A favorite sport of many Americans (if not most) is grousing about government. By and large the people of the United States believe that governments--municipal, county, state and federal--tax too much, do too much about too many things and infringe too often on personal liberties. These sentiments grow even more pronounced among those whose political proclivities trend rightward.
But...big surprise! A majority of Americans say the federal government is not doing enough to protect air and water quality. That's the finding from a national Pew Research Center survey.
The survey found that 69% of Americans think the government is not doing enough to safeguard water quality, while 64% are of the same mind in regard to air quality. The survey also revealed wide-spread support for more renewable energy--wind and solar.
And two-thirds of the survey respondents said the national government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change. Emissions of greenhouse gases of human origin are the main cause of climate change. While the sources and effects of these gases are subject to some debate and viewpoints vary, the problem is growing worse globally. The International Energy Agency has forecast an increase in emissions of 130% by 2050 if they continue unabated.
Carbon dioxide emissions go hand-in-hand with a cluster of causes that include industrial development, transportation fuels and electricity and heating needs. To a greater or lesser extent, all the world's nations are responsible for some of the level of pollution. But five countries stand out from all the rest as the world's leading polluters. They are, in this order, (1) China, (2) the United States, (3) India, (4) Russia and (5) Japan.
Ultimately, reducing pollution levels and mitigating climate change can come only from national will and commitment.
Chuck Swann is Senior Editor at Paperitalo Publications.