Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column Published on 1/15/16, a www.SamBurlum.com Exclusive| Sam Burlum | Emissions Standards, Energy, Environmental, Government, Green, Green Technology
Source: The Climate Change-Global Warming debate has heated opposition from both camps of individuals, professionals, scholars, politicians, and entrepreneurs whom have dug their heels in the dirt to argue why we do, or don’t need a push for a worldwide carbon tax and initiative to curb energy consumption and harmful emissions; however what both camps fail to discuss is that all of the answers and solutions in solving this very issue are already available. So why the debate?
Whether you believe in the science in which is provided by experts in support of Climate Change; or you believe that the entire issue of Global Warming is a hoax and made up by man, there is no ignoring this social geo-political subject matter. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle have politicized this issue, making this matter a football during election cycles. Large companies in the fossil fuel industry have spent millions of dollars to fund studies through private think tanks and institutes in the hopes of having the blessing of the scientific community in their camp. While small pockets of other causes have gathered up the muster to hire experts; experts whom use computer models and data of samples taken from the earth which they believe provides insight to historical trends. Yet with all of this information available the jury is still out.
According to the most recent Gallup Poll on the subject matter, one in four Americans are solidly skeptical of Global Warming. About 40% of adults under the age of 50 strongly believe that man has been a serious contributor to Global Warming. Another 45% of Americans believe in man’s contribution to climate change however they do not believe that we alone have made as large of an impact as experts say. The last segment of individuals polled, believed that Global Warming and Climate Change is a hoax and that there is no supporting evidence that man has created any conditions that would affect the planet’s well-being.
On NPR’s All Things Considered, it was stated by the panel of journalist, environmental advocates, and community activist, that the single most important issue in which their generations (X, Y, and millennia) will have to tackle is the issue of Climate Change and Global Warming. Yet, despite the over whelming evidence of climate change, in the political area is hot with debate and misbelievers.
Republicans have usually take a positon that man has not contributed to Global Warming, and have taken the stance that if we as a society are going to tackle this issue, that we should not be changing the way we do business in the name of Climate Change, for it will have significant negative impact on the economy and Free Enterprise System. They feel the financial impact that small business and large companies would have to endure to meet initiatives and goals set by their political counterparts would crush an already fragile economy. The price to pay for such a shift would then be passed onto consumers and employees, which typically take the brunt end of fiscal policies. Republicans also believe that moving away from fossil fuels and coal will cause massive unemployment when America needs jobs.
Democrats take the position that the issue of Global Warming is real, and desire to take many drastic measures to curb man’s impact on rising temperatures. They feel the only way to pay for this shift is threw a carbon tax, in which every household would pay for their “fair share” of environmental impact on the planet. This is in addition to other consumer related taxes that are tied to energy usage and environmental impact. This is most prevalent in the auto industry, where on every window sticker on a new car, the tax associated with Green House Gases (GHG) and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards. Cap and Trade market proposals have also been introduced by legislation sponsored by Democrats. Cap and Trade allows for a corporation which has high environmental standards and can prove they actually lessen their environmental impact below a set of standards, could profit from selling their “pollution credits” to other companies that need to have such allowances to be able to pollute since the ability to prevent pollution would be cost prohibitive.
When in doubt on their position, Republicans and Democrats will turn to their “experts,” usually scientist or professors from schools of thought, whom are usually hired, thus profiting from taking one position or another on the issue; whereas the experts debate the facts or fictions of this matter.
What all of these politicians, think tanks, institutes, labs, and activist groups fail to disclose are some very simple truths to this matter. Though Global Warming and Climate Change may be up for debate, what is truth is that pollution exists. Pollution that has impacted air quality such as harmful vehicle emissions, emissions of coal fired energy producing plants, manufacturing sites, all exists. Pollution from chemicals which find their way into precious water supplies are real and can be measured and quantified. Waste management seems to still be a problem in many parts of the world where populations are skyrocketing without the infrastructure to support community growth, and there is one industry that is proving all this to be right.
When introducing its product offerings, the green technology industry has proven emissions reduction solutions through rigorous testing of current and future innovation. These tests undeniably prove that pollution exist, and that the impact of pollution can be mitigated by unleashing these technologies to market. Some of these technologies provide consumers (mass market, commercial, and industrial end users) with a return on investment, thus not costing the consumer to put these technologies to use over time.
Being in the Green Technology Industry for almost ten years, from personal and professional experience, I can tell you a few things that are not being told to you by politicians, community activist, or think tank organizations.
The Real Climate Change Global Warming “Hoax” is that technologies aimed in solving these issues are purposefully restrained from entering into the marketplace by government regulation. Other types of innovation aimed at providing mankind energy independence are usually crushed by other regulatory agencies. If you don’t believe me, just do a search under technologies that have been approved by the US EPA or companies in the green tech sector that have been sued by the FTC. There are many of these innovations that are crushed before they can leave the starting gate. Both sides of the political aisle know it and will not acknowledge it.
For instance, there are many rules and regulations on the books that dictate what an auto manufacturer can or cannot due in achieving fuel economy and/or in lowering harmful vehicle emissions. These regulations have been written by large technologies hoping to shut the door to competition which may sprout up with the better mouse trap. Vehicle manufacturers are forced to comply with GHG and CAFÉ standards with one arm tied behind their back. If these barriers were lifted, the auto industry would have far greater access and latitude in adopting technology that fits their vehicle fleet and customer’s needs, rather than being told what product they will be mandated to use. Companies such as Volkswagen would no longer have to use shortcuts in meeting benchmarks if they had the freedom to choose what innovation best work for their consumers.
What Republicans don’t realize is that if the green technology industry was supported, not by handouts and government sponsored money, but by stripping away the barriers in which have been put in place by regulation, the green technology industry would explode, thus creating many new jobs. The demand for these types of products is there. Republicans need to stop demonizing the price of environmental perseveration and see it as an investment into the future. Though some of the technologies offered may be out of sight for the average citizen, there are cost effective alternatives which would allow for energy companies to work with consumer product manufacturers so that we do not have to give up our addition to fossil fuels.
On the flip side, Democrats need to stop looking to such things as penalties, fees, and taxes as a way to force new consumer behaviors upon the citizenship. Democrats are just as guilty in voting and approving regulation that stifles the green technology sector from making an impact on climate change. Folks in this camp believe government should be choosing the winners and losers of technology. An example of this is EPA’s long standing Stop the Soot National Diesel Retrofit Campaign, in which forced one type of technology upon the trucking and transportation industry. This program was designed to benefit one major manufacture of emissions equipment alone, while shutting out any other affordable solutions from the free enterprise market.
As a people, we should not have to give up our freedom to travel, or drive a vehicle, because of a smog alert. In cities such as Beijing, Paris, New Delhi, government officials enforced new rules limited one’s the ability to travel by private passenger car in hopes to curb smog. All of this could have been avoided if green technology received the blessing it deserved and was truly free to enter the market place.
So why are these green tech solutions not being supported in solving the issue? It’s like anything else in order to solve the problem you have to admit that one does exist. Then you have to present real solutions that can provide a benefit. One the solution is presented and adopted, the problem becomes solved. At this current time, there are so many experts and think tanks making a profit from debating this matter that they truly do not want to see it solved. If the problem was solved, political figures could not use it as a football in the game of politics.
Until we lift regulation that stifles the green technology sector from making significant impacts on barriers of entry to market, the truth is that the Global Warming-Climate Change issue will never be properly addressed. Technologies ranging from power generation to automotive fuel efficiency have all fallen prey to regulatory bodies eager to capitalize on the opportunity to defame such technologies. Until we put an end to this cycle of counterintuitive practices, these technologies continue to have an uphill battle in making it to market. Only a very small percentage of technologies aimed at making an impact on the Global Warming, Climate Change matter see the light of day. When we remove these barriers; that will be the day we end the Climate Change Hoax and solve man’s impact on Global Warming.
Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.