Making the World a Cleaner Place

Protecting lives and reducing pollution in developing nations should be the goal of the UN Climate Change conference.

This NASA photo shows dirty smog off the coast of China. Could this be a major contributor toward climate change or not?

Transit Talking Points by: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director

The Transit Coalition supports environmental justice and a cleaner planet to call home. The reasons should be obvious. While waiting for the bus or train, we, human beings need to breathe clean air. When we get home, we need to drink clean water and be nourished by food grown and harvested in chemical-free environments.

This week, there was quite a bit of media coverage over the United Nation's conference on climate change in Paris. World leaders and powerful politicians continue to place this issue high on the priority list, even though terrorism and the market economy remain the top concerns of US citizens according to the major polls.

That being said, there's quite a bit of politics involved in the climate change discussion. But these people really need to stop turning this valid issue into a political circus; the ideological, partisan agenda is to tax and fee the free marketplace. Of course, the increased costs and degraded services are passed down to We the People. One absolutely foolish comment I continue to hear is that terrorism is caused by climate change in the context of the Earth's temperature. By the way, protecting us from acts of terror and doing something about it should be the UN's priority campaign. Governments need to protect their people.

To be clear, hard scientific facts document that the Earth's temperature is changing. There is evidence that this is happening. Whether such fluctuations are caused as a part of natural evolution or man-made pollution remains hotly debated. Solid cases can be made on both sides. But erring on the side of caution, supporting efficient and non-punitive policies that make the Earth a cleaner place should be the universal goal whether one believes in man-made global warming or not.

Benxi Steel Industries
China remains a major global pollutant.
Being a global conference, the focus should be to hold the world pollutants to account, which include China, India, and other developing countries. The good people living in these nations generally have to breathe unhealthy air, drink polluted water, and consume food grown around dirty chemicals. Most live in dire poverty and lack the freedoms we enjoy here in the USA. That means they can't speak out against their oppressive governments over the life-threatening pollution problems.

However, We the People of the USA can take an active role because we do have the freedom to voice opinion and invest our resources globally. By cleaning up the drinking water, air quality, and farms in these countries, lives can be saved and serious transformations can take place for the better while deducing whether or not the climate change is man-made. If China and India do clean up their environments by significantly reducing their greenhouse gases and we see the reversal of the global warming stats worldwide (not just locally in the polluted regions), then the answer we've all been waiting for may come to reality: Are humans directly responsible for the Earth's climate change or was it part of natural evolution?

Global leaders should promote cleaning up the environment of the world's polluters without placing any heavy tax or fee burdens on the hardworking people or the industries providing the jobs. The way to do that is to allow investors to go into these countries and introduce clean alternative products while the governments hold the pollutants to account. Those items would be part of the trade agreement. The people living in these dirty areas can only dream of living in a cleaner environment and demands for such innovative products would be certainly high. I believe the marketplace can provide that.

Southwest Riverside County area enjoys clean air with fuel-efficient cars.
Note: I-15 Express Lanes pictured is concept only.
The combination of efficient government oversight with marketplace innovation has led to much cleaner cars and transit fleets here in the USA. The solar panel industry continues to mature and grow, providing for clean and renewable electricity. Computers and electronics are becoming more powerful yet consume less electricity. Bright LED light bulbs are allowing us to see better while going green on power consumption.  Again, the market delivered this under effective regulatory oversight on the polluters. Why can it not work elsewhere?

That is the fair position. That will clean things up in a non-punitive way while maintaining and growing the job markets for the good people living there. Plus, we may finally get some straight answers to this politically divisive climate change debate.

I hope this proposition can bring some common ground and unity for a first-rate economy and cleaner planet.