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The Environmental Debate
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  1. The Environmental Debate

  2. The Environmental Debate • The Environment and Politics • Since the 1970s, there has been a debate over the state of the environment and the role of government • Concerns about changes in the environment have gone together with the rise of industrialism in the world • Questions regarding the extent of environmental change and how it should be addressed is a hotly debated (no pun intended).

  3. The Environmental Debate • Why is this an issue? • Human activity since the 1800’s has had a drastic impact on the environment. • Industrialized economies have released pollution and destroyed natural landscapes • The fear is that these changes could eventually affect the livability of the planet.

  4. The Environmental Debate • Environment vs. Business • Another aspect of this debate is the extent to which the government should control pollution • Many argue that environmental legislation is harmful to business growth and employment • The fear is that regulating pollution will lead to a poor economy

  5. The Environmental Debate • A History of Environmentalism in the US • The Environmental movement gained much support throughout the 1960’s and 70’s • Supported by social movements • The movement was able to establish the EPA in 1970

  6. The Environmental Debate • Lake Erie on Fire: Little regulation led to environmental disasters in the middle of the 20th Century.

  7. The Environmental Debate • Influential books, such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, fueled an environmental movement which helped lead to the creation of the EPA and Earth Day.

  8. The Environmental Debate • The EPA • The EPA- Environmental Protection Agency • The EPA is a governmental organization designed to enforce environmental regulation and law • Mostly deals with the businesses and their release of pollutants • There is one Federal EPA; however, each state has their own environmental protection agency.

  9. The Environmental Debate • The EPA and Politics • Environmental law has become a very partisan topic. • Typically, democrats push for harsher enforcement of environmental laws • Republicans take a more conservative approach to environmental enforcement, citing that strict law hurts businesses ‘ ability to make a profit

  10. The Environmental Debate • The EPA and Politics • Environmental law and the EPA are subject to change based on the political landscape • In recent years, there has been more ease in the laws and money to the EPA than there was in the 1990s • The creation and enforcement of law is determined by those in government

  11. The Environmental Debate • Partisan Environmentalism (Case Studies) • The Clinton Administration (D): • Increased the authority of the EPA, money to the EPA, and signed the Kyoto Protocol. Argued that environmental regulation was not always bad for business • The Bush II Administration (R): • Argued that Clinton’s Environmental law was bad for business and was an overreach of government • Limited the power of the EPA

  12. The Environmental Debate • Political Cartoons from both sides of the debate.

  13. The Environmental Debate • Political Cartoons

  14. The Environmental Debate • Political Cartoons

  15. The Environmental Debate • Political Cartoons

  16. The Environmental Debate • Political Cartoons

  17. The Environmental Debate • The Greatest Environmental Debate: Global Warming • The last twenty years has witnessed the most hotly debated environmental issue in history • The debate centers around the issue of Global Climate Change—most commonly known as Global Warming • In the US, this argument has again fallen on partisan lines

  18. The Environmental Debate • What is Global Warming? • The Theory of Global Warming States: “The theory that the world's average temperature is increasing due to the burning of fossil fuels and other forms of energy resulting in higher atmospheric concentrations of gases such as carbon dioxide.” • Basically, the Coal and Oil we burn puts gases in the atmosphere that traps heat like a greenhouse.

  19. The Environmental Debate • Is Global Warming Real? • Majority of scientists feel that Global Warming is real • Some feel it is too early to tell if human activity is greatly changing the environment • Some argue that if Global Warming is not real, then drastic environmental action would only hurt business

  20. The Environmental Debate • Evidence for Both Sides • There is evidence which supports both sides of the debate • Majority of the scientific community believes Global Warming to be real • Most of the evidence focuses on the speed of the phenomenon • The question is whether changes in the climate are natural or not

  21. The Environmental Debate • Changes in the Climate • Most agree that there has been recent changes in average global temperature. Is it Human Activity? • Climate Change Indicators

  22. The Environmental Debate • Global Temperatures in the last 1,300 years

  23. The Environmental Debate • Photos of Climate Change

  24. The Environmental Debate • The Current Plan for Global Warming • The Obama Administration believes that Global Warming is something the government should address • Most active steps have been taken in regards to encouraging alternate forms of energy • Tax breaks have been given for: • Development of wind and solar power • Electric vehicles • Opponents argue that some steps are bad for economic development