Far from being a costly policy initiative that must be postponed for better times, major reports out of Florida and California are suggesting that climate action is potentially a vital component of economic recovery.
In Florida, Governor Charlie Crist's Action Team on Energy and Climate Change has estimated that the state can achieve $28 billion in net economic savings between now and 2025, while reducing carbon emissions 64% from business-as-usual projections.
In California, a study by David Roland-Holst from the University of California at Berkeley projected that the state could meet Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's aggressive CO2 emission reduction targets while increasing the Gross State Product (GSP) by about $76 billion, increasing real household incomes by up to $48 billion and creating as many as 403,000 new efficiency and climate action driven jobs.
As the world prepares to meet in Bali next month at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, U.S. governors have decided to take action at home. Weary of Congressional foot-dragging, the governors have made regional agreements on global warming and joined hands in a concerted bid to generate public and political support for legislation now before the Senate. But can anything meaningful take place while President Bush is still in office?
In a move denounced by state officials and others as improper lobbying on behalf of the auto industry, transportation officials in the Bush administration are making a pro-auto industry pitch to members of Congress, urging them to oppose California's efforts to enforce tough emissions standards on vehicles.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.