Cross-posted from Mike Malloy
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"The White House released its gigantic new report on climate change, a work produced by 300 scientists, overseen by a 60-member expert panel, working in cooperation with 13 government agencies and the National Academy of Sciences. It's the most comprehensive climate assessment the U.S. government has ever produced, and it paints a grim picture of what's coming over the next few decades: Dust Bowl conditions in the Southwest, flooding in the Northeast, more heat waves, more hurricanes, rising ocean levels, and a host of other disastrous effects of rising temperatures.
"While the report goes into great detail about concrete steps we can take to mitigate this evolving disaster, once you begin to think about the political environment any such measures will have to navigate, it's hard not to get pessimistic.
"One look at the comments sections of news articles on this report tells a depressing story. Many conservatives still believe that climate change is an elaborate hoax, that somehow thousands of scientists all over the world have conspired with public officials, the media, and who knows how many other people to pull off history's greatest scam, and also managed to keep anyone from spilling the beans on the conspiracy. It isn't all conservatives who feel this way; Republicans as a whole are split on the question. But the faction that inspires fear in Republican politicians -- Tea Partiers -- are the ones who most fervently believe it's all a scam. For instance, this poll from the Pew Research Center showed 61 percent of non-Tea Party Republicans saying there's solid evidence the Earth is warming, but only 25 percent of Tea Partiers agreeing."
Predictably, the Senate today killed the bipartisan legislation that could've taken at least some small steps toward mitigating the coming climate disasters. The "Energy-Efficiency" bill was not radical by any means -- but it didn't need to be to be utterly demolished by today's partisan do-nothing Congress. MSNBC has more:
"It took a year and a half, but this one piece of legislation would show Americans that the nation's legislative process can, once in a great while, still function.
"Except in this case, it actually proved the opposite -- the bill had more than enough votes to pass, but it fell four votes shy of the support needed to end a Republican filibuster. (Technically, it finished with 55 supporters, but it had 56 before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid switched his vote for procedural reasons.)
"Even for the right, there's very little in the bill to hate. As Ben Adler explained, 'The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, which passed the Republican-controlled chamber by an overwhelming margin, would, among other things, increase energy-efficiency requirements for federal buildings and create a voluntary certification system for private buildings.'
By any fair measure, this was a modest proposal. The New York Times' report added, 'It was a bundle of small-bore provisions aimed at cutting homeowners' energy use, utility bills and carbon footprints by, among other measures, making it easier for consumers to buy 'smart metered' water heaters and making it cheaper for manufacturers to build energy-efficient cooling and heating systems.'
"So if we're talking about a limited package that was good enough for even the House GOP, why in the world would the Senate GOP kill it? Because Republicans decided the legislation could be a vehicle for their other priorities. Specifically, the Senate GOP minority started by insisting that the proposal include a provision to require construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline."