Congress needs a ‘general will’

By Larry Ty Holmes, Opinion Editor

Last Wednesday, President Obama and Xi Jinping jointly announced an agreement between China and the U.S. to lower carbon emissions.

“The United States would emit 26 percent to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. That is double the pace of reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020,” the New York Times reported.

President Xi promised that clean energy sources will be a fifth of all China’s energy production by 2030 according to The New York Times.

The principal is to encourage other countries to make their own emission goals for “a strong global climate agreement in 2015,” said Secretary of State John Kerry in an op-ed to The New York Times.

This is hopeful news everyone will be anxious to hear more about when powerful countries gather to discuss climate change in Paris in 2015.

A depressing consideration, with a very Republican Congress, Obama’s initiatives will more than likely be undermined.

We can only hope that Republicans will be more understanding and sympathetic toward the people they represent. Everyone remembers the government shut down more than a year ago when Republicans demanded that the legislation fund the government, and also defund Obamacare. The animosity in that ordeal is an example of politics clashing with “the general will of the people,” said political philosopher Rousseau.

If we use Rousseau’s thoughts we can reason how Congress may be illegitimate.

In a nutshell, the general will of the people is the capability of all people to work toward the common good, which is expressed through laws. Being a part of “the will” is to develop a sense of justice in the interest of the people rather than of individuals.

With this, any legislation passed, or not, by Congress that doesn’t follow the will of the people is illegitimate in the representation of the common good the people of the U.S. strive toward.

The will of the people is to minimize the degradation of our environment because we now know the value of sustainability, but Congress will prevent serious action towards emission control.

This announcement tells that global climate change is a major crisis and a threat to all people, and Congress is the stage of an American oligarchy bent on denial to maintain profitable industries that also harm the environment, such as fossil fuels.