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How does the climate change affect politics?

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Introduction – Up until weather and the environment considerations become very important that the government actually started taking proactive action to influence the different aspects involving weather and the environment; humans usually dismiss the affairs involving the climate and weather as the result of the whims of the Gods. Before the age of reason and scientific approach, farmers would conclude that the long dry spell is God’s way of letting them know that the god is somewhat displeased, as much as devastating tempest is also a way of showing God’s wrath.

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The patterns of long dry and hot periods of the year and the chilly, rain-soaked months that replaced the dryness of the previous summer are all attributed to God. Man did not know, until recently, that it would eventually be man’s fault that there is such a very important point of concern today as climate change.

Now that a vast network of politically motivated entities and institutions has a direct involvement in the manner by which climate and weather is being managed, it is hardly difficult to imagine how the growth of the issue of climate change have affected and would still affect the landscape of local and international politics.

            There has been much ado about climate change, but the truth is not all of those who have consistently encountered the term ‘climate change’ understand fully well what climate change means and what this phenomenon is all about. The Earthwatch Institute official website (www.earthwatch) explained that climate change is also known as global warming, and that this is a phenomenon which is a result of the fact that some of the gas that was supposed to be radiated towards space returns to earth and causes imbalances in the weather and climate.

The coming to the awareness of the world of the reality of climate change was a very significant phenomenon that it was designed to change the way politics and related social relationship aspects will be undertaken. Cass explained that “The international and related domestic responses to climate change provide an important opportunity to explore the interrelated processes of international norm emergence and domestic political responses to a new problem. To what extent did the debates over norms influence state interests and behavior, and conversely to what extent did domestic politics affect the emergence of international norms?” [1]

            The impact of climate change on politics – Climate change has affected politics in many different ways. One of the most evident impacts of climate change on politics is that climate change broadened the scope of politics and political concerns that politicians face. Elected officials are required to address concerns on climate change, especially if that political official is serving in a locality which greatly experiences the impact of climate change. This is also a chance for those who have political reputations as environmentally sensitive to use their power to effect change.

Rabe said that “George W. Bush and Christine Todd Whitman may well have signed into law policies that will achieve greater levels of greenhouse gas reduction than those approved by any other elected officials in the United States during the past decade.”[2] Rabe added that “These policies are in no way associated, however, with the federal offices they assumed in 2001. Instead, their environmental reputations reflect major policies that were approved during governorships in Texas and New Jersey, respectively”[3]. Bush and Whitman maybe considered as examples as leaders who both saw the emergence of the problem of climate change not just as an opportunity for grand standing but as a chance to be more firm in their previous actions that placed environmental concerns above consumerism and capitalism.

            Another example of the impact and effect of climate change in politics is that climate change provided a new platform for those seeking re-election or first time election to different public office positions. Like what was mentioned earlier, there are places wherein climate change is a serious business, making it one of the important tools that politicians will use to woo the voting public to vote for them.

Today, most of the local and national candidates include the discussion on their plans and efforts about climate change in their regular campaign speeches, using this as a leverage to convince the people to vote for them.

A clear example of this case happened during the campaign of Hillary Clinton. One of the staff members picked a college student to plant a question about climate change. Evidently, the spin doctors who resorted to this sort of stunt understands that people put importance on what politicians have to say on climate change, and that is why climate change questions help politicians with prepared answers to look good in front of the voting public.

Other candidates during that time, including the two personalities set to a showdown for the US presidency namely John McCain and Barack Obama, used the significance of global warming and climate change to help boost their popularity level that can earn them party nominations and votes from the voting public.

Another example of the effect of climate change in politics is the reshaping of the relationship of pressure groups, the politicians, political parties and the general public.  As what DiMento and Doughman explained, “Partisan politics can explain some but not the entire story of the official US position on climate change. Democrats generally have supported official cooperation in international agreements on climate change, and Republicans generally have been skeptical if not downright opposed, but this breakdown does not tell the whole political story.[4]

Because of the rise of global warming and climate change, even members of the same party or those with previously agreeable political relationships with each other seemed to be divided by the issue of global warming.

This is due to the political action that has been happening to address global warming (i.e. money being funnelled for global warming and climate change, political favors that cannot be accommodated to make way for global warming and climate change efforts, etc). Some politicians do not take global warming and climate change seriously while others feel otherwise. The differences start there and work their way to the top tier political arena where showdowns involving climate change and global warming happen until now.

Take for example the battle between the advocates of weather and climate and the corporate entities – now that both the impact and the cause of climate change has been identified, advocates for the environment have openly battled the perceived causes of climate change and worked hard for the stoppage of the operation of these companies or at least worked hard so that they can slow down the act of destruction of these companies and the degree of the contribution of these companies to the continued worsening of the environment leading to climate change and its effects.

            The battle is not always on the streets during protests; more importantly, the battle is being fought using every usable political platform. Political leaders, because of the issue of climate change, are now torn between the public where votes and hopes for re-election rest, and the private companies, to which financial support during candidacy rests.

Usually, both sides lobby hard so that the legislative powers of the elected officials are exercised creating outcomes which are favorable to their cause. There are no clear victors; sometimes legislations that are passed are designed to protect the environment, creating restrictions and sanctions that impact corporate entities. Sometimes, political actions involving the environment and the climate favor companies.

Regardless of the outcome, one clear impact of climate change in politics is that politicians are burdened with a new responsibility  that makes it more difficult for them to please their financial supporters (which are usually big time business entities) and grant these companies favors via the use of the power available at the politicians disposal.

            Conclusion – Climate change is one of the important issues that the modern day faces. The significance of the presence and effect of climate change is so enormous that it reshaped the manner by which local and international politics are taking its course. The field of politics is just one of the many different fields of social interaction that is seriously affected by the creation of the climate change phenomena, and how climate change affects politics is found in many different ways.

The fight for survival by surviving climate change has affected politics, and whether the people like it or not, politics and the political attitude inside a country or society should change and find a way to accommodate the features of the climate change concern.

Isham writes that “the ethical framework that American environmentalism inherited from nineteenth-century New England further stymied its ability to rethink politics and shake itself free of habits that once worked but now clearly harm the movement. Too many environmentalists have treated politics as something simple and important. Well, politics bit back.”[5]

Because of climate change, politicians saw new opportunities as well as new burden that will complicate their decision making and make difficult the manner by which they interact with business entities who are looking for the support of politicians for the business to flourish and would require from them actions that is sometimes against the best interest of the fight for staving off the ill-effects of climate change.

            Because of the effect of climate change in politics, climate change also impacted the relationship of institutions present inside the society. Climate change opened opportunities for those who have the inclination towards saving Mother Earth to use their current position in the political landscape to do something positive; the rest simply use the phenomenon to achieve their own personal goals, not knowing that in the end, the defeat of mankind’s battle versus climate change and its ill effects will have very serious and lethal repercussions to everyone, regardless of political roles, alliances and inclination.

Bibliography

“Blue Planet in Green Shackles.” Global Warming (2008), [Database on-line]; available from

            http://www.globalwarming.org/

Cass, Loren R. Failures of American and European Climate Policy: International Norms,

            Domestic Politics, and Unachievable Commitments. Uday Desai (Editor).State

            University of New York Press, September, 2006.

DiMento, Joseph F. and Doughman, Pamela M. Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our

            Children, and Our Grandchildren. MIT Press, September 2007.

“Earthwatch’s response to climate change.” Earthwatch Institute Australia (2008), [Database

            on-line]; available from http://www.earthwatch.org/australia/about/climate_change

Isham, Jonathan, Waage, Sissel and McKibben, Bill. Ignition: What You Can Do To Fight

            Global Warming and Spark a Movement. Island Press, July 2007.

“Obama, Clinton and McCain on global warming.” Local Warming (February 5, 2008),

            [Database on-line]; available from

            http://local-warming.blogspot.com/2008/02/obama-clinton-and-mccain-on-global.html

Rabe, Barry G. Statehouse and Greenhouse: The Stealth Politics of America Climate Change

            Policy. Brookings Institution Press, February 2004.

Welch, Chris and Schechter, David. “Student Describes How She Became a Clinton Plant.”

            CNN.com (2007), [Database on-line]; available from

            http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/13/clinton.planted/index.html

[1] Cass, Loren R. Failures of American and European Climate Policy: International Norms,

                Domestic Politics, and Unachievable Commitments. Uday Desai (Editor).State

                University of New York Press, September, 2006. p. 1.

[2] Rabe, Barry G. Statehouse and Greenhouse: The Stealth Politics of America Climate Change

                Policy. Brookings Institution Press, February 2004. p. 1.

[3] Ibid. p. 1.
[4] DiMento, Joseph F. and Doughman, Pamela M. Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our

                Children, and Our Grandchildren. MIT Press, September 2007. p. 121.

[5] Isham, Jonathan, Waage, Sissel and McKibben, Bill. Ignition: What You Can Do To Fight

                Global Warming and Spark a Movement. Island Press, July 2007. p. 196.

 

Cite this How does the climate change affect politics?

How does the climate change affect politics?. (2016, Oct 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/how-does-the-climate-change-affect-politics/

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