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Should Universities charge Students a fee for climate change?

College tuition in many cases is a big expense to begin with but now universities are adding a fee for climate change.  Over 218 universities and colleges signed a pledge on

November 19, 2015 at the White House to promote clean energy and climate action ahead of the United Nations climate negotiations in Paris on November 30, 2015. While I am for protecting the environment the push to increase the philosophy of climate change has become political.  Getting colleges and universities involved in this philosophy is another overreach by government to control various aspects of our lives in this case our colleges and universities.  This trend to get students to pay a fee for climate change to provide a means for colleges and universities to honor their pledge should be reversed.  It appears the point of getting these educational institutions to make this pledge is to provide some evidence the United States is doing something about climate change that the President can take to the negotiations.

The full acceptance of the philosophy of climate change in this country is far from being reality.  The media has played and is playing a part in this battle.  I can see these educational institutions and others providing some methods or suggestions to students to protect the environment but they should not be forced to pay a fee for such activity.  Climate change or what was once called global warming whether it exists or not is a battle which will not go away anytime soon.  Coverage of the statistics whether they have been manipulated or not to support this philosophy has been widely covered but those who disagree with this philosophy have seen little if any coverage.  There have even been reports that results of research have been altered to support the conclusion that changes in our climate is occurring.  The coverage given to those who disagree with the existence of climate change or global warming has been one of criticism rather than an honest evaluation of their statistics.  There is no dispute that there are changes in our climate but it is the normal process of weather changes from year to year.

Governments around the world are spending millions if not billions on the assumption that the evolution of weather will eventually impact the oceans to such a degree that coastal cities will be flooded.  Another problem involved if it is proven to exist is what actions can us as individuals take to impact our climate if it is indeed changing.  The amount of tax dollars in our country and the money spent in other countries seems to be all about pushing this philosophy of global warming or climate change as it is now called.  With the Internet there is much information about global warming but as with anything else it is difficult to know who and what is reliably presenting the information.

It is not just about the money government is spending but the push that government knows best how to spend our tax dollars.  I am all for protecting the environment and making preparations to address any climate changes that may affect our daily lives.  Each country is different and has different circumstances and changes or actions necessary with regards to global warming or climate change will be different.

Individuals and our government is fast to make statements when major weather events take place that they are a result of global warming or climate change.  Supporting these statements with factual evidence does not exist or at least the statistics to support these statements.  Each year there are snowstorms, tornados, hurricanes and floods and the severity of these events are different from one year to another.  The term El Nino has been used many times by weather forecasters and is an example of a natural climate change that does not occur each and every year.  The explanation of what El Nino represents is below:

“an irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes affecting the equatorial Pacific region and beyond every few years, characterized by the appearance of unusually warm, nutrient-poor water off northern Peru and Ecuador, typically in late December.”

The point to be made in the description of what El Nino represents contradicts the conclusion of climate change or global warming. It is an irregularly occurring and complex series of climate changes it is not something which is constant.  According to forecasters they sometimes refer to cycles of weather changes and whether we are at the point of below normal temperatures or above and whether we are at above normal precipitation or below.  It always referred to as weather cycles.  It is a normal progression of changes and does not mean it is associated with any weather related trends such as global warming or climate change.

One point to make about the United Nations negotiations on climate change is that if we sign any agreement it is a treaty which must be approved by the Senate.  Each country is has their own culture and environmental conditions and allowing any country to take another to court over the failure of meeting climate goals is contrary to our individuality as a country.  Creating a world action on protecting the environment is not the issue as we as individuals and as a country should do what we can to protect the environment.  The problem is can we have a significant impact on our climate and would the money allocated be wisely spent given the difference in statistics supporting or refuting this philosophy.

Reports have indicated in places exhibiting glaciers that they are melting while in other locations the area covered by ice is getting larger.  It is unknown what is causing these changes and the reason for the differences from one area to another.  I believe that not everything we do impacts the climatic changes occurring but if the connection can be proven then actions may be necessary to make the appropriate changes.  The key point is that there needs to be a solid connection between our actions as individuals and as a country need to be confirmed and with the data being reported as a result of research and analysis provides no clear cut connection.  As stated earlier in this article we may agree on an overall issue such as global warming.  Agreeing an issue exist is not the problem it is the approach to address it.

The overall point of this article is that colleges and universities should not charge students additional fees in conjunction with their pledges on climate initiatives.  The breakdown of the costs of college in most cases is not as transparent to some degree as they should be.  Adding another fee for activities which relate to climate initiatives is makes one wonder where this extra money will be applied

 

 

 

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Dennis AuBuchon

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