Dark Days

Why do Republicans ignore climate change reality?

I fully expect the Republican-controlled Senate and House to do what Republicans do: cut taxes for the wealthy, try to beat back Obamacare for the umpteenth time and fail to do anything to reform immigration.

But for me none of that really matters when compared to the danger posed by the Republican’s ideological enthusiasm to ignore and exacerbate the causes and effects of climate change. Faced with mass starvation and disease caused by failing crops, the destructive force of one superstorm after another and the resulting political and economic chaos caused by climate change, efforts to rejigger the tax code will seem quaint, if not moot.

This is something I’ve never understood about Republicans. The link between carbon emissions and climate change is as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer. Why do Republicans choose to ignore scientific reality? They are not immune to climate change’s effects. They have children and grandchildren. They are conservatives, a term that I take to mean conserving traditions, like, say, polar ice caps or growing food without crop-killing droughts.

In truth, Obama and the Democrats have been zeros when it comes to climate change, too. Why didn’t Obama kill the Keystone XL pipeline when he had the chance? His deal with China to reduce carbon emission by 2025 and 2030 respectively is way too little, way too late. Even if carbon emissions were reduced to zero by that time, the global average world temperatures are all but certain to rise above 2 degrees Celsius by then, a threshold that a consensus of scientists say will unleash greater global calamities.

Last week, the odious House Republicans voted once again to the approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, a project that will create very few permanent U.S. jobs and do next to nothing to boost the supply of U.S. petroleum or lower prices, but will certainly, perhaps irrevocably, accelerate the man-made disaster of climate change.

In a refreshing dose of realty last week, Rep. Jared Huffman blasted the pipeline-loving Republicans for their “massive corporate giveaway” and “huge lump of coal for our global climate” that would raise gas prices in the United States. Will Obama take a cue from Huffman and finally take a stand for the planet and defeat the pipeline once and for all? The world is watching.

Stett Holbrook is editor of the ‘Bohemian.’

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the ‘Bohemian.’ We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].

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