Sunday, February 10, 2008

How do Other Countries Handle their "Hot Politics?"

After watching the short PBS program entitled "Hot Politics," I felt like the program kept tearing me down different paths as to which set of politicians have the more environmental beliefs with respect to climate change. At one point I felt like Clinton had the worse presidency with respect to the environment, and then next I felt that George W. did. In the end, I was excited that the corporations along with the environmental organizations came together in support of environmental regulations on energy. However, shortly after I realized that these groups have different motivating factors. The factor for the environmental groups, obviously, is for the support and preservation of the environment, and for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emission. On the other hand, the energy corporations seek for comprehensive regulations by the federal government because they do not want to be found at a economic advantage compared to a state that does not have to follow the same regulations.

Likewise, listening to both administrations change their views on the topic of climate change is very interesting. Obviously, I was disappointed to say the least when the climate took a back seat to other issues. However, I tried to place myself in the position that these politicians must have been in, and I found it difficult to make a decision one way or the other. As all of us students are in an energy class and have a passion for energy in some form, it is all too easy to simply condemn the politicians for their disregard of the environment. After a second glance, it is difficult to prioritize one realm over another. Who's to say that the environment is more important than the economy, and who can say otherwise.

The last question, and the question I have made the title of this entry is what do other governments and countries do about the same issue. I realize that the United States is looked to as a leader in many political aspects, and as I watched our presidents torn various ways and recant statements about the environment based on other political interests, I am interested to find out how citizens in other countries feel that their governments handle issue related to global climate change and the environment. Do many countries that do not have the money or influence simply ignore these same pressing regulations, or do they share passion like the environmental organizations in the United States? Do all of the presidents in the other countries involved in the Kyoto agreement have competing interests that tug at their sleeves, or is the United States a unique case study in this aspect? Is the political clout and are the lobbyists as strong in other countries as they are in the United States? Essentially, because of the history and size of the United States, are our decisions tougher than other countries? As a supporter of the environment, it was disheartening to see the disregard of the environment by various administrations, but maybe we should try to eliminate some of the distractions in our political system and reformat our system so that the political interests with all the money are not the ones that always emerge victorious.

No comments: