As noted in earlier posts, one of the key reasons I abandoned the Republican Party is its refusal to admit what every other formal body on the planet recognizes – that global warming is here and we need to do something about it. I have been reading an excellent book by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandlebaum entitled “That Used to be Us” which speaks to how the US has lost its competitive position and can try to win it back. I highly recommend this book to all politicians and leaders as it clearly addresses our issues and discusses our needed paths forward, which are already tardy. I would add the authors are pretty accomplished, so their opinions matter more than others who do less homework.
Regarding global warming they point out we have a war on math and science in this country which is mind-boggling to them, but also our global competitors. The GOP stance on global warming is but one of these “ostrich-head in the sand” positions that is extremely foolish and goes against the facts, which are overwhelming. As noted in an earlier post, Newt Gingrich is being vilified for appearing with Nancy Pelosi saying he was wrong about global warming. He should not be vilified for this change of heart as he is on the side of the angels now.
The book notes that the top 255 scientists in the US published an open letter in one of the more well read science publications stating that global warming is occurring and we need to act now. This was published in the Spring, 2010. I won’t repeat earlier posts which cite other beliefs, but suffice it to say the position by the GOP is highly detrimental to the US and our planet.
Messrs. Friedman and Mandlebaum note the following key points. Our failure to adequately plan for and address global warming runs counter to why America has been successful over time . They relate it to our Sputnik moment, when Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson responded with an investment in math and science when the Soviets launched the first satellite. They galvanized our efforts to put someone on the moon. Our failure to address global warming is akin to these presidents saying “oh well” and letting the Soviets claim space.
Not only are we harming the environment and our ability to survive on the planet, from a US perspective we have handed over our advantage to companies based in China and Germany. In fact, some of the solar and wind power designs were created in the US, yet we have let others pass us by costing Americans business and jobs. And, since scalability is an issue, it is more important to build a foundation to grow from. So, our competitors are building foundations while we dally.
And, it is not just wind and solar. China is building far more clean coal plants than we are. We need to retool our older coal plants with greater regularity. It was good to see the Duke Energy/ Progress Energy merger held up until the two made a written commitment to address this issue. Coal can never be clean, but the new scrubbers make it more viable until the other technologies can be fully scalable.
Rather than repeat some earlier posts, let me close by saying the two authors have noted addressing global warming as one of the keys to turning the US ship around. I would add their book is much more holistic than this. I encourage you to read their book and hold our GOP candidates accountable on global warming, in case one of them defeats a president who has done more on this issue than given credit for (mileage standards, investment, advocacy), but still has been woefully short on what is needed. I fear a Republican win will truly “take us back” rather than forward.