Monday, October 08, 2007

Is Preserving the American Lifestyle while Fighting Global Warming Incompatible?

Energy efficiency expert Joe Romm from the Center for American Progress says in a recent post on Gristmill blog that “The deniers and delayers want people to believe that environmentalists are hyping climate change to achieve a hidden agenda of government limits on their consumption,” He also points out that he doesn’t "know any major environmentalist or environmental group that has promoted such a message.” Nevertheless, there are environmentalists (perhaps not considered major environmentalists by Romm) who do have that message and are keeping the debate alive within the environmental community. The position for need to reduce consumption is well articulated by Glenn Barry in a post on his Climate Change blog on his website Climate Ark. Barry states that “The crazily consumptive, super size, sexily scintillating, over the top American lifestyle is precisely the reason global climate is changing and the Earth's ecosystems collapsing.” He goes on to say that “Climate policy can only be effective if based upon ecological truths. And one such truth is that going green DOES mean sacrificing the American lifestyle. And it is deeply wasteful of time and resources necessary to solve global ecological crises to suggest otherwise.”

If we are going to successfully fight global warming we better hope that Barry is wrong. It his highly unlikely that people in large enough numbers will give up the American lifestyle. If we can’t work around that problem then we probably will not solve the problem of climate change.

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