Presidents’ Stand on Environmental Issues Essay
Presidents’ Stand on Environmental Issues
The environmental issue has dominated most of the United States presidential candidate debates and is definitely a major concern for everyone. The major concerns that need a faster response action are the greenhouse gases that are increasingly causing global warming. Global warming refers to increased temperatures of the earth’s atmosphere with progress in time. Research has shown that the increased amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are due to the human activities especially industrialization that is increasingly releasing carbon monoxide fumes in the atmosphere.
The results of the greenhouse effects are causing an increase in atmospheric temperature and disrupted climatic conditions world wide. Being a serious problem worldwide, the issue has been on the U. S presidential campaign platforms and policy making by the presidents of the United States, both former and current president. The campaigns to reduce global warming have seen calls for investment in green issues and encouraging use of bio-fuel by former presidential candidates like Al Gore (also a former Vice president under Clinton administration) who is considered to be a staunch environmentalist working against global warming.
Former presidents `The issues about global warming date back to industrialization as in it’s the time that saw increased use of fossil fuel though its effects were to be noticed after some time. Many of the United States presidents have been under criticism on the type of policies they applied for environmental conservation issues during their administration. The Regan – Bush era was critical in addressing the global warming debate with Al Gore, the then Senator and Environmental conservation lobbyist criticized the policies of Bush administration (Inc Mead Data Central 1998).
Clinton is considered the only president who understood that green pays as he supported green investment and fought against global warming. President Clinton’s Stance on Environment President Bill Clinton faced so much criticism on environmental issues since he relied so much on his Vice president who was an environmentalist. Most of the Democrat supporters even threatened to ditch Clinton and Support Richard A. Gephardt who was a House Minority.
This move seems to be a tricky one since Al Gore was an environmentalist and conservative that most people admired and supported and he was one of the campaign planks used in the presidential campaigns. President Bill Clinton did not gain popularity because of the environmental record but on his attacks on the congress (Peterson 2004). The president managed to stop extravagant spending on the Environmental Protection Agency plus he managed to stop the most egregious efforts to adjust regulations were taking care of the species in danger of extinction and water quality standards (Inc Mead Data Central 1998).
The Clinton administration came under criticism because of two critical concerns; 1. The Local air quality control standards 2. The global warming, greenhouse emissions Local air quality control: The quality control of air was not addressed and the Clinton administration did not meet the tough requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) while at the same time rejected republican proposals for adjusting some of the EPA requirements to reduce standards for certain areas. The Greenhouse effect: Clinton administration cannot claim to have taken a centrism position.
During President Bush (Bush senior) governance, Al Gore (Clinton’s Vice President) was a senator and a tough environmentalist, he criticized Bush’s and on global warming and even advocated for tough laws by the Global standards. Al Gore wanted a strong American leadership and proposed a Marshall plan for funding other regime’s program to decrease greenhouse effects (Peterson 2004). Though the government signed the deal, coming in of Clinton administration failed to commit to the plan of reducing US own greenhouse gas emissions, rather the Clinton Administration went as far as stating that other governments’ objectives were too ambitious.
Most of the people are less concerned about the air pollution in urban areas and greenhouse fumes. All what people seem to care about is the federal laws governing government lands. The bodies taking care of such property include bureau of land Management (BLM), United States Forest service and bureau of Reclamation among others. These agencies have faced criticism since Regan to Bush’s administration. Large state owned farms have been used by private developers to ranch their animals. Private landowners had considerably increased their fees for land, while federal administration had not, ensuing in federal subvention to few individuals.
Clinton proposed an increase in the fees of the ranching to federal owned land to raise market level, a move that was not to be welcomed by the congress and he gave up before more issues arose. Clinton’s policy on logging federal lands was not a smart one and received so much disapproval. The Clinton administration was selling trees from federal lands to private companies at smaller fraction, lower than that of the market value. This is actually an abuse of office by those in charge, at to add insults to the injury, the government under the Name U.
S Forest Services spent billions of Tax payer’s money constructing roads to enable logger’s access the trees with ease. The forest service being part of the Agriculture department, it does not allocate public money to land reclamation instead, they encourage logging. Initially Clinton’s policy on logging in federal lands an aggressive one as he made calls to manage forest department scientifically, he called a timber summit that approved the idea of ecosystem management. He even hired a wildlife biologist to execute the new policy.
Sadly, the policy was not supported by the white house and it therefore did not work. It’s estimated that the federal government lost close to $ 1 billion selling its own forest resources between 1992 and 1994. In 1995, President Bill Clinton signed a bill (a bill proposed by Charles Taylor) that supported selling of logs and dead trees, a deal he could have vetoed. The sell included any trees that were considered to die soon! , that meant that if there was one dead tree in the forest, a number of fine trees would be cut as well since it would not be of used to sell one tree.
This is what Al Gore termed as the Worst mistake made by Bill Clinton as a president. Clinton’s environmental record has never been a good one, Al Gore in his renown book “Earth in the Balance” he demanded that all political leaders had to take a stand on their view of environmental conservation issues. The Clinton stance on environment did not show what representing democracy actually was. Bush’s Policy on Environment Global warming is the major feature that is addressed when talking about environmental conservation since it affects the whole world and needs a joint solution.
Climate scientist have found out that it’s usually initiated by the green house effect, a phenomenon in which some of the gases in the atmosphere, trap and reflect back the heat on the surface of the earth. President Bush came in to office in 2001 to and declined to support the Kyoto Protocol (Goodell 2007). This was a United Nations Convention changes to climate policies that intended to cut down the amount of greenhouse fumes that were being released in to the environment. The United Nations (UN) recognizes carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide as the major greenhouse gases that are released in to the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burnt.
President Bush argued that there was no strong evidence to show that human activities were the major cause of global warming. Bush said that the uncertainty of scientists concerning the extent to which man’s actions were the problems in the treaty and did not agree on the impact the treaty would have on the United States economy as well as industrialization. President Bush also argued that since other big nations like India and China had not agreed, then he was not going to, either.
The Bush government agreed that the climate changes that had been observed in the previous years were greatly due to human activities in their Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issue, though it was affirmed that that could not rule out the fact that the environmental changes could be due natural environmental variation. The fact that climate scientist have proved that global warming was a direct consequence of human activities over years could not be the reason as to why there was need to reduce greenhouse effect, according to president Bush.
He reaffirmed his stand on the Kyoto protocol despite the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) issue that accepted the United Nations claims. President Bush termed the EPA as bureaucratic measure by his critics. President Bush has been accused of downplaying the acknowledgment that relate human activities and global warming, and at one time it was alleged that Philip Cooney, an official from the white House and former oil industry advocate had adjusted explanations of environmental changes investigation that had already been endorsed by government scientists, an allegation that the white house denied.
Papers from the State department showed that Bush administration had thanked Exxon managerial for their active role and the assistance they gave to help decide climate change policy, especially the United States’ position on the Kyoto Protocol. The global climate coalition lobby was also a feature in the downplay of Kyoto by the government. Throughout his presidency, President Bush maintained a controversial stand on the environmental issues and has kept on questioning the consensus of climate scientists. This has lead to criticism of Bush administration.
One significant was James Hansen, in 2004; he was the director of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA). He came out openly and insensitively and criticized the government for misleading the general; public by suppressing scientific proof of the dangers of the greenhouse fumes (Goodell 2007). He claimed the Bush administration only accepted information that fit predetermined conclusions and unbendable stance they had taken so as to make the dangers of global warming appear lesser than they actually are. This is a direct opposition to elemental precept of science.
President Bush insists that he understand the effects of global warming and maintains that the debate is whether it’s man-made of from a natural cause. And in spite of the cause, his administration would work hard to solve the problem of dependence on foreign oil for economic and national security grounds (Goodell 2007). This was to reaffirm citizens that the government was encouraging use of bio-fuel as an alternative to fossil fuels that were linked to global warming. The Bush administration has made a gradual shift accepting that the greenhouse effect was a serious problem and needed argent solution.
The government encourages the use of technological breakthrough to help Americans live oil independent lives that promoted environment conservation hence reducing global climate disruptions. Under President Bush, the U. S has signed the Asia Pacific Partnership that is calling for a clean development and Climate, an agreement that allows participating countries to set objectives unconditionally for cutting down emission of gases that are presumed to be causing the greenhouse effect. Some of the republicans have proposed the adoption of some of the recommendations made in the Kyoto Protocol in this agreement.
President Bush has also pushed for 2004 Methane to Markets proposal through lobbying it to the congress. It is estimated that Methane would reduce a great deal of greenhouse gas released to the atmosphere, though some critics dispute Bush‘s Methane Proposal as more intoxicating contributor to greenhouse effect than the carbon dioxide emissions in the Kyoto protocol (Philander 2008). They claim that the Methane treaty would just reduce as much as what was proposed in the Kyoto protocol and that this Methane plan by Bush was not any better.
The future Presidents The US government has to reformulate its policies on the conservation of environment at large and more so to reduce greenhouse effect. One of the changes would include investing in technology that supports green issues. There is very little that can be achieved in attempting to reduce the time for changing the global warming since, development of technology takes several years. Future leaders therefore need to reduce fossil oil usage by cutting down energy demands.
The President Elect: Barrack Obama The president elect Barrack Obama seems to draw much of his policies from former president Bill Clinton, as during the campaigns, Clinton gave his insights and he said that climate change needed to be taken as the major concern of the next administration. The outgoing president has not accomplished most of the environmental issues that have been pending under debates, however there is hope that the next President would do batter. In the 2008 United States presidential campaigns, both candidates seemed to understand the need to regulate the release of greenhouse gases to the environment.
Barrack Obama is expected to improve o the Bush’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases by 50% in 40 years to target an 80% cut by the year 2050. This is the target even advocated for by climate scientist though they seem not to agree on the time limit (Urevick 2007). The world wealthiest nations have all joined campaigns to cut down the amount of fumes they release to the environment while the emerging economic powers like China and India have declined to support the move. President Elect, Obama has proposed a ‘good’ energy policy that is very clear i. e.
Americans need to cut dependence on fossil fuel from the Middle East and that the U. S also has to cut down greenhouse gas release to the environment (Licher & Rothman1999). With the two objectives in mind, the future presidents can develop reasonable policies that can greatly reduce greenhouse effect as well invest in bio-fuel to cut down dependence on fossil fuel. Obama has proposed residential tax credits to encourage energy conservation; this is a great deal since even large firms have realized the benefits (cost savings) that come with saving energy
The current ethanol policy is very unreliable plan to be included in the energy policy as it’s not sustainable; the US would be better positioned by importing sug3er based ethanol from Latin America. President elect Obama has proposed to invest about $ 150 billion in clean energy in the subsequent ten years, as this would promote alternative energy sources and encourage change of the fuel being used to the one that that is lower in carbon (bio-fuel) (Urevick 2007). Obama is also campaigning against offshore drilling plans that were being referred to as energy panacea by the republican candidate John McCain.
Presidential elect Obama has plans to establish a leading role in world in terms of policies formulation and energy conservation efficiency. He intends to hold discussions with like minded nations such as the group of eight (G-8 i. e. France, Italy, Japan, Britain, Germany, Russia and the U. S) and G8 plus 5 to jumpstart the use of energy efficient standardized appliances (Philander 2008). Obama encourages the use of hybrid vehicles. Having an excellent energy policy translates to a good environmental policy since the two issues go hand in hand and that climate change resulting from poor energy policy is the major global environmental risk.
Due to this Mr. Obama has intensions of cutting down current carbon gas emissions by a rate of eighty percent by the year 2050. Generally the future look bright for the Americans and the whole world at large as President elect has promised to cut up the current Bush environmental policies and establish a key climate change bill. This would help to take back the U. S to an international fold. Conclusion Conservation of environment has a serious impact on the whole world if left unmanaged and most those likely to suffer are innocent populations who have no idea of the global warming issues.
Environmental policies that are set by politicians and especially the presidents of America have to be multi-front operation, and include ethical education on the need to protect the environment. The governments should invest in systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as support individuals to make these changes. The efforts need to go beyond borders hence demanding global cooperation since the effects of the environmental mismanagement bring universal crisis.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 8 November 2016
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