The Dirty Politics of Climate Change

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I’ve got good news for everybody!  Guess what?  Climate change is not a hoax!  But here’s the other news-despite all the scientific studies, IPCC reports, the Lima convention, President Obama’s public statements, and even a proclamation from the Pope himself, it’s official-the United States Senate has decided that climate change is not caused by us!  This week, the esteemed body of bought and paid for elected officials voted 98-1 in favor of an amendment stating that “Climate change is not a hoax,” but refused to vote for a proposed amendment that it is caused mostly by human activity.

Well, thank you very much U.S. Senate for clearing that up at a time when what we really need is legislation, as one of the largest carbon polluters in the world, to reduce our carbon impact on the planet as well as legislation encouraging renewable energy and climate-safe agricultural practices.  I’m sure that none of you reading this had any doubt that lame duck President Obama’s call to action in his state of the union speech, in which he truthfully stated that there is no greater threat to our future than climate change, was nothing more than rhetoric.  The Congress is not going to do anything about it, except make ridiculous statements.

The next senatorial elections are on November 8, 2016.  Do yourself, your grandchildren and your great grandchildren to be a big favor-vote out every last one of them who is on the climate change denial payroll.  Click here for a list of them and how they voted.  I’ll give you a hint-the D’s basically lined up in favor of the truth and the R’s lined up in favor of their wallets.  Kudos to the five Republican Senators who voted that climate change was caused by us: Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Sen. Thomas Carper of Delaware, Sen. Susan M. Collins of Maine (Maine lobsters are going to be one of the first things to go with climate change,) Sen. Graham Lindsey of South Carolina, and Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.

It may also be a good idea to take a look at the Lobbying Disclosure Act Congressional database here and the Senatorial database here, to find out who is really paying your Congressman or Senator.  Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, it’s not very user friendly.  It is time for us to start lobbying them now to change the Act and the rules so we you can punch in the name of a Senator or Congressperson and find out what industries they really work for, or, better yet, to outlaw lobbying altogether.  Why should bribery be the way to get things done in a government that is supposed to represent the people?  This vote on climate change makes it very clear that at least half of them do not work for you.

According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC,) we have to globally cut carbon emissions 70% by 2050, and go to zero emissions by 2100 in order to stop the avalanche of doom that is coming, which includes rising ocean levels which will flood all coastal areas and put many islands underwater, increased freezing spells from the polar vortex, lightning strikes, dead zones in oceans, rivers and lakes devoid of oxygen, severe droughts and desertification, killer hurricanes and tornadoes, species extinctions and reduced crop yields, a 100% increase in ocean acidification which, with the present overfishing that is likely to increase, will result in the complete depletion of fish reserves responsible for feeding over a billion people on Earth, and diseases of epidemic proportion, such as Ebola virus, dengue fever and malaria, not to mention destroyed infrastructure and societal breakdown.

According to a scientific study published in Nature, in order to accomplish the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Centigrade, 82% of coal reserves (hear that China?) 49% of gas reserves, and 33% of oil reserves must remain in the ground.  This includes most shale gas reserves and almost all the Canadian tar sands reserves.

The time is now to roll up our sleeves and do what we can to combat climate change.  Here are some things you can do to help: 1) Use public transportation; 2) buy hybrid or fuel efficient cars; 3) conserve energy whenever possible; 4) ask your energy utility to provide power from renewable sources; 5) buy organic and local foods, and 6) cut down on meat consumption.

Last but not least, write a letter or send an email to your Congressperson and Senator.  Tell them that you are concerned about climate change and you want them to enact legislation to reduce carbon impacts, to levy taxes against carbon polluters, and to pass incentives for renewable and clean energy.  Tell them that you were disappointed with the Senate’s statement on climate change and you will show your disappointment the next time you go to the polls.  They all have contact numbers, web sites and email addresses, which you can find here.  Take five minutes now and remind them who they really work for.

Kenneth Eade is a best-selling author and international lawyer based in Los Angeles, California.

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