The Environment :Is the US proving itself to be the most selfish country on earth?

_46473213_sanfranprotestgetty466[1]Here are the world’s biggest carbon emitters and this is a list of  the richest countries in the world.  The United States is on both lists,  it is also been called the world’s most powerful .  So why do some people think that the US  isn’t doing enough when it comes to climate change ?

This blogger thinks  ‘ the success or failure of reaching a legally binding international agreement in Copenhagen next month rests squarely on the United States.’

And this blogger claims that  ‘ the US remains one of the largest polluters and stingiest contributors to solving the Climate Crisis.’ 

This week the African bloc refused to carry on the talks on climate change until rich nations did more to cut carbon emissions.

But some people argue that ‘ Green Obama’ is helping the environment with projects such as  ‘ the Kitchen Garden ’ and the act  he passed to protect wilderness and rivers.

And here it’s argued that the climate debate must centre on China and not America and that the United States can not change the world alone.

But what incentive does the US  have to lead the way on climate change when only 35% of the country would describe global warming as a serious problem? 

Here a blogger thinks that Americans simply don’t care about climate change because they are selfish and if it doesn’t affect them directly they are not interested.

What do you think? Is America being selfish? Should they be doing more about climate change? Or are they doing enough already? Is it their responsibility to save the world?

31 Responses to “The Environment :Is the US proving itself to be the most selfish country on earth?”

  1. 1 Julie P
    November 5, 2009 at 22:59

    “Here a blogger thinks that the American’s simply don’t care about climate change because they are selfish and if it doesn’t effect them directly they don’t care.”

    Sweeping generalizations and ignorant assumptions doesn’t make fact.

  2. 2 Josiah Soap
    November 5, 2009 at 23:17

    China is on both lists too and I expect over the coming years that it will pollute even more. India and other developing countries aren’t helping with global pollution either. America is selfish? Maybe, but look at all the inventions and medical innovations coming out of the USA that benefit the world. And African’s are refusing to carry on talks until rich countries cut emmsions. Well maybe the rich countries should cut off aid to the African countries, then they really will have something to gripe about. Most African countries couldn’t survive without monetary aid from rich ‘polluting’ countries. Maybe they should save their money they give to Africa and channel it into research on pollution control? In the years to come the developing countries will produce more pollution. This will be conveniently overlooked in the name of political correctness.

  3. 3 Rage Hassan
    November 5, 2009 at 23:36

    Yes, USA is not doing enough to save the world from the increasingly dangerous effects of global worming. Green Obama should wake up and save the world from the dangers of climate change. America should not selfish, instead, it must be obliged to the common global interest.

  4. November 5, 2009 at 23:43

    I think America biggest mistake is having allies with every country in the world.

  5. 6 Tom K in Mpls
    November 5, 2009 at 23:49

    And all of this is based on the assumption that mankind produces more ‘carbon emissions’ than nature can adapt to. Not only that, but over the last decade while emissions are getting worse, the average annual temperature in the US has gone down! Here is a link to a useful chart: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2008/dec/Reg110Dv00Elem02_01122008_pg.gif . I see spikes since records were first kept in the late 1800s and these go in vague flows that cannot be tied to any events I know of. Maybe a geologist knows of some events.

    I would be interested in the tons-per-capita on emissions for all nations. I agree the US over consumes. If other countries wish to make the same mistake, let ’em. If other nations want to develop more inefficient industries that are more costly in the long run, let ’em. Or maybe they could study our mistakes and avoid them. I am all for more efficient and less polluting businesses and habits, but lets develop it naturally. We should never simply react to someone that claims to know more than us but has no evidence.

  6. 7 Kevin PE
    November 5, 2009 at 23:56

    Since climate change is linked to the burning of fossil fuels for energy I had always believed we would switch to an alternative source when the input cost vs profit became viable. The USA/China being the biggest energy users would have to find alternatives – so I thought. What I found during an internet search here – http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/SecondPage.html – although fairly lengthy is pretty scary. Here’s a short extract to wet the appetite – “But aren’t the big investment banks investing heavily in renewable energy?” “The large investment banks have concluded that renewable energy will never comprise more than a very small fraction of the world’s total energy profile. They have also realized the world is plunging into an era of massive energy wars. They are thus disproportionately moving their money into new weapons technologies over new energy technologies.” – After reading the article I don’t really think it’s about greed, we might very well be talking about survival.

  7. 8 Bert
    November 6, 2009 at 00:10

    Climate change or no, MUCH can be done in the US to reduce energy use. The simple fact is, fuel costs being as low as they are is not a lot of incentive for people to conserve. The story was different when gasoline was priced above $4 per gallon, however.

    But let’s not forget population. The US should not be compared with individual European countries, but perhaps more fairly, with all of western Europe combined.

    Also, lavish use of energy IS caused by the relative wealth of the population. Americans are no different AT ALL in this regard, to anyone else. Witness, for example, the way recent immigrants into the US behave, the vehicles they buy, their conspicuous consumption habits.

    Fact is, given the opportunity, the human being is one heck of a self-centered, selfish beast. On average. And yes, prone to sanctimpnious rhetoric too.

    • 9 Bert
      November 6, 2009 at 02:06

      I’d also like to add that conserving energy should be a worthwhile goal, without having to create this “in order to solve the climate change crisis” hooey.

      What happens when the word gets out that you aren’t changing the climate after all? Does that mean that wasting energy becomes acceptable again? I don’t think so.

      And of course the effort should center most on countries like China and India, which account for a huge fraction of the world population. As they prosper, any energy savings achieved in the US will be completely swamped by the sheer numbers in these other two countries. So if people are serious about sav ing energy, and not just interested in punishing the US for being relatively wealthy, the effort has to go where it will be needed most.

  8. 11 JanB
    November 6, 2009 at 00:12

    What are we Europeans doing then? I can’t think of even one truly effective measure my country (the Netherlands) has taken, sure we replace our lightbulbs with more efficient ones and we have more taxes then you can imagine for car owners, but our carbon emission isn’t going down at all.
    Everything we Europeans do sure makes us feel good about ourselves, especially if it means we can blame all of our problems on somebody else (the Americans) but in reality we aren’t doing much to stop climate change, even though we spend huge amounts of money on the matter (where does that all go by the way?)

    Americans have already done a lot (California’s measures are more effective than those of Europe, even though they cost less), just not on the federal level.

    You see it doesn’t matter how many Americans believe climate change is a threat (btw, you’ll be surprised to hear how many Europeans share their beliefs), all that matters is that pretty much every American, even former President Bush, wants to be independent from Middle-Eastern and Russian oil.
    Meanwhile the United States still is the most innovative country on Earth and I expect the United States to use technology and innovation to swiftly switch to alternative energy sources within the next few decades while we Europeans will only invent new “green” taxes in the foreseeable future and end up buying American technology after all.
    It seems Europe is more in the business of bribing a guilty conscience while America is more in the business of solving problems that threaten its prosperity.

  9. 12 claudine
    November 6, 2009 at 01:38

    That not America, but the Unites States of America (Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia etc. are America, too) is a selfish country is nothing new.
    Every country is selfish and the since the USA are the strongest thats why they can back their selfishness best through strength.
    What I dislike most is that their military, CIA, etc can commit crimes outside their own country but the USA demands that no one can be taken to court for it, and if taken to court then only in the USA.
    On the other hand the USA demands extradition of alleged criminals from other other countries to the USA idf the USA thinks they are guilty of something.
    The USA can be reckless and selfish because their weapons allow them to.

    • 13 Tom K in Mpls
      November 6, 2009 at 19:02

      If you consider the USA to be a few politicians, you are right. If you consider the USA to be the people, you will find many that support the general actions of the military but strongly oppose some of what the military is told to do. We also oppose most of what the CIA does.

  10. 14 archibald
    November 6, 2009 at 02:49

    The answer is an emphatic YES!!! For all the good people will tell you that the United States does all over the world, it has consistently proven ourselves to be profit motivated and oblivious to the costs incurred by those we exploit on a daily basis, (ie. its own citizens, foreign countries, and of course the disenfranchised refugees of all our current wars). Is it our responsibility to save the world? Balanced against all that we have done to destroy it in the limited time we have been this “great” power, I would say that America must shoulder a large portion of the burden, along with China, Russia, and Japan.
    If every country would follow the Scandinavian models and revolutionize their industries and transportation systems to support environmental consciousness, the returns would be incalculable for everyone.
    It seems so much like children who get caught doing something they know that they are not supposed to do. They just play coy and blame the other kids. Environmentalists and polluters alike, love to blame, meanwhile, things deteriorate right before their eyes and no one seems to care about anything, but, who’s to blame. It doesn’t matter anymore, we must simply stop polluting our dying world before it will no longer be able to sustain us. No argument can deny this simple truth. Unless, you live in a protected bubble with limitless food, air and water to consume. Sorry, I forgot that this was the land of plenty.
    Nothing to worry about then………Carry on.

  11. November 6, 2009 at 06:37

    America is a country, and not one person. You might as well have a poll on which country is the cutest? Or what country is the most generous country?

    Climate change is not an important REAL issue for most Americans. Almost everyone here is suffering economically. Most of us are anxious about the wars. Most of us are concerned about the heath care crisis. Global warming, aka “climate change” is a big bugaboo to that small cohort group of politicized greens, who “believe” that EVERYONE must do what they believe… or else! That said, many businesses and cities are cleaning up, and have been doing so for years.

    • 16 Halima Brewer
      November 8, 2009 at 13:50

      But remember that per capita, Americans are by far and away the biggest polluters on the planet. Therefore, they are more responsible whether they like it or not or whether they are aware of it or not. And it IS a big issue for the rest of the world who cannot divorce themselves as easily from the consequences of American behaviour.
      I really think this is one case where if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

  12. 17 John in Salem
    November 6, 2009 at 07:20

    Of course it is! In fact, we’re so selfish we’re actually forcing the rest of the world to desire our standard of living so that we don’t have to feel guilty about having it.

    • 18 James Ian
      November 6, 2009 at 11:34

      LOL, that’s Freaking funny!

    • 19 Halima Brewer
      November 8, 2009 at 13:52

      would that were true!!! America is not forcing anyone into its own standard of living – except in instances where a better standard of living has a direct impact on better profits for American companies. If it were really interested in other people’s standard of living, it might be more concerned for its own poor.

  13. 20 scmehta
    November 6, 2009 at 07:41

    America or the USA has always been on the forefront to help and solve most of the global problems, monetarily and leadership-wise both. Right now, after the global economic downturn/crises, it is one of the worst economically-affected countries. I’m sure, in the times ahead, when the economic scenario has sufficiently recovered from this severe setback, America will do all that it can or should, to again emerge as the top contributor, in every step of the way towards addressing/solving this most urgent global problem of pollution/global warming/climate change.

  14. 21 James Ian
    November 6, 2009 at 07:42

    Yep! But not all of us here.

  15. 22 ottilie
    November 6, 2009 at 08:26

    one word answer: yes.

    BO is trying to turn it around. Good luck to him.

  16. 23 Roberto
    November 6, 2009 at 11:33

    RE “” Is the US proving itself to be the most selfish country on earth? “”

    ——— US Big INC. are off the scale selfish, but the country when taken as a whole is extremely generous when official government and private foreign aid is totaled up.

    When the world starts running it’s affairs with efficiency, integrity, and justice, then the US need no longer be the Sugar Daddy to all the world and can devote it’s energies to it’s own neglected citizens.

    The global economic model is the root cause for the massive carbon footprint we see today, a product of varied international economic interests, so blaming the US alone is intellectually dishonest.

    I know that my personal energy usage and carbon footprint is much lower than many who scream the loudest about the environment, a modern twist to the old saw of “patriotism(environmentalism) being the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

    Until the US starts electing HONEST politicians with the actual ability to work for the good of the consensus without currying the narrow special interests, the US global footprint will be reduced dramatically since the current economic model is as dated as feudalism was in it’s dying days.

  17. 24 Nigel
    November 6, 2009 at 12:05

    All the good and bad things that the US does all over the world are for their own protection and in pursuit of maximizing their financial take from world involvement. Iraq has been a HUGE money spinner for countless American contractors, consultants and Christian missionary groups. Are the Americans wrong for doing that….heck no! Is the rest of the world wrong for allowing them to get away with it…..heck yes!

  18. 25 KARENBR
    November 6, 2009 at 12:30

    While thw world focuses intensely on the US and their greenhouse emmissions, the rest of the world proceeds with little or no control on pollution/global warming. The world looks at Brazil and watches rainforest destruction by fire and chainsaws, while in Rio de Janeiro the Companhia Siderurgica do Atlantico is being inaugurated and will produce 9,7 million tons of CO2 /year while the entire city produces only 12.5 mill tons /year of CO2. President Lula will go to Copenhagen and tell his usual lies which will be applauded as usual and everybody concentrates on climate war on America. Brazil’s industrial and mining expansion is practically unregulated and climate change disasters are already punishing Southern/S.Eastern Brazil with unprecedented floods and storms while the North perishes with droughts.

  19. 26 Ibrahim in UK
    November 6, 2009 at 13:35

    Capitalism = selfish greed. Most countries are capitalistic, the US is the most successful example of capitalism. As generous as the figures of US foreign aid sound, the vast majority are directed at supporting foreign policy (e.g. Iraq war, support for Israeli occupation and dominance of the Middle East, bribery for dictators etc).
    No capitalist wants to be put at a disadvantage vis-a-vis his competitors. Trying to force the US to reduce emissions at great cost without applying the same pressure and expectations to their competitors will be rejected. The morality of the US population does not determine US policy (the world would be a much better place if it did); big business and lobby groups do.

    • 27 Halima Brewer
      November 8, 2009 at 13:59

      I do not think it is capitalism anymore. The Capitalism of the 18th century to which we now rather fondly believe we still have is gone. Now we have corporatism which is economies and financial systems slowly but surely replacing political systems. America is not capitalist. If it were then it might be a good thing – fair competition for creativity and all that. There are remnants of that in the US, but mostly it is now along with China, Russia and Britain more of a corporatism – rule by mega corporations. If there is profit for the big guys – and only the big guys, then something will be done. If it means small- medium sized businesses, or whole groups of people suffer, well too bad. Flood a small island in the Pacific? not a flicker of interest. People losing homes? must be lay-abouts. Countries like Israel building illegally? not touchable. Raping the Amazon forest? good for profit? go ahead.

      You do not have a voice unless you can control over a few billion $$ or are closely connected to someone who does.

  20. 28 patti in cape coral
    November 6, 2009 at 13:46

    “Is the US proving itself to be the most selfish country on earth?

    How can you answer that question? There are selfish people and there are generous people, just like everywhere else.

    • 29 Halima Brewer
      November 8, 2009 at 14:00

      But collectively it is the most selfish. Of course there are good and bad people everywhere. But the main problems are when the good ones are silent. – or believe they are off the hook simply because they are “good”.

  21. 30 Peter-singapore
    November 6, 2009 at 17:59

    Do average americans want to reduce their foot print. If they do a little and help their employers a little, together they will be able to consume will help to conserve a big deal. Is american selfish. I judge by sound. Loud means , ‘yes ‘ . Quiet means they are giving it a thought.

  22. 31 Halima Brewer
    November 8, 2009 at 14:06

    I think it is a systematic problem – rather beyond saying whether people are selfish or not. This is a problem that will require a lot of people becoming almost activists, including Americans, and maybe because of their position as citizens of the greatest polluter in the world as well as still (though now fading) the wealthiest country in the world – and whether or not as individuals they are wealthy or working to become greener. – all of us must work hard because the powers that be are opposed to anything which does not show potential for profit.

    That is why so many Americans have been duped about health care reform as some sort of communist plot. They thought it was government control. The old health care system is corporate. It does not want change. Big business does not want change. They do not mind wars or poverty or the loss of entire communities because they (the super rich) do not believe they are vulnerable no matter what.

    This entire financial crisis is due to greed. And unless all of us work to make such a clammour that it cannot be ignored, it will be. American is selfish as a country – as are many others – including China. But America is in the position to lead as no other, so its selfishness is more central to the problem.

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