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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Even Progressive Senators Don’t Grasp Importance of Climate Change

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I read a blog post about progressive Senate Democrats pushing Sen. Reid for a public option.  I wholeheartedly support such a push for a number of reasons.  Because I’m like most Americans, I encourage the push because I want true health care reform legislation to pass.  Not the watered down health insurance “reform” crap that CorporateDems and Republicans have forced in the House, but real reform, which is increasingly more unlikely this year, to the detriment of our country.

But the most important reason I’m pushing for real reform is the political implications of other policy issues, namely climate change.  Climate change, as I’ve argued for some time, is the most pressing matter facing our civilization and our race.  Period.  Nothing else has the potential to change every facet of our species and the globe in the next 100-1000 years like climate change.  Health care reform?  It’s important.  But let’s look at it in context.

If 6 million or 49 million Americans’ health care is covered somehow, someway, that’s great.  The difference between the two is 40 million persons, give or take.  That sounds like a really big deal.

If we don’t slow down, stop, and reverse our greenhouse gas emissions, the Earth’s climate system is going to change.  Whether it changes slowly or quickly might still be up to some debate.  From my personal standpoint, the risk of catastrophic, rapid and unstoppable climate change is too high to politicize.  If sea levels rise 1 meter, over 100 million people worldwide will be adversely affected.  That could happen on the low end of warming scenarios.  If sea levels rise in accordance with high-end climate model scenarios, which are being met by current observations, 1 Billion people could be adversely affected.  If median-range warming scenarios unfold, 1/3 of Earth’s habitable land will turn into deserts, unfit for human habitation or development.  Further, if median-range warming scenarios unfold, the world’s oceans will acidify to the point where mass extinctions are likely.  That means every person on Earth will be adversely affected, which is really the minor effect.  Global ecosystems will collapse, which would take hundreds of thousands to millions of years to rectify.

So when “progressive” Senators like Sen. Brown make a statement like this:

“It’s the most important thing they ever will have voted on except perhaps the Iraq war.”

I really hope he’s talking about the most important vote to date.  Because if you don’t read and hear about similar statements being issued when the climate legislation is debated in the Senate, you’ll know that the Senators either don’t know about the likely effects of climate change or they don’t care.  Neither is acceptable, even for these power-hungry egomaniacs.

Cross-posted at SquareState.

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