Republicans Need a Climate Strategy

“If conservatives plan on winning the White House back, we’ve got to have something on the menu that addresses this felt need for action on climate.”
—former South Carolina congressman Bob Inglis

Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina is in the running as a possible contender for the GOP ticket in 2016 for President of the United States. Interestingly, he’s been talking recently about how Republicans need to come up with a real policy regarding global warming and climate change. And that means he has to figure out how to keep the deniers in his party under some degree of restraint.

In Graham’s own words:

I think there will be a political problem for the Republican Party going into 2016 if we don’t define what we are for on the environment. I don’t know what the environmental policy of the Republican Party is.

That’s no easy task given the way his party rolls. For your consideration:

a) Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is promising he’ll fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline and diminish the power of the Environmental Protection Agency so they can’t interfere with his goals of exploiting fossil fuels forever.

b) a bill brought forward by Texas Congressman Steve Stockman refers to what is being called the “Stockman Effect Act.” In a nutshell, its purpose is to study the effect of our planet’s magnetic field and determine its impact on weather. (Anything to detract from what we humans are doing to the climate.) Continue reading

The Maldistribution of Wealth

“It is neither wealth nor splendour; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.”
—Thomas Jefferson

I love this video. It explains the major discrepancy of wealth that exists in the U.S., and makes good points arguing that things need to change, arguments that are hard to contradict in my mind. Spend a few minutes watching this, and then I’ll point out what its significance is to fighting climate change.

Some of you may be surprised to learn that despite the fact that I support this video’s message, I have traditionally voted conservative. I believe that hard work deserves its rewards. But I also believe that being conservative means I want to conserve things. Things like the environment. And I definitely don’t think that being conservative is the same thing as being selfish. Something that too many conservatives in North America seem to have forgotten lately.

So what does this have to do with combatting global warming and climate change? Everything, really. Continue reading

Stephen Colbert Explains Republicans' Lack of Scientific Understanding

The Republican victory in the Senate a few weeks ago is bad news for anyone wanting to see the U.S. government start to make greater efforts to tackle global warming and climate change. As Stephen Colbert, host of the Comedy Network’s “The Colbert Report” points out, these Republicans like using a simple tactic when asked about it. They simply rhyme off four simple words: “I’m not a scientist.”

Of course, I’m not sure they’ve figured out the next quippy response to the follow up question: “Then why wouldn’t you defer to the expertise of scientists?”

Colbert takes this in an interesting direction, as only he can. Enjoy.

China Commits to Phasing Out Coal!

“Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.”
Tracy Morgan

Here’s today’s good news: the Chinese government—the political leaders of the nation with the largest emissions of greenhouse gases on the planet—announced earlier this week that their country is going to put a cap on its use of coal. They announced that China’s peak emissions will reach 4.2 billion tonnes. That’s still about a 15 percent increase over their present annual consumption, so in other words we should expect an ongoing climb before the decline will start. China has pledged that the peak will be reached by 2030 at the very latest, and many experts predict the peak will be reached before this decade is up.

In order to accomplish this, the Chinese will need to decrease their current rate of one or two new coal-fired power plants being built every week while they steadily increase their development of renewable energy at the same time. In order to achieve this goal, they need to start right now and not at some undefined point in the future. (Are you listening Canada and the U.S.?)

Will they be able to achieve these lofty goals? There’s actually a number of reasons to be optimistic: Continue reading

U.S. Senate Misses Approving Keystone XL by One Vote

“This will be an early item on the agenda in the next Congress.”
—incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky

In follow up to yesterday’s post, it turns out the U.S. Senate missed the vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline last night by one vote.

Don’t celebrate just yet, though. Republicans are already gearing up to try again once they take control of the Senate in January 2015. But for now, the will of the people has prevailed over the will of the corporations.