Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dennis Kucinich


Reading recently about Dennis Kucinich’s position on Global warming I was struck by his apparent concern about the issue. Regrettably however much of his proposed policy seems out of touch with reality, a phenomenon more and more common in today’s politics. Take for example the Safe Climate Act of 2007 a bill which Kucinich is co-sponsoring in the House of Representatives. The bill calls for carbon dioxide emissions to be frozen in 2010 and reduced to eighty percent below 1990 levels by 2050. While the bills ultimate goal of heading off climate change is admirable and many of its propositions such as increased funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency initiatives, and a carbon cap and trade system are long overdue the bill’s ambitious goals seem at odds with reality. Consider how reluctant we are as a nation to accept the Kyoto protocol with its much more limited goal of reducing carbon emissions to 1990 levels and the potentially crippling economic consequences that would result from the abrupt and severe cutbacks in carbon dioxide emissions proposed by Kucinich’s bill. Add to this the fact that Kucinich is a vocal opponent of increased nuclear and hydroelectric power—currently our two largest energy sources unrelated to fossil fuels—and it becomes clear that Kucinich’s proposed energy policy has serious flaws. It’s possible I am being overly skeptical and Kucinich sees some way of successfully implementing the policy he is proposing but even so, working to make the smaller changes that are possible today a reality would seem the best strategy for achieving real progress in combating global warming. The bill’s purpose strikes me as more allow Kucinich to tout having introduced “the toughest climate bill in the house”, than to work in any meaningful way towards a practical solution to the threat of global warming. While we need to recognize and address the threat of global warming, we need realistic propositions aimed at truly achieving change, not fantasies designed to appeal to voters. By no means is Kucinich the only politician guilty of presenting unrealistic propositions designed to appeal to voters and Kucinich’s actions pale in comparison with the immeasurable harm done by candidates who for political reasons refuse to acknowledge global warming’s existence. What we are sadly lacking in this country today are voters and political leaders willing to see beyond party politics and inflated rhetoric who will work towards achieving the change on which our nation’s future depends.

Sources on Dennis Kucinich’s Energy Policy:

http://www.house.gov/waxman/safeclimate/

http://www.grist.org/feature/2007/08/01/kucinich_factsheet/

http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Dennis_Kucinich_Energy_+_Oil.htm

http://www.dennis4president.com/go/issues/a-sustainable-future/

Photo Credit: United States Congress

-Patrick Nadeau, Cornell University Student