Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Will Republicans Choke On The Filthy Air And Water They're Forcing On Their Own Constituents?


Late Tuesday afternoon Bernie Sanders sent out the above tweet to his nearly 400,000 Twitter followers. In all likelihood he was looking across the aisle at the crackpot Republicans competing for their party's nomination. Even if some of them actually do recognize the dangers of climate change and understand the urgency of responding to it, none of them would dare admit it going into a primary dominated by a lunatic fringe that gets virtually all its information from the charlatans and sociopaths on Hate Talk Radio and Fox News.

Polling has shown that this urgency on climate change is shared by a majority of the American people, 58% of whom support the EPA's Clean Power Plan to limit carbon emissions. 40%, primarily Republicans, oppose the plan, but that 40% is who the presidential contenders are playing to.
Top Republican presidential candidates took turns attacking President Barack Obama's new Clean Power Plan unveiled Monday to combat climate change, dismissing the new rules to slash carbon emissions as "radical" or "irresponsible" or "a buzz saw on the nation's economy."

Missing from the crowded field of contenders were any alternate proposals to address the growing threat, which many Republicans doubt is linked to human activity despite overwhelming scientific consensus... Jeb Bush called the rule, aimed at reducing the 2005 levels of emissions from coal-burning power plants by 32 percent in 2030, "irresponsible and overreaching," saying in a statement it "runs over state governments, will throw countless people out of work, and increases everyone’s energy prices."

...Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dubbed it the "Costly Power Plan" and dismissed it as "a buzz saw on the nation's economy. I will stand up for American workers and stop the Costly Power Plan." His campaign referenced a May 21 letter he wrote indicating that his state wouldn't be able to comply with the emerging rules without "significant and meaningful changes."

Seeking to top them both was Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who called it a "lawless and radical attempt to destabilize the Nation’s energy system" that was "flatly unconstitutional."

The issue promises to present one of the starkest divisions between the two parties. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton called the president's plan "a significant step forward in meeting the urgent threat of climate change." In a statement, she took a shot at her Republican rivals. "It will need defending. Because Republican doubters and defeatists-- including every Republican candidate for president-- won’t offer any credible solution," she said, adding: "They refuse to accept science."
Bernie Sanders summed up the dilemma Republican politicians find themselves in.
I understand that Republicans, including those running for president, are dependent on the Koch brothers, oil companies and other fossil-fuel contributors. Maybe for once they can overcome the needs of their campaign contributors and worry instead about the planet they are leaving their kids and grandchildren and young people all over the world.
Maybe, but not likely anytime soon.
Even relatively mainstream conservatives in Congress-- take Fred Upton of Michigan, for example, since the committee he chairs should be working on this and he steadfastly refuses to permit any serious work in the area-- act out of fear of the teabaggers and the willfully ignorant. Speaking of Upton, environmentally concerned professor Paul Clements is running against him again this cycle and just released this new video explaining who he is and why he's running:

If you'd like to help make sure Clements replaces Upton in 2016, you can support his grassroots campaign here.

Yesterday four environmental groups announced they would be coordinating a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign targeting four Republican senators who face reelection fights next year and are all climate-change deniers. Below, for example, is the Sierra Club ad that will be running in Ohio against incumbent Rob Portman. The other three targets are equally backward reactionaries: Richard Burr (NC), Pat Toomey (PA) and Ron Johnson (WI).
"Polluters and their congressional allies have made dismantling clean air and climate protections a top priority this year," the groups said in a Tuesday statement launching their campaign.

"Unfortunately, Senators Burr, Portman, Toomey, and Johnson have joined in by fighting to allow the big polluters to continue pumping unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air," they said, citing droughts, wildfires, storms and other effects of climate change that show that "these senators need to start placing public health and safety above the profits of corporate polluters."

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