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According to NASA scientists, the first decade of this century was the warmest since record keeping began.

The World Meteorological Association’s data also indicate this warming trend is continuing, and 2010 will be among the warmest years on record. It’s very likely that this trend will worsen in coming years, and future generations will pay a great price for our messing around with Mother Nature.

Despite this warming (and other manifestations of climate change), the U.S. still has not ratified any treaty calling for mandatory reductions in carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Given that the U.S. emits the second greatest amount of carbon dioxide, U.S. support for mandatory reductions is needed to keep the planet’s warming from skyrocketing.

Unfortunately, the U.S.’s position is unlikely to change in the near future.

The recent elections saw an additional number of climate-change deniers or deniers of man-made global warming joining Congress. Given these new members, it is doubtful that any legislation mandating the reduction of carbon dioxide will be passed in the House. The prospects for such legislation coming from the Senate are also bleak.

Even if a bill were somehow magically passed, it is doubtful that it would be very strong.

For example, in 2009, the House, with its overwhelming Democratic majority and fewer doubters of climate change, passed a weak bill that demonstrated the influence of the energy and financial sectors. The Senate could not pass its own version of a bill dealing with climate change.

It is unconscionable that the White House and Congress have allowed and continue to allow politics and campaign contributions to get in the way of dealing with climate change and other important issues. It is clear that a small number of financial/corporate elite exercise undue influence on legislation to the great detriment of the U.S. public and the wider world.

Since our political system doesn’t work for the public good, we must change it as well as the economic system that has allowed a small number of elite to corrupt our political system.

Young people, whose future is at risk, must play a major role in finding a solution to the systemic problems in our system. I hope the youth are not as arrogant and ignorant as my generation has been and, in their search for a solution, are willing to learn from the experiences of other nations.

Ron Forthofer was the 2002 Green Party candidate for governor of Colorado.

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