Two of the biggest polluters in the world, China and the US have struck a landmark deal on Wednesday November 12th 2014 to fast track the cutting down of emission of green house gases. The green house gasses like CO2 and methane have been blamed for the rising global temperatures. Rising global temperatures have started affecting the world climate patterns. Rising ocean levels are threatening many low lying areas as well as small islands which risk getting submerged.
Climate change is increasingly being discussed in the same breath as gender gaps and gun laws and by the time the presidential race hots up in 2016, it will become the most talked about topic.
Politicians have been repeatedly warned about taking global warming seriously or else face the consequences at the ballot booth times. .
Most voters across a wide spectrum of age group think that global warming is as serious issue as terrorism and have a profound effect on the lives of people in present times.
Voters are also sharply polarized on party lines on the question of Global Warming. For persons who see global warming as a serious issue support Democrats, 70 to 29 percent while those who do not think it as a serious issue support Republicans, 84 to 14 percent.
The burning question is why the democrats are not pushing the issue of global warming, taking advantage of their electoral victory. In the same way, why are more republicans not trying to return to a pro green agenda? This ambiguity comes due to three factors-
Democrats breathed easily when environmental issues were settled with relaxed bipartisan support, under the Clean Air Act in 1990 under President George H. W. Bush. Democrats and Republicans were able to work with relative ease like Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford nationally and Governors like Nelson Rockefeller and George Pataki in New York.
When the Republicans started veering away from bipartisanship on environmental issues like under Vice President Dick Cheney who granted extraordinary exemptions to the Clean Water and Drinking Act benefiting oil and gas companies, Democrats went on a back foot instead of fighting the environmental agenda and measures to combat the repercussions of climate change.
Lastly both Democrats and the Republicans misread the polling data when they scoffed at climate change. It could have become a key base retention issue for Democrats if they read the data correctly. Events left voters with little choice but to connect superstorms with global warming and climate change. Political parties will have to pay a steep price for their inaction.