Thursday, September 16, 2010

November Election Prospects Forecast Grim Future for Climate

There's no question that Democrats will lose seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives in November. The question is how many. Current projections show the Republicans taking control of the House as well as the possibility of their capture of the Senate. Americans are upset that the economy has not improved under two years of Democratic leadership in both the Legislative and Executive branches, and primary elections are indicating a widespread movement to oust incumbents. Even incumbent Republican Senators like Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have been unseated by Tea Party contenders in their primary elections.

What really scares me, though, is the sweeping acceptance among Republican candidates that climate change is a non-issue. Under the leadership of Henry Waxman, House Democrats undertook the boldest steps in the history of our country to combat climate change, and the Senate completely failed to follow suit, with the most ardent climate legislation advocates in the Senate now acknowledging that nothing will be done this year. When, then, will something be done? Knowing full well that the demographics of Congress will change in 2011, advocates have been pushing the Senate hard to enact strong legislation this year. But now any chances to do so have passed, and the future looks unprecedentedly dismal.

With the defeat of moderate Republican Mike Castle (R-DE) on Tuesday to Tea Party Favorite Christine O'Donnell, every single Republican Candidate for the United States Senate this year either denies the reality of climate change or questions whether it is anthropogenic.

How can every single candidate in one of the two major parties in our country completely deny the broad consensus of experts in the climatology field? How do they all have such hubris that they think they know better as politicians than scientists who actually know what they're talking about? I understand if you don't want government to do anything about climate change because you're a libertarian and want markets to solve all your problems, but at least don't deny that it's real. (Incidentally, most of the Republicans running for Senate seats are far from staunch libertarians.)

So we've squandered the best chance we'll probably have in a generation to do something about the greatest global crisis we're facing, and things will only get worse in the foreseeable future unless the Republican party does a 180 on the issue. In the meantime, our Republican friends in the current Senate are still trying their damndest to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial polluters, and Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) is still leading the charge to delay EPA action, arguing that climate change regulation should be a legislative matter.

The irony actually hurts.

Image: Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Alaska Republican Senate Nominee Joe Miller (Politico)

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