The long-standing controversy over dam removal in Washington, Oregon and California has heightened with scientific recognition of man made carbon emissions in global warming. Power companies and others who favor keeping the dams tout them as a crucial source of so-called clean energy, while opponents say the dams are anything but clean because they foul water and kill fish to generate electricity.
Rather than behaving like “prohibitionists at a fraternity party,” California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said its time to stop laying guilt trips about carbon emissions and focus instead on the benefits of clean air and a healthy planet.
Engineers at the Union of Concerned Scientists have unveiled a minivan design for an affordable, clean vehicle using existing technology and fuels that would meet or exceed global-warming pollution standards for cars and trucks adopted by California and 10 other states.
Blaming inaction by the Bush Administration, the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington have agreed to develop a regional target to lower greenhouse gases and create a program aimed at helping businesses reach the still-undecided goals.
With those words, the government of the Canadian province of British Columbia took what might be the most aggressive leadership position in the world on the issue of global warming.
The quote - that headline - is taken from the provincial Speech from the Throne, a broad statement of intent that parliamentary governments use to begin new sessions of the legislature. As such, it is a policy statement, rather than a legislated commitment. But the vision - the sheer audacity - of that stated policy puts British Columbia at the forefront of the global battle against climate change.
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.