In what may be the greatest single example of misplaced priorities since I ran in front of a moving van to pick up a nickel, congressional Democrats are pressuring their leaders to drop any legislation aimed at curbing the upcoming WeatherPocalypse before the 2010 elections.
Penthouse Letter-knock off media outlet Politico reported this week that several brave Senators have had just about enough of this “legislating” nonsense.
“Bruised by the health care debate and worried about what 2010 will bring, moderate Senate Democrats are urging the White House to give up now on any effort to pass a cap-and-trade bill next year.
“I am communicating that in every way I know how,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of at least a half-dozen Democrats who’ve told the White House or their own leaders that it’s time to jettison the centerpiece of their party’s plan to curb global warming.”
That’s leadership, folks: buckling under pressure, and, in the process, coincidentally pleasing your corporate overlords. Sure, some pansy-ass greeny pinkos might say something dumb like, “the weather doesn’t care about election cycles,” to which I would reply, “look, Poseidon, pull that Redwood out of your ass and do something useful, like working to get Bleedin‘ Ben Nelson reelected, because of Hope.”
Thankfully, the Democrats’ cowardice is receiving the scorn it deserves, at least from a few people. Ezra Klein’s post from yesterday about this topic is well worth reading. He quotes at length from a Guardian article that describes the hellish world we’ll see from a 2 degree Celsius temperature increase:
“The heatwaves seen in Europe during 2003, which killed tens of thousands of people, will come back every year with a 2C global average temperature rise. Southern England will regularly see temperatures around 40C in summer. The Amazon turns into desert and grasslands, while increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere make the world’s oceans too acidic for remaining coral reefs and thousands of other marine lifeforms. More than 60 million people, mainly in Africa, would be exposed to higher rates of malaria.”
As both Klein and Matt Yglesias note, these Senators aren’t against taking action to reduce greenhouse emissions; this handful of cowards is against taking action because they’re afraid they will suffer a political or financial consequence.
Both Yglesias and Klein also describe the Senators’ deliberate inaction as “frustrating,” presumably because you can’t write for the Washington Post and refer to Senators as “a fucking disgrace.” Luckily, T/S is a bit looser.
In the same way that the continuous bombing of Muslim countries surprisingly creates resentment in Muslim countries about all those bombings, actively refusing to take the necessary steps to limit America’s carbon emissions–thereby sentencing the Earth to the fate described above–might create some resentment from the rest of the world. Between Obama’s disappointing showing at Copenhagen and Congressional Democrats who are willing to postpone the most important legislation of the new decade, ostensibly because of percieved political vulnerabilities, there is no institutional engine for action on climate change in our government. And the GOP is doing everything in it’s power to bring on the End Times as quickly as possible, maybe on purpose.
As Ian Fry, the Tuvalu delegate to the conference in Copenhagen, explicitly said while there,
“It is an irony of the modern world that the fate of the world is being determined by some senators in the U.S. Congress.”
It’s an irony and a goddamn tragedy, considering how a few of those Senators are handling their responsibility (from the Politico article):
“We need to deal with the phenomena of global warming, but I think it’s very difficult in the kind of economic circumstances we have right now,” said Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who called passage of any economywide cap and trade “unlikely.”
“I’d just as soon see that set aside until we work through the economy,” said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).
“Climate change in an election year has very poor prospects,” added Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
Cap-and-trade, a policy that many claim doesn’t go nearly far enough to limit America’s carbon output, is apparently too radical a notion for this country. Considering that in America the debate about climate change is whether or not it’s real, the Senate’s cowardice is even more disgraceful. We’re collectively telling the world to fuck off, we’ll get to it when we get to it. But as Ezra Klein reminds us,
“It’s important to note that the consequences don’t become correspondingly more nightmarish as you move up the scale; they become exponentially more nightmarish, in part because they unleash new forces that further accelerate warming.”
I sure hope the Democrats keep all their seats in 2010!