“Clean” Coal: An Insulting Oxymoron.
As sea levels rise to record highs on American shores, President Barrack Obama has emphasized that climate change is beyond debate—a necessary statement given that a recent Time magazine survey of five countries has shown that 60 percent of Americans are reluctant to recognize the eminent danger of climate change, in comparison to 29 percent of Indians. Yet Obama’s words do not match his own ‘two-way policy’ on climate change—one for home and one for abroad.
Reduction of greenhouse gases from America’s power plants has largely been met by cutting consumption of dirty coal. Instead of being burned at home, however, it is exported to Asian, energy-hungry markets, especially China, where in Beijing the level of air toxicity is 40 times above the limits prescribed by the World Health Organization.
Sales of dirty coal might offer wealth and employment opportunities, but a world-leading nation like America should stick to a policy of global parity.
European Union’s After Shock
The European Union’s single market project was rejected by an increased number of voters in the E.U. parliamentary election held in May of this year. Significant support was shown for Eurosceptic, nationalist parties in a vast swath across Europe’s political landscape—from France and the United Kingdom, to Italy and Greece.
It is evident that Brussels’ red-tapism and heavy handed dictation of national affairs were unacceptable to many voters. The anti-E.U. attitude has resurrected the ultra-nationalist political movement and neo-fascist worldview which was nearly laid to rest after the Second World War. Now, they are shaping into political forces that cannot be ignored.
Economic concerns and hostility to immigration are driving this new nationalism. Disillusionment spreads as workers from poorer eastern countries share in a shrinking job market. And the cultural clash of increased numbers of immigrants is pushing conservative voters in preference to national border controls. The E.U. single market policy, however, was built on the four pillars of the free movement of goods, services, capital, and laborers. Restrictions of any sort between member states will have ramifications on market growth.
Brussels should reduce its role in national governments as the voters contend in order to maintain cohesion in the Union. Unfortunately for nationalist movements, the intermingling of cultures will necessarily follow the intermingling of economies. For those that consider it a drawback, however, it is a small price to pay for a stronger, more stable Europe that has outgrown its 20th century turmoil.
— Probir Kumar Sarkar (Editor’s Comment, Summer 2014)
To read more articles from the Summer 2014 issue, subscribe to our eReader edition.