A Democrat’s Mission: Save The World
Climate change’s existence has been debated multiple times between the Republicans and Democrats. Over the years of debate, a Gallup poll has shown that 76% of the Democrat majority believes in the existence of climate change, while 59% of the Republican majority does not (Dunlap, Riley). While the Republicans do not believe in climatic changes, I would agree with the Democratic view due to their reasoning and ideas of counter-measurements. As a result, I believe that we should support the actions that the Democrats wish to make in order from them to achieve their goals. A couple of examples of their actions towards climate change are Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Hydrogen Highways” plan.
However before one may begin to debate both sides of climate changes, one must first understand what climate changes are. Climate changes have varying effects, however all of these effects essentially lead to the same outcome. Some of the effects of climate changes are that the average world’s temperature is increasing, the sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting, and long-term weather patterns are changing (Nicklen, Paul). All of these effects add up and lead to a negative effect on the world’s climate. While the effects of climate changes may vary; most are caused by the same major problem. This problem is more commonly referred to as the greenhouse effect.
The greenhouse effect works due to the warming of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. All of these “greenhouse gases” heat up within Earth’s atmosphere and trap heat. While they will allow light to phase through them, they will keep the heat from leaving, which results in various climatic changes. Some examples of these climate changes are the rising of temperature, glaciers melting, and sea levels rising (Nicklen, Paul).
But what is it the cause for these greenhouse gases to exist and have such a negative impact on the climate? The answer is humans. Some examples of how we contribute to greenhouse gases are burning coal and oil, such as gasoline, industrial excess gases that are emitted into the air, and deforestation (West, Larry). However, the main problem is our population’s growth. As we continue to grow, we gradually contribute to all of these factors and will slowly increase the effects of greenhouse gases.
Since it is our own fault that we are negatively impacting our planet, I believe that it becomes our responsibility to take action and that is what the Democrats have been aiming for during this debate. The Republicans attempt to take an approach to fix this problem by reserving natural resources through methods such as parks (Dunlap, Riley). While this helps to save what resources we currently have, I do not believe that it will help the overall environment. For example, this method will not reduce greenhouse gases as the Democrats have attempted to do through Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “hydrogen highway”.
In this plan Schwarzenegger describes his hydrogen highway as security for California’s future in certain aspects. These can be aspects such as the air quality, public health, energy security, and national security (Press Release). When this plan was released, the state of California was faced with high spikes in prices of gasoline and thus it was looked at as a beacon of hope. Schwarzenegger even goes as far as saying that:
“We can deal with these problems by investing in a clean hydrogen future, thus bringing jobs, investment, and continued economic prosperity to the state. We have an opportunity to prove to the world that a thriving environment and economy can co-exist. This vision for California is real and attainable; however, it will take time so we must plant the seeds now.” (Schwarzenegger)
Although this plan will cost money, I believe that Schwarzenegger sees it as an investment towards a brighter, healthier future. I also believe that he wishes for his plan to start small and hopefully with enough resources and support, Schwarzenegger will be able to spread this nation wide.
Some Republican supporters may argue that Schwarzenegger’s behavior is hypocritical. They can find evidence in the facts that Schwarzenegger utilizes his private jet to travel many miles to many places. This can lead to an excess 8,500 pounds of carbon-dioxide gas into the air (Schieltz, Mathew). While Schwarzenegger is harming the environment in the short run with these trips, he is also making these trips to hold important meetings and putting forth an effort that will aid the environment in the long run.
Another way that Democrats expressed their opinions and concerns on climate change was through the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. This film, directed by Davis Guggenheim, shows the story of the old Vice President Al Gore traveling to various cities throughout the world. On Al Gore’s expedition, he presents and speaks about the true dangers of climate change. Al Gore states the true, disturbing, scientific facts that showed the destruction the climate changes were causing the earth (Nielson-Gammon, John). Some of the powerful examples that Al Gore showed in the film were the graphs of CO2 emissions that he related from the last 600,000 years to now, and a comparison picture of Kilimanjaro, which showed that the snowcaps had decreased dramatically. The scientific facts that were shown were so powerful that A. O. Scott wrote in the New York Times:
“I can’t think of another movie in which the display of a graph elicited gasps of horror, but when the red lines showing the increasing rates of carbon-dioxide emissions and the corresponding rise in temperatures come on screen, the effect is jolting and chilling.” (A. O. Scott)
The film soon became popular and spread quickly; causing a sense of distaste with the Republicans that opposed the existence of climate change. Because of its vast knowledge of scientific fact it soon underwent attacks from Republicans that rallied against all it stood for. A talk show host, Glenn Beck, even went as far as to state “Mr. Gore’s narrative isn’t science, but science fiction.” (Film Review: An Inconvenient Truth).
In conclusion I believe that both Republicans and Democrats have seen the problem of these climate changes. However, I believe that the Democrats see climate changes as more of a problem while Republicans see it as a minor issue of concern. I do not believe that the threats of climate changes are exaggerated at all. There are scientific facts to prove that these climatic changes exist and I believe we must act upon them now, as fiercely as possible. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Dunlap, Riley E. “Climate-Change Views: Republican-Democratic Gaps Expand in Recent Years.” Gallup.Com – Daily News, Polls, Public Opinion on Government, Politics, Economics, Management. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. <http://www.gallup.com/poll/107569/climatechange-views-republicandemocratic-gaps-expand.aspx>.
“Film Review: An Inconvenient Truth.” Revolution #220. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. <http://revcom.us/a/052/globalwarming-en.html>.
“Governor Schwarzenegger Announces the California Hydrogen Highways Network.” Press Release. Web. 11 Dec. 2010. <http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/3105/>.
Holmes, Kathryn. “CA Governor Signs Order To Create Hydrogen Highway Network.” American Society Of Mechanical Engineers. Web. 9 Dec. 2010. <http://www.asme.org/NewsPublicPolicy/Newsletters/CapitolUpdate/CA_Governor_Signs_Order.cfm>.
Nielsen-Gammon, John W. An Inconvenient Truth : the Scientific Argument. 1st ed. Vol. 70. GeoJournal. Print.
Nicklen, Paul. “What Is Global Warming?” Environment Facts, Environment Science, Global Warming, Natural Disasters, Ecosystems, Green Living. National Geographic. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. <http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-overview.html>.
Schieltz, Mathew. “Global Warming: The Debate.” Associated Content. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/164093/global_warming_the_debate.html?cat=9>.
West, Larry. “Greenhouse Effect – What Are Greenhouse Gases and the Greenhouse Effect?” Environmental Issues – News and Information about the Environment. Web. 9 Dec. 2010. <http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/a/greenhouse.htm>.