If you tuned into the two conventions, you witnessed only a brief mention of one of the most startling distinctions between the parties and candidates. It is also the issue that worries me most as a citizen of the US and world. Global warming is here, it is man-influenced and we better be planning to do something about it.
The title of this post references the first part of a quote issued by Governor Mitt Romney in his acceptance speech. After uttering the line “Obama is pledging to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet,” he noted “my promise is to help you and your family.” I will set that aside for now, as most of the GOP positions on issues will actually be more harmful to average families than good. Yet, if we at least believe he believes what he is saying, in the context of ignoring what everyone else on the planet is seeing about global warming, are Romney and the GOP really helping “you and your family?” And, when you add gutting the EPA, it makes the question asked even more important.
On the flip side, we did hear the President mention climate change in his speech and address the increased miles per gallon (mpg) standards on new cars and moving to alternative energy, natural gas, and clean (he did use that word rather than cleaner) coal. He also mentioned keeping the air cleaner while doing this, which I interpreted as a reference to keeping the EPA sound. But, I wish he had been more direct, as he is “on the side of the angels” on this argument. Gutting the EPA is about the most ludicrous course of action imaginable.
As a former Republican who left the party in 2006 in part due to their ostrich-head-in-the-sand stance on global warming, I have been troubled by how far behind we are on this issue. Germany is ten years ahead and China is ahead of them on eco-energy planning. Germany will be 80% alternative energy powered by 2030 and we will still be getting our act together, unless we develop and execute a bi-partisan plan. We have a lot of success stories, but we seem to hide them and not celebrate our local and regional eco-energy solutions. I was stunned to learn we have wind power in 38 states, e.g.
I also am amazed by the many hypocrisies in my former party which lead me to question the veracity of Romney’s quote. His quote was meant in an economic context and was an attempt to belittle the President for trying to do the right thing to combat global warming while taking his eye off the ball – again that is a subject for other posts. Yet, a sound eco-energy strategy in light of the global warming crisis is extremely critical and is most definitely looking out for you and your families.To do otherwise is poor stewardship and will harm the fiscal and physical health of those families.
In my mind, the GOP is more concerned about you before you are born than after you are born. After you are born, you are free to load up on automatic weapons and 5,000 rounds of ammunition, you need not worry about health care because you cannot afford it after they kill Obamacare and gut Medicaid and you need not trouble yourself with the EPA imposing air and water pollution standards on corporations because they are people, too. The fact that the Koch Brothers have about 100 pending violations imposed by the EPA and that the petro-chemical and oil/ gas Industries are the biggest polluters on the planet and have caused more illnesses and deaths than they would care to admit adds up on the side of the ledger that has “More Concerned with Profits than Your Family” as its title.
What it comes down to is the GOP cannot admit publicly what they know individually that global warming is happening and is man-influenced. The seas are rising, yet the state led GOP legislatures and its presidential candidates cannot admit that they are accelerating. In NC, the GOP led legislature would not accept an audited report that said the NC coast would see a 39 inches sea rise by the year 2100. They would only accept a report looking backwards (this is a metaphor for taking the country back) that projected only an 8 inches increase by 2100. Stephen Colbert lampooned them for literally holding back the tide with legal briefs.
There are many stark differences between the two parties and campaigns. To me this is a huge stewardship issue and the GOP is failing the test right now. I would argue by denouncing climate change, deferring eco-energy planning, accelerating fossil fuel development, and gutting the EPA is not a “promise to help you and your family.” I believe it is a promise to make money for the funders of the GOP effort. I guess I am naive to think we should look out for our people, but to hear a GOP convention crowd stand and applaud for comments like these is offensive and not in the best interests of our citizens.
I don’t want to leave people with the impression Obama is doing a huge amount in this regard. He is doing some good things, but he needs to lead us to doing more. He needs to make this a very visible issue. We need an eco-energy plan that will survive his term. But, even with his not doing enough, to vote in the R&R team would truly take us backwards and we would lose even more time on global warming planning and the EPA would lose its ability to govern the polluters. So, on this issue, it is a stark contrast between the move forward or backwards. And, we cannot afford to move backwards on this as we are late in the game already.