Why is the U.S. Senate So Behind On Climate Change?
As many of you probably know, the POTUS with the Most-us Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union Speech on Tuesday. The President touched on a number of topics, including climate change.
However, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Jim Inhofe isn’t so accepting. He believes climate change is real, yes, but not caused by man.
“Climate is changing and climate has always changed and always will,” Inhofe told the Senate. “The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant to think they are so powerful they can change climate. Man can’t change climate.”
Let that sink in for a minute.
It’s a step forward, yes, that the senate voted yesterday to agree “climate change is real and not a hoax.” Unfortunately, we’re not past denying a plain truth and it’s even more disheartening to see it come from a person in power.
“I think what is exciting is that today we saw for the first time—a number, a minority—but some Republicans going onboard and saying that climate change is real and it’s caused by human activity,” Independent Senator Bernie Sanders said. “And I suspect that you are going to see in the months to come, more and more Republicans forced to acknowledge that reality.”
Encouraging, sure, but why are we here in the first place? Why is this still a topic of debate? Actual science aside, it’s just a bad PR move. Mitt Romney, who might be a presidential hopeful (again) in 2016 is even realigning himself—or at least making his views known.
“I’m one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that,” he said during a Wednesday night speech at an investment management conference, The Associated Press reported.
Romney has changed his views previously, though this realignment might indicate his desire to gear up for the race in 2016. Regardless, the question must be posed: why is the senate so behind in all of this?
Unfortunately, there’s no good answer.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.