is fully deserved by the administration that was only interested in the commercial side of the issue and not in the bigger picture, the well-being of the humankind.

Getting to my point – fossil fuel lobbing will remain an obstacle to climate change as long as that industry remains profitable. In order to overcome that enormous pressure on politicians, which by the way are usually sure that they do the right thing after someone had convinced them so, we as a mass have to display our explicit dissatisfaction. There are many ways to do so, starting by educating ourselves and people in our immediate surrounding, through campaigning in a ways of writing here in the ClimateYou Blog, joining demonstrations which condemn misuse of the political power, and finally lobbying on a higher levels of influence – each one and their highest level of reach. Additionally,  I as a representative of the technology industry think that we have to help with transportation and other fossil emitting industries become independent of carbon-based fuels, and preferably use only clean and renewable energy. That way the entire industry (hundreds of millions of jobs) would not be put out of the business, but only a small sector of the fuel mining business. Additionally, those who have an extensive experience with drilling, may finally apply their expertise in the name of science and help to explore the bowels of the earth.

 

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  1. Climate Change Shouldn’t Be Political Issue.

    Climate Change is confirmed to be real and active by The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and many other science institutions. We deeply rely on these organizations for their assessment of the world’s climate. Unfortunately, there are politicians who probably don’t believe climate change is real or, they are blindly pursuing their self-interest. Their self interest is based on how long they can stay in power, their relationship with the corporate institutions, and how they can benefit financially from the policy that they support. In the mean time, the current presidential administration has produced a report that says climate change is an increasing threat to the world if humans don’t take action to reduce their green house gas emissions. Ironically when the president is confronted with reporters asking him about the economic impact of climate change with respect to the report, the president said, “I don’t believe it”. Furthermore, some other politicians state that there are other scientists who disagree that human activities are one of the causes of climate change. Some politicians keep denying climate change because they are not directly impact by the effect of it, but because they don’t want to offend their campaign donors. Another example of this situation is the NRA opposition to gun control.
    The fossil industry remains one of the powerful donors to politicians. Meanwhile, these industries are great contributors to green house gas emissions while standing up against policies that could lead to the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2). As one says, when a favor is done, it is expected to be returned. This situation is the main reason from 2009 to 2016 the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has banned contributions from political action committees representing the fossil fuel industry and the federal lobbyists. Although the ban was lifted in 2016, last year the ban gained full support of the DNC. According to OpenSercret.org, from 2017 to 2018, the fossil fuel industry has donated over 40 million dollars to politicians who are overwhelmingly Republican and Conservative Groups. According to theses reports, I’m not surprised at all when some politicians claim that climate change is a myth, or they don’t believe it at all. As a result, as long as politicians depend on fossil fuel industry donations, the policies that will help reduce green house gas emission will never be able to be implemented.
    The good news is that hope is not lost. A lot of lawmakers who are not protecting the environment or not working in any way towards the good of the population and favoring corporations, are losing their representative seats. These politicians are losing their seats to young, energized men and women who share the pain of the vast majority of the people. These new politicians believe that new policies need to be implemented in order to fight climate change, and they realize corporate donors are not part of this solution. As an example, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who won a seat in the U.S. Representative-elect for New York’s 14th congressional district on November 6, 2018 is considered to be one of the most prominent new politicians that will help in the fight of climate change. As she mentioned in a tweet recently,”People are going to die if we don’t start addressing climate change ASAP. It’s not enough to think it’s “important.” We must make it urgent. That’s why we need a Select Committee on a Green New Deal; why fossil fuel-funded officials shouldn’t be writing climate change policy”(https://thehill.com/homenews/house/418040-ocasio-cortez-on-climate-change-report-people-will-die-if-we-dont-act-now). Beside politicians, we as a nation have a responsibility to protect the environment in as many ways as possible. Learning about the environment, we will also learn to know which politician is willing to fight climate change and figure out how to make major gains in the fight against climate change, educate our children about climate change, so they don’t repeat our mistakes. That’s how we can use our influence to help succeed against climate change. Unfortunately, making climate change a political issue means we might end up waiting longer for action, and that will bring us closer and closer to the danger of losing everything.

    REFERENCES
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/06/13/democratic-national-committee-bans-fossil-fuel-industry-contributions/697731002/

    https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=E01

    https://thehill.com/homenews/house/418040-ocasio-cortez-on-climate-change-report-people-will-die-if-we-dont-act-now

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