LightWorks’ Clark Miller calls for rethinking of sovereignty, energy policies


Clark Miller, associate director of the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO) and associate professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University, wrote an article discussing the potential of a national referendum on climate change in the United States. The article, “Are we sovereign?” was featured as a contributing piece in The Hill. Read the article here.

The article reflected on Scotland’s recent challenge of its people to vote on whether to remain a part of the United Kingdom or to become an independent nation. Miller correlated this historic vote to the current challenge of the United States to confront climate change, specifically the ways in which we produce and consume energy. According to Miller, the United States will soon face the issue of whether to agree to make changes to our current energy system or to live with the consequences of not doing so. Miller explores areas of philosophy, our constitution, and economical markets to conclude that it is indeed possible for the United States to be sovereign over our energy systems and the future that they will bring us. The only thing that appears to be holding us back is ourselves. Whether we like it or not, every choice we make determines our future. We have agency over our decision to mitigate climate change and transform our current energy systems whether we are conscious of it or not. Below is an excerpt from Miller’s article explaining this further:

Will we get the chance to have a national referendum on climate change in the United States? It might seem not, but the answer is yes. This November, we will vote on climate change. And next. And 2016. Every vote we take; every purchase we make; every time we plug a new technology in. Every time we make a choice, whatever it's about, it has ramifications for how tomorrow's energy systems will evolve.

Just as Scotland was able to determine their future as a nation, we will soon be able to concretely determine ours in terms of our energy systems. Miller brings up an important point to exercise our right to vote in order to create the world we wish to see. If we choose to work together to mitigate climate change, we can create the low-carbon and just energy system that we need for our future. The question is, will this be the choice we make?

Written by Gabrielle Olson, ASU LightWorks.