FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Fell-Swoop Moment Missed

“We have been too kind to those people who are destroying the planet ~ inexcusably, unforgivably, insanely kind.”

— Derrick Jensen, author of Endgame

As the bell rang in the U.S. House of Representatives, announcing the 219-212 vote for passage of the Waxman-Markey climate bill, also known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), the skies over Washington, DC ripped loose with a mighty storm.

Visibility was cut to a couple of feet as a torrential down pour was accompanied by hail that raised a ruckus so loud inside the car that conversation was impossible. Tourists with inadequate umbrellas were left with skin stinging from the pelting. There were small waves cresting on the Potomac River and flash flooding. Local areas got several inches of rain in less than an hour. Large trees bowed, split and littered the streets.

At least 2 people in the Washington, DC region died from the storm. Forty-year-old, supermom Kelly Murray of Chevy Chase, Maryland and her 7-year-old daughter Sloane, died when a fallen tree branch crushed them in their mini-van on Connecticut Avenue. Murray leaves a husband and 4 daughters: Maeve, Jillian, Quinn and Meghan.

With the evidence of catastrophic climate change coming more clearly into daily focus, President Obama dared to say, “We’re not going to get there in one fell swoop.” Mother Nature seemed to declare, “I beg to differ, Waxman-Markey, simply will not do.”
“Vital authority for the EPA is stripped, but 2 billion additional tons of pollution are authorized every year, forever. Residential consumer protection incredibly is entrusted to the mercy of utility companies. Exempting a hundred new coal plants and paying billions to Old King Coal leaves him, indeed, a very merry old soul. This bill is 85% different from what President Obama proposed months ago,” said Brent Blackwelter, President of Friends of the Earth, one of the groups opposed to the House version of the bill.

Even The Washington Post, which has grown increasingly conservative, said in an editorial, “Congress should deliver a bill to Mr. Obama this year. But given that congressional action could set a template for years or decades, we think it’s too soon to settle for something that falls so far short of ideal,” as the House version of the bill does.

Environmental and energy advocate, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) was in the minority voting against the bill. He and, “It won’t address the problem. In fact, it might make the problem worse.

It certainly seems as if the lights may be on, powered by dirty coal, but there is nobody home in the U.S. House of Representatives. Did they miss the report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1990 when they said we must cut greenhouse gas emissions 60-80% immediately? Were they unconscious when in 2001, the IPCC said that the problem was 50% worse than originally predicted?

Has Congress missed the rapidly receding Arctic ice? Did it not register with them when Katie Walters reported in Science Magazine that methane, the greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, was bubbling out of the arctic, taking humanity into the dreaded phase, where climate change may be beyond human control?

Were U.S. House members on recess when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently said, “The most comprehensive modeling yet carried out on the likelihood of how much hotter the Earth’s climate will get in this century shows that without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago – and could be even worse than that.”

By the time that we should have atmospheric greenhouse gases under control, The Breakthrough Initiative said of the ACES bill: “If fully utilized, the emissions ‘offset’ provisions in the [bill] would allow continued business as usual, growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions until 2030, leading one to wonder: where’s the cap in the ‘cap’ and trade?”

Let’s take a lesson from the failed experiment with cap and trade in Europe. They started with a commendable goal: to cut greenhouse gases by making companies pay for each ton of CO2 they emitted. But that plan, let loose lobbying pandemonium that led politicians to give favors to industries, blunting the environmental mission, just as Waxman-Markey will do, in its current form.

Four years later, the European system has so far produced no benefit to the climate – but has generated a multibillion-dollar bonanza for some of Europe’s biggest polluters. The New York Times reports that a German power company received $6.4 billion in the first 3 years of the system and that the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by plants and factories, has not fallen in Europe – instead it has risen an average of about half a percent in 2006 and ’07.
Hope is fleeting that the U.S. Senate will bring better sense to bear on climate legislation than the U.S. House, but if they do not, humanity may be screwed. With a filibuster-proof, Democratic majority including the recently affirmed, Al Franken (D-MN), fixing Waxman-Markey ultimately rests with one person — Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) of Connecticut – who was the lead sponsor of an even weaker bill in 2003.

At a time when serious leadership is needed to cut greenhouse gases 80% below 1990 levels by 2025, the inadequate greenhouse gas cap in Waxman-Markey cuts greenhouse gas emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% by 2050. A plan for achieving meaningful cuts in greenhouse gases is easily stated: Get off the fossil fuel economy and transition to a 100% clean, renewable, non-nuclear energy economy within 10 years. Stop all logging, mining, grazing and drilling. America, this is your climate bill.

KARYN STRICKLER is a political scientist, grassroots organizer and writer. She is a senior fellow with the Center for New Politics and Policy. Karyn is the producer and host of Climate Challenge on MMCTV. You can contact her at climatechallengetv@gmail.com .

 

 

More articles by:
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savoir
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail