by Randolph T. Holhut
Chief of American Reporter Correspondents
November 13, 2014
THE PLANET IS BURNING, AND REPUBLICANS DON'T CARE
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- It was lost amid all the hoopla of the mid-term elections, but even if people paid attention, the release of the most unambiguous report on global climate didn't seem to register with most Americans.
If it had, perhaps they wouldn't have voted for the politicians hell-bent on destroying the planet.
The final summary report of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was released on Nov. 2.
It emphatically stated that global warming is "unequivocal," that humanity's role in creating it is "clear," and that greenhouse gas emissions are at the highest levels in history and wreaking havoc on the planet.
However, it also stated that if the world acts now, humanity can keep the Earth's temperature from rising above the so-called-safe level of 2 degrees Celsus warmer than now.
To do this, it would take dramatically reduced consumption of fossil fuel combined with a complete switch to renewable energy in the coming decades. Doing this is possible, and economically feasible, the report states.
Unfortunately, this solution is not politically feasible, and will be even less so now that the mid-terms have left us with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress to wreak maximum havoc over the next two years.
Republicans are still in deep denial over climate change, and still hope to achieve their two big policy goals in the coming session: approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and stripping the EPA of power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. These two things that will make matters worse for the climate.
Predictably, they attacked President Obama after he and Chinese President Xi Jingping announced a joint, non-binding agreement on Nov. 12 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years.
Since it is a non-binding agreement, it does not need Congressional approval to go forward. But the ink was barely dry before it was called a "job crusher" by House Speaker John Boener, "unfair" by climate change denier Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma' meanwhile, the incoming Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has vowed to withhold any funding to implement it.
And so it goes.
We've been warned. The scientific community is in nearly total agreement, save for a few scientists bought off by oil companies. We've even been given the timetable for when it will happen, and the way out to avoid the worst-case scenarios.
However, nothing is going to happen in Washington, D.C., thanks to the apathy of an electorate that, according to a Pew Research poll, thinks the Islamic State (67 percent) or the nuclear programs of Iran (59 percent) and North Korea (57 percent) are more of a threat than climate change (just 48 percent).
But the Republicans don't care. They won, and our planet and everyone who lives on it are the losers.
AR's Chief of Correspondents, Randolph T. Holhut, holds an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is an award-winning journalist in New England for more than 30 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.