Politico Arena Topic: Does Al Gore Have Legitimate Gripes with Obama?
Gore does have a point. Climate change and environmental defense have taken a back seat to economic and international issues. Unfortunately, policy makers do not realize that the environment and its changes are economic and international issues. Air and water do not recognize state borders, so anything that is put into the atmosphere in California can be in Europe in a matter of weeks.
The same goes for other nations, where lower environmental standards can affect the health of Americans (and cause businesses to do an end run and take their factories overseas). Climate change deniers are parroting Baghdad Bob: there are no tanks in Baghdad, even as footage rolls of Bradley Fighting Vehicles roaming the capital of Iraq. Deniers keep stating that there is no such thing as a changing climate, even as tornadoes roll through New England and flooding has reached levels in the middle of the country that would make Noah shake his head.
Environmental protection and climate change have been relegated to side issues that are only available to be considered during times of economic prosperity and international peace. The hotbeds (literally, in the case of global warming) for environmental activism and attention in the United States are along both coasts (where you also find a majority of Democratic representatives).
Thus, this is often thought to be a Democratic issue, and as head of the party, President Obama will receive credit and blame for what happens in the ranks, but the blame lies with members of Congress and their 4-1 lobbyist to representative ratio. Republicans do keep the environment and climate change high on their agenda, and that agenda is crushing the EPA and the protections they provide. Those on the right believe that climate change is a myth and that choosing to protect the environment destroys jobs, and this belief is a false one. We can create jobs and manufacture products in this country (and around the world) without fouling our natural resources (purple mountains' majesty is not supposed to come from choking off the air supply).
Much like the dirty air and water that does not recognize state and national borders, this is an issue that should not recognize party borders. The evidence for climate change is available, apparent, and is increasing daily. Thousands of public arena hours have been devoted to the debate of how the earth and humanity was created. No matter what you believe, we have no witnesses to tell us how it all began, but if the political culture surrounding climate change does not change immediately, we will all be witness to how it ends.