Climate Change: The View from Germany’s Window

In Spiegel today, Christian Schwägerl takes after President Obama and America in their tag team foot dragging on climate change (rightfully so, I think):

For most Americans, the world beyond the US’s borders is nothing more than an irritating nuisance. Hence arguments based on appeals about drowning Bangladeshis, starving Africans and flooded islands in Indonesia have little effect. In Hollywood, the United States has an industry that continually pushes the materialistic ideal of Western prosperity to billions of people around the world, while at the same time bombarding them with apocalyptic visions in the form of disaster movies. Many Americans clearly also believe that real climate change is just something dreamt up by the entertainment industry. Obama has proven himself to be unable to put an end to the lies that modern American society is based on. He is unable to overcome the entrenched lobbyists of the oil and coal industries and make the reality clear to his compatriots: They are the worst energy wasters on the planet — and are thus indirectly a major threat to world peace in the 21st century. Although they do not enjoy a higher quality of life than Europeans, Americans consume twice as much fossil fuel per capita. Their cars are too big, their homes are not energy efficient and they have yet to focus their talents for innovation away from trivial entertainment gadgets and toward renewable energy technologies.

And:

American CO2 emissions per capita are about twice as high as those in comparable industrialized nations and many times greater than those of the developing world. The climate change bill that is currently making its way through Congress does not go nearly far enough — and that is Obama’s fault. The bill proposed reducing CO2 emissions by a ridiculous 4 percent relative to 1990 levels, by 2020. Climate researchers believe that reductions of 40 percent or more are required.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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