Some would have us believe the emission of greenhouse gasses is directly linked to global warming, that global warming is currently a significant problem and that raising taxes and creating new government programs is the only way to curtail global warming.
Those same people have recently tried to use H.R. 1646, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act that authorizes appropriations for the Department of State in fiscal years 2002 and 2003, as another means to stop a problem that many experts believe can only be detected through fallible scientific methods.
While H.R. 1646 is an excellent bill, those who added statements about the U.S. position against global warming are trying to force their conjectures on our wallets. The language in that bill should never be used to force the country into an international agreement.
Data collected by far more precise NASA satellites and weather balloons show a slight cooling trend over the past 19 years, the period we began detecting the greenhouse effect, while antiquated ground-based stations say the planet has warmed roughly half a degree Celsius since 1850.
The National Academy of Sciences found that while increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards might reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobile tailpipes, these reductions would be offset by increases in emissions from new technologies needed to produce more efficient cars.
Professor Michael Golay of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gave a speech saying if some of us believe greenhouse gases are causing a problem, then giving companies incentives to lower emissions of greenhouse gases is the best solution. President George W. Bush announced his plan to give companies and individuals a wide array of tax credits and incentives to cut emissions. This allows the Bush administration to carefully examine the science behind global warming before it uses taxpayer dollars to fund a crackdown on emissions standards.
And for those who say current temperature fluctuations indicate we need quick action against green house gas emissions – take a good look at history. Climates have fluctuated since recorded history began and this is clearly not the worst. Just because we’re not used to shorts in February doesn’t mean our great grandparents never wore them.
Let’s take a serious look at what real science has told us and what we have yet to learn. Then let’s create legislation for logical solutions to environmental problems, not attaching junk science to bills meant to guide things like foreign policy. The environment is too important of an issue to be a political game.
-The writer, a junior majoring in international affairs, is public affairs director for the GW College Republicans.
This article appeared in the February 19, 2002 issue of the Hatchet.