Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Paid-Off Conservatives Are Already Working To Scuttle The Climate Change Agreement-- Can Bernie And Raul Stop Them?


The Paris climate talks just wrapped with a historic agreement between 195 nations. But if you thought the unanimity addressing climate change on the global stage reflects a similar consensus here at home, think again. As the NY Times reported yesterday, "President Obama hailed the landmark climate accord reached this weekend as 'the best chance we’ve had to save the one planet that we’ve got.' To the Republicans vying to succeed him, it was almost as if the deal never happened. In a stark display of the partisan divide in the United States over climate change, the Republican presidential candidates have said almost nothing about the Paris Agreement, even though whoever succeeds Mr. Obama will be tasked with carrying it out. Of the nine who will participate in Tuesday’s prime-time debate on CNN, only Gov. John Kasich of Ohio would provide an assessment of the deal when asked on Sunday."
The near-silence among Republicans is a striking illustration of the vastly different roles that climate change is playing in the presidential primaries for the two major parties. In some ways, the ardor among Democrats to address it-- and the lack of interest among Republicans in discussing it-- makes it seem as if the parties are on different planets.

“It’s willful ignorance,” Daniel J. Weiss, a senior vice president for the League of Conservation Voters, said of the Republicans, predicting that such dismissiveness of climate change would be a liability in the general election.

The gulf between the parties also raises questions about what will happen once Mr. Obama leaves office. The climate accord requires countries to come back in 2020 with stronger climate plans than they already have.

..."America is not a planet," Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said in September, explaining that he did not want to "destroy our economy" by placing restrictive regulations on companies.

...In a speech this year, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas mocked Mr. Obama’s assertion in his 2015 State of the Union address that no issue posed a greater threat to future generations than climate change. "A beheading is a far greater threat to an American than a sunburn," Mr. Huckabee said.

Last month, he posted a message on Twitter that the country needed "a commander-in-chief NOT a meteorologist-in-chief."

...Last week, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas described climate change as "the perfect pseudoscientific theory for a big-government politician who wants more power." He also said recently that Mr. Obama "apparently thinks your having an S.U.V. in your driveway is more dangerous than a bunch of terrorists trying to blow up the world."

Donald J. Trump has been particularly critical of the efforts to address climate change. In recent years, he has described it as a hoax and suggested that it was invented by the Chinese to hurt American manufacturing.

"Weather changes, and you have storms and you have rain and you have beautiful days," Mr. Trump said in September. "But I do not believe that we should imperil the companies within our country."
Republicans used the Paris Climate Conference to prove themselves every bit the pollution-lovers we already know they are:
They threatened to shut our government down over any deal President Obama strikes before he even left for France. It seems they’d rather grind country to a halt and gut the economy than contribute to any kind of solution to warming globe.
They voted on the very same day the Paris talks started, to attack EPA protections designed to keep the most harmful emissions from coal plants out of the air that we all breathe. Because… you know… clean air is so overrated.
Senator Bernie Sanders saw right through the GOP's politically opportunistic climate denial and called them out as the industry shills that they are:
"The scientists are virtually unanimous that climate change is real, is caused by human activity and is already causing devastating problems in the United States and around the world. And, they tell us, if we do not act boldly the situation will only become much worse in years to come in terms of drought, floods, extreme storms and acidification of the oceans. Sadly, we now have a Republican Party that is more concerned about protecting the profits of Exxon, BP and Shell and the coal industry than protecting the planet. While fossil fuel companies are raking in record profits, climate change ravages our planet and our people-- all because the wealthiest industry in the history of our planet has bribed politicians into ignoring science."
But before you start thinking that the GOP has gone nuts huffing its own fumes, I have to warn you that some squishy Democrats are starting to sing the same tune.

To be fair, they aren’t trying to undermine the global effort quite as blatantly as the Republicans. Instead, like their friends in the GOP, they’re flirting with an end to the longtime oil export ban, which would hand Big Oil a huge victory at the expense of public health and the entire environmental movement. That ban may become a casualty of DC gluttony-- a bargaining chip used in an over-bloated omnibus spending bill that gives every corporate shill a piece of the pie.

We can’t allow the success of Paris to be turned into a "one step forward, three steps back" situation. Here’s what Congressman Raul Grijalva, Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee told us:
"No political concession is worth handing Big Oil this kind of victory. The world is making historic progress towards curbing climate change, and it is unfathomable that some in the Democratic Party would join with career-long pollution cronies to undermine a protection that has been in place for four decades. Lifting this ban would be a black eye for everyone who negotiated in good faith for 9 years leading up to Paris. We must be united in our resolve that climate change cannot be solved through half-measures, and send a message that we will hold anyone who undermines progress accountable for their actions."
Writing for for New York, Jonathan Chait saw the climate agreement as "probably the administration’s most important accomplishment" and, in his words "a BFD" but warns that conservatives have a very different agenda. "[T]the United States is the only country in the democratic world that has a major party that questions the scientific theory of anthropogenic global warming. Conservative parties abroad often take more market-oriented, or perhaps less-ambitious, approaches toward limiting carbon emissions. But the stance taken by the Republican Party, in which respected leading figures endorse kook conspiracy theories, is simply not heard anywhere else. And even the Republican leaders who hesitate to openly endorse conspiracy theories utterly dismiss any international action to limit greenhouse-gas emissions."

This morning, in the spirit of uniting voices, Blue America is asking people concerned about the future of the planet and mankind-- hey, not everyone is-- to consider contributing to Bernie's and Raul's election campaigns, a way of fighting back against the selfish conservative predators. We already have one political party that is bought and sold by polluting industries. We can’t afford to have a second, but the only way to stop that is to ensure our candidates win in November.

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