Wednesday, June 04, 2014

It's Not Totally Fair To Blame The End Of The World As We Know It On Republicans, When The Culprits Are Corrupt Conservatives Across The Spectrum


Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., writing today for the National Memo, made a reasonable point: While Our Planet Melts, GOP Pleads Ignorance. It was illustrated by a portrait of John Boehner.

It is irreversible now. And there’s a word that should get everybody’s attention. Last month, two groups of scientists, publishing separately in the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters, issued reports that came to alarmingly similar conclusions: The melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet has reached a point of no return. If greenhouse gases stopped spewing forth tomorrow, we’d still face the grim prospect of steadily rising seas from this unstoppable melt.

So it would be a good idea to save what ice we still can. Or else condemn our grandchildren to vie for beachfront property in St. Louis on a planet of shrinking land, diminishing resources, and growing population.

This week, thankfully, the Obama administration-- once noteworthy chiefly for its disinterested torpor where climate change is concerned-- proposed politically risky new Environmental Protection Agency standards requiring deep cuts in carbon pollution levels at U.S. power plants by 2030. And the opposition party? Their attitude is summed up by the headline of a recent story on Politico: “Republicans on climate science: Don’t ask us.”

Writer Darren Goode reports that the GOP has adopted a new global warming “talking point.” Which is that they are not equipped to talk about it. As in Speaker John Boehner telling reporters, “Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change.” And Florida governor Rick Scott demurring that, “I am not a scientist.” And a spokeswoman for the billionaire Koch brothers, the deep pockets of the right wing, saying, “We are not experts on climate change.”

The gutlessness, disingenuousness and sheer cynicism of this new tack are difficult to overstate.

For the record, most of us are not experts on climate science. But most of us have the good sense to listen to those who are.

The right, however, prefers to pretend there is some sort of “debate” in the scientific community over whether human activity is raising the temperature of our one and only planet. There isn’t. Indeed, that finding is accepted by 97 percent of climate scientists. This, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science that, with 121,000 members, is the world’s largest general science group.

…Here is an idea. The two parties should work together as if they were composed of adults to find a way to save our planet. Instead, the GOP is buck passing with an eye on the midterms. Ninety-seven percent of experts say we don’t have time for these shenanigans, yet Boehner and company pretend there’s still some kind of “debate” going on. Ninety-seven percent.

Maybe the GOP isn’t good at science, but surely they understand basic math.

Blame the problem on Republicans alone, however, is only part of the story. Yes, theirs is the party with heads buried in the sand-- or up their own asses-- but conservative Democrats, particularly two kinds of conservative Democrats, i.e., the non-courageous types and the corrupt, easily bought-off types, are just as bad for the health of our species. Take pitiful New Dem Ann Kirkpatrick, one of Congress' worst Democrats. This week:
"The EPA’s new rule is another example of Washington’s lack of understanding when it comes to rural and Western energy issues. I oppose this new rule because it hurts my district, which has four coal-fired plants that power Arizona’s big cities, small towns, businesses and residences. These plants also provide good-paying jobs in our tribal and rural regions. The Navajo Generating Station in Page, for example, employs hundreds of people, mostly Native Americans, and provides nearly all of the power for the Central Arizona Project. That means our entire state has a big stake in the energy production and economic stability of these plants. We need to find a balance between protecting our local economies while pursuing the longer-term goal of producing clean, affordable and reliable power. I will not support efforts that kill jobs in my district and lack provisions for responsibly transitioning us toward a clean-energy economy."
Only 17 Members of the House have perfect crucial vote scores on Global Warming. And not a single Republican has even a passing grade. The half dozen "best" GOP scores-- Chris Gibson (R-NY), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) are worse than all but a tiny handful of the worst Democrats in Congress. Most Republicans earned ZERO on the Global Warming lifetime crucial vote score. There are also two Texas Democrats on that list of zeros, Pete Gallego (Blue Dog) and Filemon Vela (New Dem). The other Democrats working the hardest with the Republicans to make the planet uninhabitable are Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA), Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL), Steven Hosford (New Dem-NV), John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Gene Green (D-TX), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), Bill Foster (New Dem-IL), a self-proclaimed scientist, Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA), Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ), and Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC). As bad as the Republicans? Absolutely. And many of them are on DCCC life-support. So if you are serious about Climate Change, just stop, just say no-- no more money to the DCCC unless they stop financing Democrats working to destroy the planet.

Will blaming conservatives do anything to change their behavior? I'm not sure but a couple days ago the Washington Post had some pretty dire news for Climate Change Deniers in politics.
A lopsided and bipartisan majority of Americans support federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that also finds most are willing to stomach a higher energy bill to pay for it.

Fully 70 percent say the federal government should require limits to greenhouse gases from existing power plants, the focus of a new rule announced Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency. An identical 70 percent supports requiring states to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions within their borders.  (Read everything you need to know about the EPA's proposed rules).

Democrats and Republicans are in rare agreement on the issue. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans, 76 percent among independents and 79 percent of Democrats support state-level limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Strong tea party supporters are most resistant to limits on emissions by states and power plants; 50 percent say the federal government should impose caps, while 45 percent say they should not.
Kirkpatrick-- sometimes a staged p.r. shot can be deceiving

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At 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's be precise. It is not imminent destruction OF THE PLANET but, rather, destruction of the planet's ability to support the human species.

We are dealing with a suicidal obsession with profit over life.

John Puma

At 4:19 AM, Blogger KurtVB said...

What ever happened to the coal industry's and the power industry's championing of "clean coal"? I thought they said that their clean coal technology would reduce carbon emissions. I guess they are just saying that that was all B.S.


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