Politicians use do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do policies

Copenhagen is only one example of heads-of-state not practicing what they preach to the rest of us
Article by: Jeff Fish

In an effort to curb climate change and lower carbon emissions, the countries of the world came together for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and managed to accomplish nothing while creating more pollution.

Airplanes had to fly to other airports because Roskilde airport in Copenhagen couldn’t hold them all. Cars had to be imported from Germany to cart around all the heads-of-state because apparently they’re too important to carpool.

The conference was supposed to be a monumental step forward in the international effort to protect the environment, yet it was held in a location that couldn’t sustain all the traffic and the leaders attending the conference failed to accomplish their goal of reaching a binding agreement.

This is not the first time politicians have told citizens what to do while holding themselves to different standards.

A prime example of this hypocrisy comes from former Vice President Al Gore, who became a leading voice in the climate change debate after leaving the White House. He even won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts and an Academy Award for his film, An Inconvenient Truth, but when the film came out in 2006 his 10,000-square-foot house in Nashville, Tenn. used 12 times more energy than the average house in Nashville.

In contrast, George W. Bush’s 4,000-square-foot ranch in Crawford, Tx. used geothermal heat pumps, among other environmentally friendly features. To be fair, Gore has since had added changed to his house to make it LEED certified, but did he do this out of love for the environment or because people caught on to how much of a hypocrite he was being?

Another proponent of going green, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, actually opposed putting up wind mills in Cape Cod, citing a possible danger for birds in the area. In truth, these windmills would pose little to no danger to wild life in the area and would provide enough energy to power 420,000 homes. Those opposed to the Cape Wind project aren’t concerned for wild life as much as they are about their ocean-front views being obstructed by structures that appear as large as a thumb from the shore.

Investing in clean energy would go a long way to way to helping not only the environment but the economy, which is especially important at this juncture. We need to do our best for the environment while at the same time watching our wallets. But if policies like this can’t be enacted in our country because of personal agendas, how can anything be accomplished internationally?

The Copenhagen conference was an example of backdoor politics at its worst playing out on the world stage. Agreements were made during the conference, but it is unclear whether all the countries in attendance will adopt them, or how these agreements could even be enforced.  According to the BBC, most delegations did not even know about the agreements when the U.S. announced them.  This lack of transparency could not have sat well with other countries, and is definitely not the way forward in terms getting nations to agree on anything.

The point is, we have all these politicians telling us what we need for our country or the world and how to live our lives, while they themselves live large and seem unwilling to give anything up from their comfortable lifestyles. They tout all their ideas but are unwilling to compromise, creating a gridlock so that nothing is accomplished. If politicians really want to make changes—in this case with climate change—then they must lead by example. They must make the sacrifices that they ask us to make and stop talking down to us with their do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do mentality.