One of the pollution apologists’ most annoying arguments against taking action on climate change is that, while climate change is real, and human responsibility for it is firmly established science, the United States and other wealthy nations should not do anything about it until developing nations take action first. American action won’t be enough on its own, the industrialists say, and Americans ought not to do anything at all. It’s an argument that makes as much sense as a sailor saying that he won’t repair a leak on the side of the boat until another sailor starts bailing water.
Thankfully, there are people in Washington D.C. who can see reason more clearly than these corporate hacks. Among them is Senator Daniel Akaka, Democrat from Hawaii. Akaka concurs that there is indeed a need for developing nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but instead of just throwing up his hands in the air and wishing things were different, Akaka proposes a sensible remedy.
Akaka notes that the United States is already legally obligated to provide non-nuclear, economically and environmentally sustainable, energy assistance to developing nations. That legal obligation was created by Title V of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act passed by Congress 31 years ago. Last year, the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism noted that Congress has yet to act to fulfill its obligations under Title V.
To remedy that problem, Senator Akaka has introduced S. 1675, the Energy Development Program Implementation Act. S. 1675 would require the Department of Energy to develop and implement a plan for non-nuclear, sustainable energy assistance in developing nations. Furthermore, the legislation would create an Alternative Energy Corps, a peaceful force of technically-trained American volunteers who would go to developing nations and help the people of those nations to create environmentally sustainable energy infrastructure.
I hope that the Energy Development Program Implementation Act is passed, because I would love to get the technical training required and the join that Alternative Energy Corps for a time. So far, there are no cosponsors for S. 1675. Please contact your two United States senators and urge them to support this important bill to support both climate change action and nuclear nonproliferation.