Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Global warming deniers often cop the line, "why should we change to prevent global warming if China doesn't?"

Look, conservation and doing what we can to halt climate change is not a causal argument strictly tied to another entity (in this case, a country). We should do what we feasibly can, period.

But note that China is where the U.S. was 50-100 years ago, when we were developing and progressing as a nation with little concern for the environment. In the process, we were guilty of a good deal of unadulterated polluting and China is now doing the same in their rapid evolution towards a more developed country. When we did it, much less scientific evidence was known which meant for fewer scoldings from others, and fewer developed nations existed then to do any of the scolding.

So here we are now and it makes little sense to penalize or harshly judge China for trying to develop. After all, their industrial activity moves them closer to capitalism -- a good thing, right?

But we should be looking to help them grow as cleanly and as efficiently as possible. We have the technology and the know how -- the same technology and know how we should be using to clean up our act.

Economic growth and environmental stewardship can coexist. Perhaps not 50-100 years ago, but certainly they can work together today. All it takes is leadership.

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