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Politics of global warming
The politics of global warming have involved policy decisions, legislation, and political debate over the science of and response to global warming. The political struggle over global warming has involved various governmental bodies, special-interest groups, and scientific organizations.
Additional recommended knowledge
Political alignment and global warming
In most English-speaking countries, support for action to mitigate global warming, such as ratification and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol is strong on the political left.
In some countries the political right are fighting on a platform of taking tough action against global warming, while in others the political right either dispute the scientific consensus on global warming or oppose action to mitigate global warming, instead favoring adaption. All European countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and all have supported strong reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The United States, although a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, has neither ratified nor withdrawn from the protocol — though their one-time representative, Condoleezza Rice, remarked that the Protocol was "unacceptable" at the time it was presented to her. The protocol is non-binding over the United States unless ratified. The current President, George W. Bush, has indicated that he does not intend to submit the treaty for ratification, not because he does not support the general idea, but because of the strain he believes the treaty would put on the economy; he emphasizes the uncertainties he asserts are present in the climate change issue.
In October 2003, the Pentagon published a report titled An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security by Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall. The authors conclude by stating that "this report suggests that, because of the potentially dire consequences, the risk of abrupt climate change, although uncertain and quite possibly small, should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a U.S. national security concern."
In June 2005, US State Department papers showed the administration thanking Exxon executives for the company's "active involvement" in helping to determine climate change policy, including the U.S. stance on Kyoto. Input from the business lobby group Global Climate Coalition was also a factor. 
From 1989 to 2005, oil and gas industries gave $179.5 million to U.S. federal candidates and parties.  In October 2003 and again in June 2005, the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act failed a vote in the US Senate.. In the 2005 vote, Republicans opposed the Bill 49-6, while Democrats supported it 37-10. .
In January 2007, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would form a United States Congress subcommittee to examine global warming. The US government announced that it was withdrawing funding from the lobby groups it had been supporting that aimed to discount the evidence for global warming.
Sen. Joe Lieberman said, "I'm hot to get something done. It's hard not to conclude that the politics of global warming has changed and a new consensus for action is emerging and it is a bipartisan consensus." 
See also Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate.
The Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2007 was introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) on January 15, 2007. The measure would provide funding for R&D on geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, set emissions standards for new vehicles and a renewable fuels requirement for gasoline beginning in 2016, establish energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards beginning in 2008 and low-carbon electric generation standards beginning in 2016 for electric utilities, and require periodic evaluations by the National Academy of Sciences to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.
Political pressure on scientists
US officials, such as Philip Cooney, have repeatedly edited scientific reports from US government scientists,  many of whom, such as Thomas Knutson, have been ordered to refrain from discussing climate change and related topics.
Climate scientist James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, claimed in a widely cited New York Times article  in 2006 that his superiors at the agency were trying to "censor" information "going out to the public." NASA denied this, saying that it was merely requiring that scientists make a distinction between personal, and official government, views in interviews conducted as part of work done at the agency. Several scientists working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have made similar complaints; once again, government officials said they were enforcing long-standing policies requiring government scientists to clearly identify personal opinions as such when participating in public interviews and forums.
The BBC's long-running current affairs series Panorama recently investigated the issue, and was told that "scientific reports about global warming have been systematically changed and suppressed."
Mike Hulme, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, wrote how increasing use of pejorative terms like "catastrophic," "chaotic" and "irreversible," had altered the public discourse around climate change: "This discourse is now characterised by phrases such as 'climate change is worse than we thought', that we are approaching 'irreversible tipping in the Earth's climate', and that we are 'at the point of no return'. I have found myself increasingly chastised by climate change campaigners when my public statements and lectures on climate change have not satisfied their thirst for environmental drama and exaggerated rhetoric."
According to an Associated Press release on January 30, 2007,
Attempts to suppress scientific information on global warming and other issues have been described by Chris Mooney as constituting a Republican War on Science.
"High-quality science" was "struggling to get out," as the Bush administration pressured scientists to tailor their writings on global warming to fit the Bush administration's skepticism, in some cases at the behest of an ex-oil industry lobbyist. "Nearly half of all respondents perceived or personally experienced pressure to eliminate the words 'climate change,' 'global warming' or other similar terms from a variety of communications."
Similarly, according to the testimony of senior officers of the Government Accountability Project, the White House attempted to bury the report "National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variablity and Change," produced by U.S. scientists pursuant to U.S. law. Some U.S. scientists resigned their jobs rather than give in to White House pressure to underreport global warming.
Allegations of U.S. government attempts to mislead the public
The United States government has implemented an industry-formulated disinformation campaign designed to actively mislead the American public on global warming and to forestall limits on "climate polluters," according to a report in Rolling Stone magazine which reviews hundreds of internal government documents and former government officials.."'They've got a political clientele that does not want to be regulated,' says Rick Piltz, a former Bush climate official who blew the whistle on White House censorship of global-warming documents in 2005. 'Any honest discussion of the science would stimulate public pressure for a stronger policy. They're not stupid.'
"Bush's do-nothing policy on global warming began almost as soon as he took office. By pursuing a carefully orchestrated policy of delay, the White House has blocked even the most modest reforms and replaced them with token investments in futuristic solutions like hydrogen cars. 'It's a charade,' says Jeremy Symons, who represented the EPA on Cheney's energy task force, the industry-studded group that met in secret to craft the administration's energy policy. 'They have a single-minded determination to do nothing -- while making it look like they are doing something.' . . .
"The CEQ became Cheney's shadow EPA, with industry calling the shots. To head up the council, Cheney installed James Connaughton, a former lobbyist for industrial polluters, who once worked to help General Electric and ARCO skirt responsibility for their Superfund waste sites. "two weeks after Bush took office - ExxonMobil's top lobbyist, Randy Randol, demanded a housecleaning of the scientists in charge of studying global warming. . . .Exxon's wish was the CEQ's command. 
Also, the White House removed key portions of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report given to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about the dangers to human health of global warming. According to one CDC official familiar with both the CDC version and the version given to the Senate, the version given to the Senate was "eviscerated." The White House prevented the Senate and thus the public from receiving key CDC estimates in the report about diseases likely to flourish in a warmer climate, increased injuries and deaths from severe weather such as hurricanes, more respiratory problems from drought-driven air pollution, an increase in waterborne diseases including cholera, increases in vector-borne diseases including malaria and hantavirus, mental health problems such as depression and post-traumatic stress, and how many people might be adversely affected because of increased warming.
Governmental challenges and the Lobbyist
The average midsize vehicle in the United State emits an average of 29 pounds of carbon emissions per day. This is based on an average of 3 to 4 gallons of fuel consumed per day, per automobile. In the United States there are approximately 133 million automobiles on the road per day. The average total automobile emission is 3.8 billion pounds per day in the U.S.
The average semi truck in the United States emits an average of 1435 pounds of carbon emissions per day. This is based on an average of 35 gallons of fuel used per day.
In the United States there are approximately 15 million semi’s on the road per day. The average total semi emissions are 21.5 billion pounds per day in the U.S.
There is an expected 15% growth rate per year in the trucking industry; if this continued growth goes unchecked the U.S. could be facing over 60 billion pounds of pollution from the trucking industry alone in the next few years.
Even a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from the automotive industry will result in a failed effort to reduce carbon emissions that affect our climate if the trucking industry continues to pollute at such an enormous rate.
The trucking industry has done a great job at keeping this information from the general public. Even the Bush administration has steered clear of this topic due to pressures from the trucking union.
Global warming litigation
Several lawsuits have been filed over global warming. For example, Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency before the Supreme Court of the United States forced the US government to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. A similar approach was taken by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer who filed a lawsuit California v. General Motors Corp. to force car manufacturers to reduce vehicles' emissions of carbon dioxide. A third case, Comer v. Murphy Oil, was filed by Gerald Maples, a trial attorney in Mississippi, in an effort to force fossil fuel and chemical companies to pay for damages caused by global warming.
State and local governments
However, 195 US cities representing more than 50 million Americans - have committed to reducing carbon emissions to 7% below 1990 levels. In 2005, California (the world's sixth largest economy) committed to reducing emissions to 2000 levels by 2010, 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Measures to meet these targets include tighter automotive emissions standards, and requirements for renewable energy as a proportion of electricity production. The Union of Concerned Scientists has calculated that by 2020, drivers would save $26 billion per year if California’s automotive standards were implemented nationally.
On August 31, 2006, the California leaders of both political parties agreed to terms in the California Global Warming Solutions Act. When this legislation goes into effect it will limit the state’s global warming emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and institute a mandatory emissions reporting system to monitor compliance. The legislation will also allow for market mechanisms to provide incentives to businesses to reduce emissions while safeguarding local communities.  The bill was signed into law on September 27, 2006, by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who declared, "We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late... The science is clear. The global warming debate is over."
Gov. Schwarzenegger also announced he would seek to work with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, and various other international efforts to address global warming, independently of the federal government. 
On September 8, 2006, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signed an executive order calling on the state to create initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions to the 2000 level by the year 2020 and to 50 percent below the 2000 level by 2040.
Seven Northeastern US states are involved in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a state level emissions capping and trading program. It is believed that the state-level program will apply pressure on the federal government to support Kyoto Protocol.
Beginning in 2009, carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will be capped by state:
Federal government attempts to undermine state efforts
The US government has worked to undermine state efforts to mitigate global warming. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, with White House approval, personally directed US efforts to urge governors and dozens of members of the House of Representatives to block California’s first-in-the-nation limits on greenhouse gases from cars and trucks, according to e-mails obtained by Congress.
Pope Benedict XVI told up to half a million people, over a hillside near the Adriatic city of Loreto on the day Catholic Church marks its annual Save Creation Day, that world leaders must make courageous decisions to save the planet "before it is too late" .
Asia and Oceania
Positions of the Energy Industries
One of the biggest opponents of action on global warming has been the fossil fuels energy industry, and particularly the oil industry, such as ExxonMobil, which regularly publishes papers minimizing the threat of global warming. In 1998, the company started providing financial support to organizations and individuals who disagreed with the scientific consensus that human activities were contributing to climate change. One of the groups that received funds from the company was the Competitive Enterprise Institute. ExxonMobil also helped create the "Global Climate Science Team" whose members were active climate contrarians. According to a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, between 1998 and 2005, ExxonMobil dispersed roughly $16 million to organizations that were challenging the scientific consensus view.  After heavy criticism from the press and environmental groups in late 2006 and early 2007, ExxonMobil began distancing itself from these organizations. MSNBC Reuters.
In 2005, the oil giant opposed a shareholders' resolution to explain the science behind its denial of global warming. In recent years, other companies have increasingly come to accept the existence and consequences of global warming; for example, the Chairman of BP, John Browne, declared a need for action in 2002. Lord Oxburgh, non-executive chairman of Shell, said in a speech at the 2005 Hay-on-Wye Festival: "We have 45 years, and if we start now, not in 10 or 15 years' time, we have a chance of hitting those targets. But we've got to start now. We have no time to lose."
One sector of the energy industry that has no problem with the greenhouse gas arguments is the nuclear industry. Margret Thatcher was one of the first major political figures to suggest that the nuclear power was a "green" solution. This was largely regarded with derision at the time but it is the ultimate goal of Tony Blair's solution to tomorrow's energy needs and probably explains his enthusiasm for CO2 emission controls.
Indeed as many countries move towards legally binding engagements to Kyoto targets, including fines for failing to achieve them, many governments may find this a convenient excuse for otherwise unpopular expansions of their nuclear programs.
This would be an ironic outcome for many who see highlighting the possible dangers of global warming as protecting the environment.As pointed out on Counter Punch  the nuclear power industry is not slow to present itself as the "green" solution :
only realistic way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels in the next ten years is to bring on-line at least an additional 50 reactors. "Nuclear energy has been the largest single contributor to reduced air pollution in the world over the past 20 years", the NEI's Kyoto global warming book boasts.
Nuclear power produces fewer CO2 emissions than fossil fuel plants; the exact level remains somewhat controversial; Greenpeace assert that nuclear power produces about one third of the CO2 emissions as equivalent fossil fuels energy over the lifetime of an installation. 
Thousands of protesters marched on the international day of action on December 3, 2005, which coincided with the first meeting of the Parties in Montreal. The planned demonstrations were endorsed by the Assembly of Movements of the World Social Forum.
Christian environmental groups are also increasingly active on climate change, such as The Evangelical Climate Initiative.
US Catholic Bishops also have recognized the urgency of addressing global warming in a 2001 statement from the US Congress of Catholic Bishops Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good
In New Zealand, the Climaction Coalition has blockaded the main thoroughfares of Auckland City on two occasions, calling for Free and Frequent Public Transport to reduce the city's dependency on cars. They argue that such a measure would also help reduce global warming if repeated in other cities throughout the world. 
There are a large number of academic contributions specifically to the politics of global warming. The following are a small subset of these works:
Global Warming Celebrities
To help communicate the perils of climate change to the public many celebrities have become involved with green campaigning. They include Charlize Theron, Morgan Freeman, Natalie Portman,Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon Salma Hayek. Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, Alanis Morrissette, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joanne Woodward.Others who have become better known to the public because of their environmental statements include Al Gore, Prince Albert of Monaco
The debate over global warming was raised to a considerably higher profile when former Vice President Al Gore was given an Academy Award for his documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth. Gore has made a considerable number of public appearances to promote the film and the subject-matter within it.
Other major media treatments of the controversy:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Politics_of_global_warming". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|