Taking Responsibility for Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the United States
Broder writes on the new U.S. regulation to limit greenhouse gas emissions from light trucks and automobiles. This regulation has been passed after thirty years of debates between automakers and the government. The automobile industry is expected to respond to the regulation by developing new technologies to render light trucks and automobiles more fuel-efficient than before. Moreover, the new law is expected to help consumers save on costs of automobile usage.
Undoubtedly, Broder has rendered the environment a great service by describing the implications of the new law. The new regulation is, indeed, a breath of fresh air. But, the author has failed to mention that this new regulation would have a positive, global environmental impact as well. It is a weakness of his article that it makes no mention of conflicts and wars around the world, said to be in the name of oil. After all, the United States is the largest consumer of oil in the world. Oil has been vital to military power and modern industrial society since the early twentieth century. The possession of sufficient domestic oil supplies and control over access to foreign oil reserves is a significant factor in the power position of the United States with respect to its rivals. Hence, foreign policy of the nation must take oil into account, without due consideration for the environmental impact of wars.
Finally, however, the government of the United States is taking responsibility for regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. I remember perusing newspaper reports sometime last year, stating that the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States had released a declaration at last to confirm that carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride are dangerous pollutants that impact public health in addition to welfare. That declaration was bound to be followed up by regulations to control greenhouse gas emissions in the United States for the first time. The United States lags behind other developed nations in this area, as the government of the U.S. had been hiding facts connected with the dangers of greenhouse gases in the past. Once the declaration had been released, certain entities such as environmental advocates were glad, while others such as automobile companies were not so.
Of course, it is effortless to understand that the government of United States had been hiding scientific facts on greenhouse gas emissions only to increase economic growth. Still, the fact remains that humans have placed great pressure on the climate system with increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, this problem has been happening since the dawn of the Industrial Age. Overly excited about their achievements during and after the golden Industrial Age, human beings did not realize that materialism and greed may even be responsible for ending their existence on Earth in the near future. Indeed, if climate change is not managed through effective global policies at present, huge natural disasters may very well finish off life on our planet. This is the assertion of countless environmentalists nowadays. What if it is true? And, how long could the government keep scientific facts on climate change hidden as though we were asking for information on UFO’s?
Regardless, it is the responsibility of the government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and all business practices with a negative environmental impact. Businesses are not charities set up to produce goods to be distributed freely or to provide services for free. Rather, maximization of profits is the goal of all producers. In point of fact, for-profit businesses are only established to make profits. Depending on the moralities of their owners and managers, they may or may not believe in the need to behave ethically. Unfortunately, many for-profit businesses around the globe are known to engage in unethical practices, which is the reason why the government must step in to regulate markets and the practices of various business ventures when it is believed that doing so would be of benefit to society. Seeing that environmental degradation ensues when governments or corporations are too greedy for immediate profits to consider the environmental impacts of their business decisions, it is for ordinary people like ourselves to push these entities to regulate business practices for positive environmental change.
Of a certainty, environmentalists have done a great job convincing the U.S. government to take action to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Having learned from environmentalists, I believe that our world can be improved in all aspects, to a huge extent, if all governments and ordinary folks around the world were to commit themselves to social responsibility, which is typically understood only in the context of business culture. A company that makes a commitment to be socially responsible would refrain from unethical and harmful behavior, be it directed toward its employers, customers or society at large. Furthermore, it would make every effort to do good, for example, by supporting important social causes. What if all governments and ordinary people were to make a similar commitment? In that case, we would never take long to hold ourselves responsible for regulating our behaviors so as to curtail their negative impacts.
Broder, John M. “U.S. Issues Limits on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Cars.” The New York
Times. 1 Apr 2010. 6 May 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/science/earth/02emit.html?scp=116&sq=environmental%20issues&st=cse>.