In this article Easterbrook takes a look at the different views concerning global warming. He talks about Al Gores’ position that we much have immense lifestyle changes to make a difference, and also compares it to the opposing view that any changes would have drastic negative effects on the economy. He then presents his way of thinking on the subject, which is in conjunction with efforts taken to correct previous air pollution issues.
Easterbrook points out that the urban fog and acid rain were thought to be as insurmountable as the current greenhouse gas issues. Through strict regulations the air pollution was decreased and the damage corrected. In both of these cases the measures proved to be cheaper than expected. He points out that even though global warming is on a larger scale due to its global nature and widespread oil consumption, even slowing the rate of this buildup would give rapid progress to the situation.
Easterbrook focuses on the ever negative discussion of the problem, from the extreme of it being unstoppable, to financial ruin, to it just being a hoax, as keeping any real progress from happening. He talks about the large scale of the problem making it insurmountable to the minds of people causing this overly negative view instead of proposing solutions. He shares his view that this seems so impossible to tackle because the public has never understood that previous air pollution crises were corrected, that it has been somewhat of a secret.
Polls even show that people think the air is worse now than before, while the scientific evidence is otherwise. He blames the constant bashing of the political parties as part of the problem. Neither the democrats will admit that the air quality has improved to make republicans look bad for ruining the air, and republicans won’t admit that the democrat’s regulations helped. As long as the situation is shown in such a dismal light, it will be thought of as unsolvable.
Easterbrook addresses the thought that even if the United States were to make small corrections, any advances would be overtaken by other countries that contribute a much larger scale amount of these greenhouse gasses. He does however point out that if one country would make a small step, other countries might follow in their footsteps and use similar measures that they see working to make corrections in their own part of the world. He reminds readers that the advances against other ypes of air pollution in the past came from the United States and are now being used elsewhere.
Easterbrook gives his position that Americans are just the people with the ingenuity and brilliance to take on a global problem like this and find a way to correct it, but as long as government keeps the negative overtone it will not even be contemplated. He calls upon a politician to recast the issue in a positive manner in order to get more attention to it. He states that while it seems too big to tackle, that only prevails as long as we do nothing to try.