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Yale Environment 360

Better Than Here?

Yale Environment 360

Yale Environment 360 tackles the question of what's Europe got that the US doesn't when it comes to living sustainably. Nancy Anderson weighs in with a comment. Join the discussion.

Nancy's Comment:
Ms. Rosenthal does a credible compare and contrast job. Surely, in daily life for many Western Europeans, it is easier to walk the low-carbon-walk than in the U.S. That said, most European Kyoto Protocol signatories are missing carbon reduction goals and suffering from rising vehicles-miles-traveled. Then there's Eastern Europe, but that's a discussion for another day.

This isn't to excuse the United States' inexcusable inaction on a national scale. Passing a federal climate law, warts and all, would be a very good thing as would contributing to the next international climate treaty. Will these things come to pass? Don't know.

Still, it's worth pointing out that the EPA is moving ahead on increasing auto fuel efficiency standards and controlling CO2 emissions as a pollutant. The DOE is spending $$ on clean tech R&D. Some brand name corporations are leaving the Chamber of Commerce because of its hostility to climate action. Cities are passing energy efficient building codes, offering green incentives and installing smart electric power grid controls.

There's a lot to be said for local action as the cradle for the infrastructure of life changes that Ms. Rosenthal identifies as necessary to becoming a greener society.