Climate and Air Pollution


Smog over Shanghai

Smog over Shanghai

Although the United States is one of largest contributors to global warming, it appears that we were late in the game for initiating changes towards energy efficiency. By 2015 however, there have made substantial gains in modernizing power plants, reducing dependency on foreign oil, fuel economy standards, and doubling wind, solar, and geothermal energy.  (The White House, 2015) Surprisingly though it was Japan, Europe, and Germany, who put forth the initial effort in energy efficiency and now it is time for the U.S. to do the same. (Turk and Bensel, 2014)      

Beginning in the early 1990’s, talks of global warming spawned immediate reaction from developing countries but failed to ignite the U.S. Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches.  “The approach taken by the United States, until the election of President Obama was largely one of debate with little policy development.”  (Brinkmann and Garren, 2011)  With Obama’s term coming to an end I can only hope that the president elect acknowledges global warming exists and if so, making efficiency retrofits a mandatory and viable solution, not an elective one.  Although the Kyoto Protocol puts into place an international treaty for highly developed nations to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, (Turk and Bensel, 2014) China and the U.S. must lead by example through joint discussions in reducing carbon pollution. The White House website says that; “The President has taken action to tackle climate change and protect our environment” but with the smog density over Shanghai and the destruction of biodiversity over the Three Gorges Dam, only time will tell.

Energy efficiency begins at a grassroots level and puts the responsibility in our hands instead of waiting for our government to enact legislation. Tax incentives must be offered just as they are with farmers and their pilfering of water. While the EPA is responsible for enforcing environmental statutes and regulations (EPA, 2015) it is up to us to educate ourselves about reducing our carbon footprint. This is not a federalism issue where we the people wait for the government and the states to engage in bipartisan talks.  We the people of the United States created this crisis therefore we should implement our own energy efficiency policies or prepare to suffer the consequences of our own actions.


Brinkmann, R., & Garren, S. J. (2011). Synthesis of Climate Change Policy in Judicial, Executive, and Legislative Branches of US Government. PORTAL: Journal Of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 8(3), 1-26. Retrieved from

EPA. (2014, November 12). Policy & Guidance. Retrieved from

The White House. (2015) Joint Announcement with China. Retrieved from

Turk, J., & Bensel, T. (2014). Contemporary environmental issues (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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