Health care legislation is not where I’d normally expect to have found policy that will turn out to be good for the climate.
While the Obama administration has shown ingenuity in advancing clean energy despite a Congress that owes its fealty to fossil energy—by using the BLM, the EPA, the DOD , the DOE, and even an executive order—the health care bill might not be where I would expect to see climate-friendly law.
The question of the inclusion of family planning coverage in the soon-to-be-mandatory Obamacare has roused passions. This nation’s first feeble gropings towards universal healthcare coverage—something other civilized democracies take for granted—is to be fully implemented by 2014 (assuming the legal challenges fail).
The inclusion of contraception within the new health care bill has become some kind of a lightning rod shaking up the U.S. political landscape.
Issues that I thought had been long-since resolved back in the ’60s are now once more seething on the national stage, as if women having been on the pill all these years are some new outrage, the bra-burning woman’s libbers of the 2010s! Should a woman (and presumably the man in her life) be able to plan the size of their family or not?
The right is adamantly against it, turning the rather routine coverage in Obamacare into a national brouhaha that has nearly taken down the de facto head of the Republican Party for pretty much calling every American woman since the ’60s a slut for using birth control.
The left says women should be able to limit their families to what they can afford. But no one is asking what Mother Nature can afford.
It turns out that this should be in the very volatile mix too.
Two studies in 2010 found that improving access to family planning actually has a measurable effect on lowering carbon dioxide emissions. The two studies, one by the Futures Group and a second by the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, showed serious reductions. One in four births are unplanned, worldwide.
Providing family planning to all women who want it would supply 8 to 15 percent of the reductions needed to avert dangerous climate change. This is a pretty substantial percentage.