Though not quite a scene out of a disaster movie, the chaotic weather patterns that have graced planet Earth over the past weeks — record snowfall in California, blizzards in the Midwest and hurricane-strength winds in Northern Europe — were not quite normal. Coupled with the hurricanes that pummeled Florida last year, it is becoming harder to ignore that weather patterns residents of particular regions have gotten used to over centuries are now changing, many for the worse. But while it is becoming more and more apparent to the average citizen, let alone scientists, the U.S. government is closing its eyes and telling citizens everything is normal.
While the rest of the world appears aware of changes in our planet’s climate and the devastating problems to certain regions, the United States is still not ready to accept this as fact. This practice is an ongoing trend and has been actively pursued by the Bush administration for numerous years now. In June 2003, for example, members of the administration heavily edited a report written by the Environmental Protection Agency on the general state of the environment. The report clearly identified global warming as a problem; yet, after the officials were done “correcting” the report, key passages such as lines that read “climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment” had been deleted entirely, rendering the report useless.
The U.S. government stubbornly claims that not only is global warming — which has been scientifically documented — nonexistent, but that any corrective measures to avert such a phenomenon would harm the U.S. economy. Instead the administration heralds their “clear skies” initiative while giving industry and other lobbies more leeway in emission regulations than they have had in years. To make matters worse, in an effort to silence the EPA, every key person who could voice criticism has been replaced with a former representative of the very industry they are now supposed to oversee. Such individuals are hardly going to speak up if their colleagues abuse the system.
Other countries, such as virtually all members of the European Union, have implemented technology standards that limit the emission of greenhouse gases. They reason that even if this should not work, it will create new technologies as industries come up with new methods to produce their products more efficiently.
Time will tell if global warming will indeed create the chaos many scientists claim it will. But by then it is likely going to be too late.