It drives me nuts when Americans chant (whether in so many words, or not) "We're number 1! We're number 1!"
No, we're not.
The United States lags northern European nations economically, having a higher Misery Index. We've got a greater proportion of our citizens in prison than any other nation, leading China in absolute numbers even though China has four times as many people. Our health care non-system is the unenvy of the world, costing much more and being less effective than that of other countries.
And we're also near the bottom of scientific literacy among industrialized nations. The proudly know-nothing Republican party bears a large share of the responsibility for this disgraceful state of affairs.
Witness the fact that the Congress of the United States, because of Republican head-in-the-sand science deniers, has failed to acknowledge the pressing need to deal with a steadily warming world.
The promise to cut emissions was contingent on Congress passing an aggressive cap-and-trade bill. But that 2,000-page bill went into the trash instead of onto the president’s desk. The Great Recession briefly achieved what Congress didn’t — national emissions fell for a short time. But no longer.
“Starting in 2010 it looks like we’re starting to see an uptick again, and you would expect to see emissions continuing to increase in a business-as-usual case out to 2020,” says Kevin Kennedy at the World Resources Institute….
“Nowhere else in the world do you see a political debate about whether climate science is real, whether or not the climate is actually changing,” Kennedy says. “That political climate makes it very difficult to move forward in a comprehensive way. And that is something we need to address in this country.”
Nowhere else in the world. So we're number 1 in at least one area: denial of reality. Unfortunately, this isn't an accomplishment the United States can be proud of.