Ill-Willed Ingenuity This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


      Fifteen European countries and the United States, backed by 14 LatinAmerican countries, met in November in Brussels, Belgium to discuss details of atreaty established three years ago in Kyoto, Japan. This treaty called for majorindustrial countries to cut back on emissions of "greenhouse gases"(which includes carbon dioxide produced by gasoline and other fossil fuels). Aharrowing 24 percent of greenhouse gases worldwide can be attributed to the U.S.,which is attempting to dodge measures that would limit its output.

Thenegotiations also state that the U.S. should take action to reduce its levels ofatmosphere-crippling pollution, rather than create legal loopholes that allow itto fulfill the treaty's rules without noticeably decreasing carbonemissions.

Apparently, the U.S. is using ill-willed ingenuity to gain"pollution credits" without doing much, if any, real work. Pollutioncredits are gained as emission levels decline. For a nation's carbon emissions tobe considered a non-threat to the environment, it needs to gain a certain amountof points to correspond with the level of emissions deemed safe by the treaty.The U.S. wants to evade this by trading points, especially with poor and/orindustrially underdeveloped nations. This would be a good deal for those nationsbecause, in return for giving the U.S. their emissions points (for work the U.S.didn't do), they would get money to become more industrialized and lessimpoverished (I am sure the countries' morals would be no match for a lump sum ofthe good ol' American dollar).

The U.S. is not only cheating itself, butalso the rest of the world. Our toxins damage the ozone layer, weakening it andcausing it to allow more heat to pass through. There's a theory that by the year2100, the Earth will warm up by as much as six degrees Celsius. Consequently,ocean levels could rise more than 50 centimeters, which would in turn threatenmany islands and large swaths of coastal areas in China, Southeast Asia andAfrica. This is all likely to occur because the "greatest nation onEarth" refuses to make an obviously worthwhile compromise which would savemuch hassle (for lack of a better term) in the future.

One major issuethat may concern those in the market for a new car is that if the U.S. agrees tolower its emissions levels, it would have to produce cars that aren't as damagingto the atmosphere. This would, of course, increase the price of a new car. TheU.S. says this would affect the economy to an extreme degree because the numberof cars purchased each year would be greatly reduced. Is this reason enough notto reduce emissions? Can we really be in such a complex situation that westruggle to decide whether we should preserve Mother Earth or oureconomy?

Not to say anything against my homeland - I am extremely thankfulto live here - but I firmly believe this point-trading issue (which, to me, is amoral one more than anything else) should be abolished. We should set an examplefor other countries and prove that we, as one of the most industrial nations inexistence, can also be non-threatening to the environment. The environment istruly the most precious thing we have, and it will, if properly cared for,outlast even humankind.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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