Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Veripare, Mar 18, 2007.
the average American can't be as amoral as our ministers...
Because we don't have "ministers" here
Can I start singing the Team America theme song yet? Remember, all Americans think this way, none of us give a damn about air pollution, and we certainly don't care what others think .
Tell me, what country are you from? I'll guarantee you that unless you're in the Vatican, you're in no position to start blaming others. And by blaming others, you just show yourself to be just as immoral, just as hypocritical, and just as blind as anybody else. Try back next time. Oh, wait, I can't do that because that's just placing all the blame on others' shoulders, right? If I disregard the fact that that's exactly what you're doing, I guess that pretty much makes sense. The minute you single out the US or any other nation for this, that's what you're doing. It's awful convienent to single out others though, isn't it?
The US refused to sign Kyoto. The US refused to sign this treaty. The US, again, shows its loyalty to itself and itself alone. That's why there's no "North American Union" to try to dictate what independant nations do and how they carry out their national affairs. It's called independance. We, as a nation, have never submitted ourselves to binding laws made by any other nation. It's been a part of our foriegn policy since 1776 and I sure hope we don't end up like Europe in that respect.
The US has always had a voluntary-reduction policy at the national level - we haven't and most likely won't ever submitted to the laws of another nation, group, or body.
We have our own laws regarding emissions; all of our vehicles have to pass emissions checks, making sure that they're not dumping too terribly much into the atmosphere. We have laws that actually hinder our businesses with the goal of, you guessed it, reducing emissions. We have laws requiring logging companies to plant two trees for each that is cut down, effectively causing them to lose money in the interest of preserving the environment - they still do it for that same reason. We have laws restricting our oil refineries (things that, if more were opened, could drive gas prices down and generally make every car-owner that's been screaming since 2000 for the prices to go down happy), effectively blocking new ones from opening. This has only worsened since 2005, when many were put off line from Hurricane Katrina. Believe it or not, we do care about our environment and the planet, whether we submit to *your* regulations or not.
Tell me: would you give up your job to cut down emissions (or are you even old enough to get one?)? Would you deny your family the chance to have a stable money supply, one that allows you to get on the internet and complain about what others do? The one that gets you food at night, in the morning, and probably a few too many snacks in between? Toning down industry like Russia has (and it worked pretty damn well, at the cost of making their unemployment rates skyrocket) means putting millions upon millions of Americans out of business. That's right. Denying millions of families the ability to put bread on the table at night. Still complaining? Remember: if you keep your job, all you care about is yourself. If you give it up, you care about the environment at the cost of your family's well-being. Easy to say when you're calling for it but not in that position, isn't it?
And for such an intelligent person, you should know that we don't have "ministers." We have "elected officials that we, the People, choose to make our decisions based on our values." They're called Congressmen/women, Senators, and Presidents. You can throw the occasional mayor, state representative, alderman, and a few other people in there as well. They're not called "other people making our choices for us."
The article wasn't what I was alluding to, if you couldn't figure it out through your excellent deductive skills.
If the government wants me to drive a battery powered car so I can reduce the amount of pollution,thats fine. However, they can buy it for me. Money is hard enough for people these days.
Yea, we don't really do anything to help the environment. I sometimes say I'm going to go with a few friends and fix up a park or something..but that never happens.
This isn't even relevant! What a waste of a paragraph.
You do not have to sacrifice your independence to sign a treaty, nor do you need to sign a treaty to cut pollution levels. If the US minds external treaties governing the way its businesses operates then does it only send representatives to these conferences to hinder the progress of other nations?
Hmmm, in my dictionary it says that minister is a general term meaning (amongst other things, of course) "the responsible head of a department of state affairs". I think it makes sense for me to use this international term, regardless of what you call them in America. Anyone acting as a representative for America's environmental interests could be referred to as a minister, so to use the word is quite correct.
Well it would be much better if the government helped put out electric or hydrogen powered cars but unfortunately they aren't doing a damn thing. Do you know why? Because if they did they sure as hell wouldn't have near as much money as they did.
There is many people that have already made cars run perfectly off of hydrogen and electricity, but a lot of those people are either being killed or paid millions. The same thing with cancer that it would probably be cured by now but the fact that money hungry politicians would rather have stocks in the medicine that people are killing themselves over.
(For reference and space, I'm going to refer to your paragraphs as "1., 2., 3., etc.". Go down the line)
1. /hypocrite? Again, unless you're the Vatican, you don't have all that much to be proud of. Unless, of course, it's perfectly acceptable to call another on something while doing the same thing, be it to a lesser or greater degree. Maybe you were taught different, but to my standards, it's unacceptable to do so.
Again, America does do what it does for the environment. It just doesn't partake in the other nations' laws, standards, or whatever. It prefers to do this on its own, not as a large group of nations being bound under one law. This leads to my next point...
2. Again, the US prefers to do this on its own. It sends representatives to these because they are, by nature, international conferences, groups, etc. Shall we hang a big sign on the door that says "US Not Allowed" since we hinder them so much?
3. Yes, and did you realize that we have:
- More heavy manufacturing industry than any other country (cars, steel, etc.)
- More automobiles per person than any other country
- The third largest nation in the world in terms of population (more people polluting)
- The largest national economy in the world
- More use of fossil fuels than any other country (see the above points as to why)
Many of these other nations, such as the EU, Brazil, and Japan do not face these problems to the degree that the US does. It's not a cure-all to expect every nation to conform to the same standards. It works in theory, but each nation is an individual nation, with its own problems and its own amount of effort needed to conform to said standards.
Yes, we have to do more. However, we face vastly different conditions and as such, it's quite easy to say "you're not doing enough" when you don't face these conditions.
4. You're right, cutting emissions isn't easy. I'm fully in agreement that upping energy efficiency and cutting the reliance on fossil fuels by moving towards nuclear power, things like hybrid cars, and biofuels should be a focus.
This entire debate is directed at... people, and therefore you speak to the other people. When I say "it's easy, isn't it?" and other similar remarks, it's more rhetorical than directed towards you. It's not a research paper, you know.
And, in America:
"The term "minister" comes from a Latin word meaning a "servant" (or first servant). In some countries (such as the U.S., Hong Kong, the Philippines and the UK), such a person can instead be known as a secretary or secretary of state."
The term carries a very different meaning in the United States. They perform very different roles than a minister in, say, France would.
true we are the most taxed and watched country in the world
Huh? I thought I made it quite clear that I wasn't proud of the way my country is handling environmental issues. I may be a UK resident, but that doesn't make me accountable for my government's actions and I certainly cannot be described as a hypocrite, since I am not openly condoning them. In fact, the only way I can see that you can accuse me of hypocrisy is to take 'to a lesser or greater degree' very literally and catch me out next time I light a match or take a breath!
I'm sure no one would mind America (for instance) not signing the Kyoto Protocol if they provided some sort of proof that they were cleaning up (or had significant plans to) their industry, but then if they were, then why not sign and make a commitment? Then at least other countries and environmentalist groups would not be able to criticise them so openly... Either way, the means in which America plans its environmental strategy is irrelevant - people just want to see it implemented.
Heh. Seems to me that those are five good reasons why America really should be doing more to reduce its impact on the environment.
1. Okay, this one is entirely reasonable, but not necessarily excusable. Industry isn't going to be reduced/"cleaned up" overnight, but it does need to be - so America must be seen to be taking action.
2. I think this one is partly about changing people's attitudes. The average person still doesn't think twice about using a car for journeys under one or two miles. I've never really understood this, since I've always found travelling by car an intensly unenjoyable experience (in the city at least, which is always hot and congested). The automobile is a lazy and inefficient way to travel; if people started to realise this and the effect on the environment that they are having, then we can cut travel pollution the easy way. (As opposed to the hard way, which would probably involve doubling road tax or something similar. Of course changing someone's lifestyle isn't as easy as all that anyway).
3. Seems irrelevant, since sensbile statisticians (try saying that three times) measure global emissions 'per capita'.
4. We generally allow only developing countries grace when questioning their fossil fuel usage. Are you saying that we shouldn't pick on America because it's economy is too large and therefore unable to cope with reducing emissions?!
5. That's pretty close to point one (although I do acknowledge that it is separate).
I suppose the real point you are trying to make here is that even if there is a global agreement to cut emission levels, it shouldn't be bound by a particular treaty since each country's circumstances are different. I agree with this up to a point, but I do think it is fair to have a certain standard that all countries conform to, to ensure that the threat of global warming is not ignored, or trivialised. Furthermore, is it not fair that the countries that pollute more should cut back more? If so, then America and quite a few other countries are not pulling their weight.
1. Then why are you changing between a personal and a national level? You take the position of calling America on this issue and then take it to a personal level when that is brought up. You can't be both on that; pick a place and stay with it.
There's something about "removing the log from your own eye" that comes to mind as well if you're going to criticize at a national level. If you haven't gotten the point yet, I'll explain further: it's hypocritical to call a nation on something while excusing others, which, in my eyes, your argument has done. I'm more of the "criticize as a whole, not an individual" philosophy here. Again, take your pick as to where you stand; if you want to criticize at a national level, don't revert to the personal level when responses are given.
In my eyes, the argument you present is hypocritical, therefore I call it as such. If you're offended by me calling something as I see it, I appologize.
2. They plan to do? BBC and the environmentalists haven't been asking around with a few of these things; I'm the one paying around $40.00 to get my vehicle checked. They're implemented or are in the process of being implemented. Whether they're at yours or anybody else's standards is irrelevant. Believe it or not, these things take time - a hard thing to grasp for many today.
As for signing: foriegn policy rarely, if ever, changes because of lobbyists.
3. Yes, they're good reasons that we should be trying to reduce our impact on the environment. They're also issues that most nations don't face and they're the greatest stumbling blocks when it comes to reducing emissions.
a. Well, from my perspective, action is being taken, regardless of whether it shows up on the BBC's reports or not.
b. Attitudes can and should be changed; with the current attitudes, a large portion of America could be made into Michael Moore's Supersize Me 2: New York Edition. I drive where I drive out of necessity; I'm not going to get into my truck to go a few blocks down. Albeit, I drive more because where I live, most everything is at least five miles away.
c. Seems irrelevant? Really? The point is that it's rather easy to cut your nation's per-capita emissions when you're Luxembourg with a population of around 450,000. More (insert any of the points above...) = more effort and time taken to get measures implemented, if you haven't figured it out yet.
d. No, I'm saying that an impartial eye must be turned to these issues, not just "well, they're developing and therefore need more slack given..." or "well, they're cleaner than (nation), so they're OK to criticize." The point in both cases is that the emissions are still there, and complaining about what others do/have won't solve anything.
I've never been a fan of the "tax the rich because they make more" philosophy and this is the same idea, just a different issue. Ten percent is still ten percent, regardless of whether it's ten percent of $30,000 or ten percent of $300,000; it's still ten percent, whether it's ten percent of twenty tons of emissions going out or twenty thousand tons going out. If those that pollute more wish to do more, they by all means should on their own. There's an issue of equality that I've always been a firm believer in.
As for global warming, it's ignorant to believe that it doesn't exist or is, as you call it, a trivial factor. To believe that it's completely the fault of humans (things like ice ages, warming and cooling periods, etc. - all documented history - say different) is just the same. However, dumping thousands of tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere isn't the best idea, either. It's not trivializing to take this viewpoint in my opinion.
1. If I moved to the Vatican tomorrow, would that make me less hypocritical? Regardless of which country I'm from, I have the right to express my opinion of other nation's policies. If you want to criticise me on a personal level (ie. call me a hypocrite) shouldn't I consider myself an individual? As for "it's hypocritical to call a nation on something while excusing others", I've only been focussing on America because that's the subject of the discussion. You can criticise other nations all you like and I expect I'll probably agree with you for the most part, but you'd only be detracting attention away from the topic, which is America's environment strategy.
2. One of the more important issues here is that time is of the essence when regarding climate change. Time is something we simply do not have: I don't think any governing body has yet prioritised global warming highly enough on their adgenda to achieve significant reductions in fossil fuel usage in the timescale that environmentalists are calling for. Whether governments can or can't reduce emissions by a (very) significant amount in the next 50 years, I think it is still important to put pressure on them to do so.
3. I don't really disagree with much you've said in this paragraph, so I might as well let it stand for itself. However I have a question:
c. Isn't a lot of environmental policy dealt with at state level? And if not, why not? It would make sense to me, but I don't know a thing about your governmental structure.
Anyway, I don't want to make another really long post so I'll stop here, in order to avoid repeating points I've made in other posts.
So since you're so shrewd, I'd like think you could figure out that I think the argument you (and the article/those interviewed) present is on the hypocritical side (I've said that in... every single post I've made on this topic?). You, on the other hand, jumped in with comments on how America is so "utterly condemnable" because it's the largest per-capita polluter. And isn't it still condemnable that others pollute to whatever degree they do? Oh, wait, nevermind, the article is about how America "blocks the progress" of *gasp* (read: how, exactly, does America block somebody from trying to change their environment?) other nations doing something about their environment. The attitude that you have displayed is hypocritical. The argument that you present is hypocritical. The same can be said of Mr. Gabriel. Don't like it? Don't condemn.
As a side note, you fail to distinguish between my criticism of you and my criticism of others, nations like Germany and China and people like Mr. Gabriel. The above should explain it; if not, I give up. I'm not about to go out and put in big, bold letters the words "I'm crtiticizing YOU - feel free to be offended" on what I post.
See, my main problem is that, instead of the fact that it's not "the world is not doing enough" - no one nation does - because somebody decides to float an agenda. How did "the world isn't doing enough" turn into another bash-America session from nations that haven't had the greatest record of "doing enough" in the first place?
And as to your question: yes, it is. The point is that environmental change, especially in a nation as large as the US, is not an overnight issue, which is something that's been repeatedly ignored by both you and conferences like those described in the article.
The only "news" in the article is that Mr. Gabriel decided to put his agenda a bit more out in the open. US environmental policy and foriegn policy as a whole hasn't changed much since 1776.
Yes thankyou, I had that "figured out" as soon as I had read your first reply. Why imply that I haven't?
I've made it perfectly clear that any nation polluting over a certain level should be accountable for its actions. However, it is also clear that America is more accountable than say, Japan which produces half as much carbon dioxide per person. It then follows that the USA is in fact the most accountable, since it produces more CO2 per person than any other country. But please do not get me wrong, I think that nations that simultaneously produce a large amount of pollution and are overcritical of America's pollution record have a lot to answer for as well.
Also, the article (or the topic) isn't really about the fact that America is blocking individual countries from cleaning up their environmental policies, it's about them hampering international talks. Anyway, I'm not here to talk about the article any more.
If I am failing to distinguish between your criticism of myself and your criticism of other nations. then you are also doing so in your argument. You are the one that has to make that distinction, not I.
If you use the second person singular, then you are implying that I am a hypocrite and my argument is hypocritical. This is wrong, since I am merely stating the facts and expressing my own opinion that American environmental policy falls short of the mark and those that support it are making an error of judgement. By calling me a hypocrite it looks to me like you must be trying to deflect attention away from America's environmental policy, which should be the only issue at stake here. So it looks like we're back where we started...
If America was seen to be taking decisive action (and that would include signing treaties such as Kyoto) and wasn't openly obstructive in these international conferences, then both nations and individuals would be less quick to criticise them. Of course people like me would probably still condemn their environmental strategy unless it was very significantly better than other nations', but no one would be able to demonise America in the way that they do currently.
Since I must "make that distinction:"
Reference to other nations
Reference/talking directly to you
You, as a reader, are the one that must recognize the distinction and adjust accordingly. Unless, of course, you cannot figure out if someone is talking to you, you are schizophrenic and posting under numerous personalities, or you are a large nation that is currently condemning the US's environmental and foriegn policy. If any of these conditions apply to you, please let me know - it will make my attempts at explaining much more simple. However, you are not the only person in this debate, you are not the topic of the debate, and because of this, I can make references to the topic, you, and the other people as I wish.
So far, I have directed my comments at you directly, the general attitudes expressed by previous posters, and the article and its contents, all three of which I'm pretty much convinced are present, so I don't understand how every reference I make is directed at you. Maybe I should have stated this earlier, as it would have saved a lot of time.
I've already addressed your last point what, three times now? America hasn't changed her foriegn policy at the whim of outside groups at any time in its short history - that includes times when threatened with nuclear extinction, global war, and even invasion and reclaiming of lost colonies by your own nation; all because of its foriegn policy. You've said exactly what I needed you to say to prove my point in calling on the nation to sign Kyoto and other similar treaties ("and that would include signing treaties such as Kyoto"), calling on it not to be so "openly obstructive" ("and wasn't openly obstructive in these international conferences" - though the US has done nothing more than state its position, just like every single other nation at the conference and others like it... ; how is that obstructive, even if the position conflicts with other nations' - the US doesn't have a veto power in anything other than the UN Security Council), and, most of all, to be seen taking decisive action (as if emissions haven't been drastically cut, in many cases a larger drop than most other nations in the world, since the 1970s [a time when we openly dumped sewage into waters, there were no restrictions on emissions from anything, and disasters like the Three Mile Island incident occured] when the calls to protect and preserve the environment first sounded in America). Considering where it came from, America has made quite a drastic leap in the past thirty years, regardless of whether someone's agenda acknowledges it.
Then why keep presenting something I see as a hypocritical argument instead of trying to, oh, I don't know, back it up? And before you respond with "I've backed it up countless times" or something similar: no, you haven't in my eyes, and I'm the one you're supposed to prove it to.
Separate names with a comma.