Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Ever wondered why so many climate critiques of US policy emphasise that “the world” is moving to embrace climate measures, and America should keep up? As an Australian, an outsider, I have a theory. I believe the reason is the national desire to be liked and accepted by the global community is America’s greatest weakness – and the rest of the world knows it.
Consider this piece by Rolling Stone;
Why Republicans Still Reject the Science of Global Warming
Only one major political party in the world denies climate change, and it’s in charge of the most important political body in the world
One day in 2009, Henry Waxman, the Democratic congressman representing Santa Monica and Malibu, paid a visit to one of his Republican counterparts, a ruddy-faced Texan named Joe Barton. After Democrats had won back the House of Representatives the previous year, Waxman staged an intraparty coup and seized the chairman’s gavel of the Energy and Commerce committee, which oversees most legislation on the environment. He vowed to address what he saw as the gravest threat facing the planet: climate change. As an opening gesture, Waxman approached Barton, the committee’s top Republican, about finding a way to work together on the new legislation.
With a catastrophic season of wildfires, megafloods and major hurricanes, the climate-change siege is fully upon us Barton, a guy who once called Al Gore “totally wrong” about global warming and advised people to “get shade” to adapt to rising temperatures, was incredulous. Waxman recalls Barton asking why he should work on a solution for a problem he didn’t believe existed. Waxman pressed on, but Barton wouldn’t budge. “It would be like me working with you to try to eliminate U.S. support for Israel,” the Texan finally said.
The comment stopped Waxman cold. Aid to Israel is, of course, an article of faith in both parties. You commit political seppuku to suggest otherwise.
The good news is this: Practically every nation on Earth grasps the severity of the problem. In Paris last year, 195 countries, including the biggest emitters on the planet – the United States, China and India – came together and offered real, substantive plans to curb their emissions of greenhouse gases. Long before Paris, the renewable-energy revolution was underway – Germany can now power up to 87 percent of the country using renewable sources, and in some areas of Australia wind power meets 100 percent of demand for electricity. In September, Chinese president Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama announced that their countries would ratify the Paris Agreement. The Chinese leader’s public comments at the event – “Our response to climate change bears on the future of our people and the well-being of mankind” – would’ve been unthinkable a decade ago.
In fact, about the only place left on Earth where lawmakers openly and avidly deny the science of climate change is the U.S. Congress. More to the point, says Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii and a leader on climate policy, “There is only one major political party in the world that denies the existence of climate change. And it happens to be in charge of the most important political body in the world.”
Why would even friends and allies of America pick on this weakness? There is no conspiracy. In the bully school yard of global politics, there doesn’t have to be a reason to pick on a weakness. That kid who is a little fat, or wants to be friends with people who reject him or her, or who wears clothes which are a little too nice – they’ll get picked on, just because people can.
Nobody wants to feel second best. Deep in their hearts, everyone in the world knows that America achieved greatness through hard work, commitment to fair laws, and through the wisdom of the constitution written by the founding fathers, which set important limits to government power. But politicians who spend their time resenting those who do better don’t see it that way. To admit that another country might have a better government, a better way of living, is to admit their own gross failings.
Lacking the energy or desire to build themselves up, instead they try to find ways to tear others down, to bring the great down to the level of their own miserable ineptitude.
The green obsession, Washington corruption, desire for international acceptance – all these are simply convenient levers, for extorting a little cash, for smearing America with a little of the mud and filth, which those who wallow in such excrement call home.
It doesn’t even matter that if America fell, most of the world would be worse off. What matters is that if America falls, the spiteful politicians who resent America wouldn’t have to be constantly reminded of America’s greatness. They wouldn’t have to face the unrest of their own people, the constant demands for a better life, because there would be no better life to aspire to. “See, that America you once thought was so great? You are better off accepting what you have. The greatness you thought you saw was just a mirage”.