If you follow climate science news and communication closely, you know that the NYTimes and Washington Post blow the story often. But maybe all the criticism of that, more education on the matter, and an understanding of the true crisis has woken up the editorial board of the Washington Post. A recent op-ed is titled “Climate change denial becomes harder to justify” and starts with these lines:
“CLIMATE CHANGE is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.”
So says — in response to a request from Congress — the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the country’s preeminent institution chartered to provide scientific advice to lawmakers.
They don’t stop there, though. They slam the biggest obstacle to progress on this matter, the Republican party:
In a report titled “America’s Climate Choices,” a panel of scientific and policy experts also concludes that the risks of inaction far outweigh the risks or disadvantages of action. And the most sensible and urgently needed action, the panel says, is to put a rising price on carbon emissions, by means of a tax or cap-and-trade system. That would encourage innovation, research and a gradual shift away from the use of energy sources (oil, gas and coal) that are endangering the world.
None of this should come as a surprise. None of this is news. But it is newsworthy, sadly, because the Republican Party, and therefore the U.S. government, have moved so far from reality and responsibility in their approach to climate change.
The full piece, linked above, is worth a read, but let’s go on to the LA Times article. The LA Times focuses more on Obama’s failure to make climate change a priority and convince Congress people to address it. In particular, it shows Obama as “throwing the environment under a bus” to try to win re-election in 2012, an approach the Times strongly advises against. Here’s the intro:
Shortly after his party’s “shellacking” in the midterm election, President Obama ordered government agencies to ensure that new regulations took economic growth into consideration and that old ones be revoked if they “stifle job creation or make our economy less competitive.” Five months later, it’s becoming pretty clear what he meant: The environment and public health will be thrown under a bus for the sake of his reelection in 2012.
The editorial goes into some detail on an important emissions rule currently under threat (by the Obama administration). Then, it tackles the President’s bad “calculas” and how such action will hurt his re-election bid not help it:
In the calculus of presidential politics, environmentalists don’t much matter in 2012. The economy is the top subject on Americans’ minds, and Obama no doubt figures he can blunt criticism of his regulatory record and maybe corral some independent voters by cutting smokestack industries a little slack. Never mind that the economic calculus doesn’t pencil out; according to EPA estimates, the rule on industrial boilers would cost polluters $1.4 billion a year, but the value of its health benefits would range from $22 billion to $54 billion. And never mind that the rule would prevent up to 6,500 premature deaths each year.
Someone gets it. And, truthfully, I thought this administration did, so hopefully it’ll turn things around fast. If not, this is a potential ramification that the LA Times warns the administration to consider:
It’s possible for a president to so alienate his base that it fails to show up on election day. Something to keep in mind before November 2012 rolls around.
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