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Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine, and his articles have appeared on The Huffington Post, Alternet, and The Progressive Magazine. He has worked for the Ring of Fire radio program with hosts Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mike Papantonio, and Sam Seder since August 2004, and is currently the co-host and producer of the program. He also currently serves as the co-host of Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV, a daily program airing nightly at 8:30pm eastern. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on [email protected]
Here’s an inconvenient truth for the fossil fuel industry: The majority of Americans accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real and that it is a threat that must be addressed. This includes a majority of Democrats, a majority of Republicans, and a majority of citizens who do not identify with a specific political party.
But here’s a sad truth for Americans who believe in science: The majority of members of the ruling GOP party in Washington, D.C. refuse to accept the science that climate change is happening and that human beings are to blame.
According to a new report by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, 59% of the House Republican caucus and 70% of Senate Republicans refuse to accept the reality of climate change. This means there are a total of 182 climate change deniers in the House and Senate who collectively represent more than 200 million American citizens (based on their district/state size that they represent in Congress.)
There is not a single person running for U.S. President as a Republican who believes that we should take action to fight climate change. Not one. To make matters worse, the top three contenders for the Republican nomination — Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio — refuse to even acknowledge that climate change is real. The remaining two GOP candidates — John Kasich and Dr. Ben Carson — don’t believe climate scientists about the scope and severity of the problem.
One of these men will have a 50% chance of becoming the President of the United States this coming November. And depending on which polls you look at, the three frontrunners have a very real shot at actually winning the election.
Cruz and Rubio are the only two candidates who currently serve in office, both in the Senate, and while they are currently both trailing Trump in delegate count, the number of primaries left to be held indicate that either could take the lead and secure the nomination. And since they both hold office, we can check their records to see where they stand on environmental issues.
And things aren’t looking good.
It isn’t often that a state of emergency is declared over a disaster that is 100% man-made and intentional, but that’s exactly what has happened in the city of Flint, Michigan. As residents in the city struggle to find drinkable water, the National Guard has been deployed to help distribute bottled water to residents.
The crisis actually began about 18 months ago when Republican governor Rick Snyder made the decision to balance the city’s budget at the expense of the health and safety of residents of Flint.
The governor and his appointed “budget experts” decided to save the city some money by switching their water supply from the city of Detroit’s supply to the Flint River, and according to Occupy Democrats, this river was known to be both highly polluted and carried an unusually high salt content.
The high salinity of this water caused the city’s pipes to begin eroding, which then leached lead into the city’s water.
Few issues have as much impact on the future as climate change. Sadly, the issue of climate change has taken a backseat to economic policy, divisive cultural issues, and the threat of terrorism. The main reason for this is the media coverage of these issues.
Shortly after the Paris climate agreement was reached, both the Republicans and Democrats held presidential debates in the US, and not once in either debate was the Paris accord or the overall issue of climate change addressed by the moderators of those debates. The media doesn’t believe that climate change is a marketable idea, so they focus on issues that are more divisive and sensationalized in order to attract more viewers.
Another factor driving this selective coverage is the mentality of our aging politicians.
TransCanada is suing the U.S. government for blocking the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The company argued in their federal court filings that President Obama had overstepped his Constitutional powers in putting the brakes on the project.
The company is seeking $15 billion in damages from the federal government in a lawsuit brought under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
This move by TransCanada was entirely predictable, as I wrote back in May 2013:
According to the numbers, 2015 ranked as the second hottest year on record.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) said that the average temperature in the United States for 2015 was 54.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is only 1.1 degrees lower than the highest average temperatures on record for the year 2012.
2015 marked the 19th straight year that average temperatures in the United States surpassed the average temperatures for the 20th century.
Environmental victories are rare. Even with mounting scientific evidence that reckless human activities are endangering our future, politicians and corporations have continued to run roughshod over the planet, destroying the very home that sustains our lives.
For too long, environmentalists were seen as a small part of a political movement that focused on an issue that most Americans greeted with a yawn. After all, the most damning climate science has emerged at a time when the threat of global terrorism and economic downturns were grabbing all of the headlines.
But 2015 signaled a change for the environmental movement.
The agreement that was hammered out in Paris at the recent climate talks will be a great step forward towards addressing the growing threat of climate change. But lost amongst the applause for the accord is a question that needs to be answered: Why did it take so long, and are we too late?
Two weeks ago, memos from the George H.W. Bush administration were released that detailed conversations between Bush Sr.’s cabinet members, where they discussed the growing threat of global climate change…27 years ago.
The Hill has posted parts of those conversations:
Lamar Smith, the Republican Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, has launched a one-man crusade to discredit climate scientists whom he believes are only working to advance President Obama’s climate initiatives.
In October, Smith began fighting with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over a study it published showing that climate change had not paused or slowed down — a finding that irks climate science deniers who attempt to argue the opposite, incorrect view.