A Pre-Boomer’s Thoughts on Climate Change

If politics and ideology were not part of the issue, I believe pre-boomers (the New Seniors) could come together and find a practical, common-sense solution for dealing with climate change, greenhouse gases and preserving our planet for the health and well-being of our grand children and the generations to follow.

We grew up in an era when factories belching out black soot from their smoke stacks were a sign that America was producing products to be purchased here and abroad. At the same time we were warned not to pollute, not to liter and to do our part to keep our country clean. Yet over the years, more and more of the conveniences promoted via TV commercials either added toxic waste to our rivers and streams or were made from plastics and other non-biodegradable materials destined to crowd our landfills forever.

In recent years, controls over manufacturing plant emissions and the introduction of environmentally friendly products for the home and office have helped the situation, somewhat. Concurrently, cars have been made to burn cleaner and drive further on a tank of gas while the fuel itself no longer contributes the amount of pollutants it once did. Progress has been made to where the US is not the culprit it once was. However, we use so much more energy per capita that the environmentalist, here and in Europe, continue to point their fingers at us even though the emerging countries such as China and India and the dozens of developing ones around the world have a long way to go before they began to approach the standards we have set for ourselves.

Now there’s a movement to place a carbon charge on energy usage worldwide. If this succeeds, US companies producing products in this country and employing American workers will be at a disadvantage. They will, however, be able to purchase unused energy allotments from other firms or countries for a fee. Either way, the consumer will pay more for goods and more for their own energy consumption. The only ones profiting from this will be the federal government via taxes and the energy traders through their commissions made on both buying and selling carbon credits. Isn’t this the same government that is spending us into bankruptcy? Aren’t these the same commodity brokers and Wall Street opportunists cited for driving up the price of oil not long ago? They were responsible for pushing junk bonds, risky derivatives and hedge funds that helped lead to the bubble bursting in our once booming economy? Why would we trust these institutions to do anything in our best interest?

If we haven’t learned from the health care reform debacle, then when are the American people going to finally say, “Enough is enough?” Yes, we need to do our part to improve the world’s environment; but, no, we can’t derail the economic engine that has made this country great – otherwise, we lose the strength to affect change. It’s up to pre-boomers to lead the way, as we tried to do on health care, and make the American public aware that actions have consequences.