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Global warming is not a question nor is it a debate in terms of existence. Carbon dioxide levels have skyrocketed in an age that where the multitasking human being is burning a mind-boggling amount of fossil fuel per day than ever before.

The depletion of the ozone layer in cohorts with the consequences of DDT and other pesticide uses has increased the number of people diagnosed with skin and thyroid cancer by tenfold. The global temperature has risen 1.4 more degrees, diminishing the glaciers, thus causing the ocean levels to rise. There has been a correlation between climate change and an elevated surge in El Niño and La Niña storms. Coral bleaching is destroying a habitat for thousands of aquatic organisms and flora.

What do the GOP candidates plan to do in order to mitigate these dire consequences? Not as much as one would hope for the sake of humanity and the planet we call home.

Like in the case of Ron Paul, most classify the entire notion of climate change as a “hoax” or as Rick Santorum put, a “beautifully concocted scheme.”

It’s not insane to suggest that the environmental agenda is not the first and foremost priority; it’s understandable to put health care and the economy that are currently more pressing matters before an issue that has more latent consequences. However, to speculate that the world-renowned scientists of today are sitting in their dark laboratories, twirling their mustaches, contemplating ways to manipulate the general public is flat out irrational.

To completely disregard an entire scientific theory, calling it filthy hogwash, is not having a difference of opinion; it’s having an unhealthy amount of hubris and closed-mindedness. Now if a GOP candidate were to argue whether human activity or the Earth’s natural cycles are at fault for climate change is an absolutely different story. Milankovitch cycles and the Earth’s tilt have proven to alter the climate significantly. Moreover, just as I’ve mentioned previously this debate was not under wraps; the existence of climate change is still mundane in the eyes of the majority of the GOP candidates.

This approach of treating the idea of climate change as the epitome of rubbish explains why those who oppose justify market cap and trade policy which clouds the reality of emission levels in order for businesses to avoid fines for over-polluting.

Leaving aside party tendencies, one cannot simply cast impenetrable doubt just because the candidate belongs to the GOP nor can they blindly entrust the presidency to a Democrat. The impertinent issue is that the potential candidate is capable of taking an unbiased analysis of the raw data at hand, and realizing that deteriorating the planet at exponential rates is not exactly the plan for success.

One extreme is not better than another; whoever is able to take the matter into logical consideration by encouraging sustainability, waste management, decreasing anthropological air pollution and minimizing reliance on nonrenewable resources is what we should be aiming for in a candidate on the topic of global warming. We need to take crucial steps to combat climate change, but we must do so without irrevocable stepping on too many prominent toes.

Furthermore, we need to take into account for the American reputation in terms of environmentalism and geopolitics. The country that normally leads the way in terms of innovation has lagged behind the trail blazing status of Japan, Switzerland and New Zealand. Critics raved at our conspicuous absence at the Kyoto Protocol which, for it was detrimental to its success in lowering greenhouse gas emissions world wide due to the gargantuan influence the United States has as a world power. Participation in the Copenhagen Conference made significant process in improving America’s eco-friendly image, but still many countries believe the U.S has given too little, too late.

We are treading on very thin ice (quite literally when discussing the polar ice caps melting). It’s imperative that we have a course of action that can: appease a compromise between the two main parties, establish an international distinction as an example in environmentalism and at the same time do what is best in the Earth’s interest. So basically I’d advise anyone concerned with this issue to be familiar with the individual candidates’ policies and not rely too heavily on party trends.

Tracy Ratledge is a first-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at tratledg@uci.edu.

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