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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Are Senate Dems Kicking Climate Legislation To The Curb?

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President Barack Obama scored a major victory in the final hours of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, getting a number of nations to agree on a path toward climate action moving forward.  Buttressing the victory was getting China and India to agree to international consultations and analysis of their efforts to curb pollution.  Such a condition is one thing that Senate Cons were supposedly waiting for in order for the U.S. to finally do something meaningful about climate change.  Whether that concern holds true now that the condition has been met by the Obama administration remains to be seen, of course.  In fact, I fully expect the Cons to claim that no such condition was really met or that a new excuse will crop up.

So what about Senate Dems?  How do they view the upcoming climate/energy legislation that Sens. Kerry and Boxer have worked on all year?  Most importantly, how do the same Senate CorporateDems who are responsible for gutting the Senate’s health care legislation (turning it into a health insurance giveaway) view the climate/energy legislation?  Well, if Politico is to be believed (a stretch, I know), some of those same CorporateDems who gave everything to the insurance corporations that they could have been releasing statements saying climate and energy should be put off until after the 2010 elections!

These statements, whether they mean anything in the end or nor, are not indicative of how out of touch Senators, especially CorporateDems, are.  No, these statements are indicative of how truly insane they are.  This level of purposeful shilling in order to garner a few thousand more campaign dollars while their states are already being impacted by climate change effects points to the utter failure of the institution as a whole.  Why did I spend time all year on an issue I consider a distant second to climate change in importance?  Because I knew if the health care debate was sabotaged, as it ended up being, the prospects of meaningful climate change action would be dealt a severe blow.  As a result of the political, not pragmatic, calculations made during the health care “debate” (what exactly did progressives get in return for their concessions to CorporateDems?  Not one thing.  That’s not compromise – that’s capitulation), how much more emboldened will the CorporateDems be in the climate/energy debate?  How many ways will progressives be willing to capitulate on climate and energy policies, just to get any bill whatsoever signed by the President, as they did on health care?

Sen. Landrieu (Corp.-LA), Sen. Bayh (Corp.-IN), Sen. Nelson (Corp.-NE), and Sen. Conrad (Corp.-ND) are reported being among those voicing doubts to their leadership that they’d rather not tackle climate and energy legislation in 2010.  Of those, only Bayh is up for reelection this upcoming cycle.  As for the rest of them, I’ve come to the conclusion they would rather industries write legislation for them while they draw 6-figure salaries to vote on bills.  It must be a nice job, if you can get it, of course.  So I have a piece of advice that I’m sure resonates with most Americans, regardless if the Senators are Corporate-bought or not: do your damn job or quit.  I (we) expect you to have an understanding of what being a Senator entails.  I (we) expect you to address the issues I’m (we’re) facing every day.  I (we) don’t think it’s a good plan to have a set of cowards holding public elected office refusing to tackle our time’s leading issues, always trying to kick the can down to the next Congress.  You wanted the job, you worked for (sold out for?) the job, now you have the job, so do your job.

Sen. Ladrieus’ Louisiana is losing multiple football fields’ worth of land to the encroaching Gulf of Mexico every hour.  If you kick the climate can further down the road, Senator, a significant portion of your state will end up under acidified ocean water that won’t support life.  Sen. Nelson’s Nebraska is forecasted to experience 120+ days of 90F+ temperatures every year, becoming part of a 21st century Dust Bowl if the climate can is kicked again and again.  Is that really what Nebraskans want?  Those same conditions will reach up into Sen. Conrad’s North Dakota.  Both states, meanwhile, are home to enough renewable energy resources to sell to a good portion of the remainder of the nation, if anyone has enough foresight to build out the infrastructure.  Ecosystems in both states could either experience change that is irreversible in the next 1,000 years or that change could be easily minimized.  Really, it’s in these Senators hands.  It’s within their powers to do something more than just bring home more pork while shafting the rest of us.  It’s within their power to prevent spending Trillions of dollars responding to climate change, something they say they care about, but only when the spending is proposed by Democrats, not the Cons.  It’s within their power to support 21st century technologies and jobs, keeping America competitive with international competition.  Or, for a pittance, they can condemn Earth’s inhabitants to an increasingly unlivable climate.

Cross-posted at SquareState.

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