Global Warming And The Old Confederacy
Tuvalu comprises nine coral atolls between Australia and Hawaii. Their highest point is 15 feet above sea level. As sea level has risen, Tuvalu has experienced lowland flooding. Saltwater intrusion is adversely affecting drinking water and food production. Tuvalu's leaders predict that the nation will be submerged in 50 years. The map above isn't Tuvalu; it's Florida by 2100 if the oceans continue to rise
In Monday's Inaugural Address, President Obama infuriated Confederate Republicans by bringing up Climate Change. “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms." Guess who saw that as a slap to their faces? And he even brought God into it... something they believe only they are allowed to invoke. “The path toward sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries-- we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure-- our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared."
This is a tough one politically. Republican financial backers-- Big Energy (which has dumped over a quarter billion dollars into lobbying Congress last year alone and has spent $419,749,114 on political races since 1990, almost all of it going to Republicans and Blue Dogs)-- have demanded that slowing down amelioration of Climate Change be non-negotiable. They have taken their case to the public, spending millions of dollars on misleading advertising and other media efforts. And it's paid off. The public is confused and unsure about global warming, climate change and Science itself.
There's an expected partisan divide on the question, with two-thirds of Democrats saying global warming is man made. That number drops to 48% among independent voters and is at 28% among Republicans.
The president tried and failed in his first term to get a climate change bill through Congress.
“We are going to lift our game in the interlocking challenges of climate change and energy,” said John Holdren, who is Obama’s top science adviser.
“Energy and climate policy are going to be a top priority,” added Heather Zichal, the top White House energy and climate aide.
...“On public lands alone, we have already permitted 10,400 megawatts of renewable energy power in the United States,” said Salazar, who is stepping down in March.
“We are going to achieve the President’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020,” Zichal told the crowd.
Other speakers included Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Obama administration officials have touted several first-term policies like substantially toughening auto mileage standards, but the administration also faced setbacks on climate change and energy, including the collapse of emissions-capping legislation in Congress.
The president has yet to fill in the details of his second-term climate agenda.
Climate advocates are pushing for several executive actions. Among them: Environmental Protection Agency's establishment of carbon emissions standards for existing power plants.
“While the president can, and must, move aggressively to use executive powers to reduce pollution and reject harmful projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, he also must help lead an effort to pass strong legislation that moves our nation away from polluting fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
“Next month, I will introduce comprehensive legislation that will charge the fossil fuel corporations a fee for their carbon pollution. My legislation will end fossil fuel subsidies, and as the president called for, make historic investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. This bill will also ensure that all Americans receive a rebate to offset any efforts by the fossil fuel companies to jack up their prices.
“The president and Congress have made some good progress in his first term, including significant investments in clean energy and strong new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. To put meaning into the words he eloquently expressed in his Inaugural Address, and to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren, we must do much, much more. We must do nothing less than transform our energy system away from fossil fuels into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. When we do that we will not only lead the world in a new direction but create millions of jobs in the United States.”
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