Reasonable people can disagree about the particulars of an energy and climate bill.
Some might say that the bulk of renewable investments should go toward wind and others might say solar. Some can insist that money raised from making polluters pay should go toward investments in more renewables and others can insist that such money should go to offset any costs to tax payers.
What is unreasonable is to posit that we should do nothing at all about our reliance on energy from fossil fuels or catastrophic climate change. What is unreasonable is to lie about the effects of proposed solutions. What is unreasonable is to complain about the ideas offered, but offer no alternatives. What is unreasonable is to act as if doing nothing is good for the American people.
So either certain Republicans are unreasonable, playing politics with energy and security, or they don’t care about what’s good for the American people.
Let’s start with the economy.
If you are against clean energy, you are against economic recovery and American jobs. We simply can’t solve the current economic crisis without addressing energy, climate and security. Oil imports cost us as much as $700 billion a year. Add to that $49.1 billion a year spent protecting our interests in the Persian Gulf (not including the costs of the Iraq war or what we spend in South America) and the 830,000 high paying jobs our oil dependence sends abroad.
In a statement put out by the Majority Staff of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming:
The U.S. is behind in the renewable energy market. Way behind. 75% of the top renewable energy companies are not located in the U.S. And countries like Japan, China and Korea are kicking our butts on low emissions cars.
I went to a lecture on solar this week given by an expert from the Rocky Mountain Institute. Most of his slides were about the great innovations in renewables in Germany and Spain, Iceland and Denmark. Addressing energy and climate will make the U.S. globally competitive again and create as many as 7 million American jobs. With wind at just 3% of the U.S. energy mix, these companies already employ more people than coal mining. Senator, Congressman, if you’re against clean energy investments, you’re against U.S. companies and workers.
How about health?
If you’re against clean energy and action on climate change, you don’t care about the health of Americans. Our dependence on fossil fuels is literally killing us. Asthma, cancer, heart disease and stroke are all exacerbated by pollution, as are incidences of Parkinsons Disease and Alzheimers. Health impacts from coal alone cost America $167 billion every year.
And speaking of costs, those against doing something about climate change want to rob you while letting the polluters reap the rewards. Doing nothing will cost the average family at least $2000 to deal with floods, droughts and extreme weather. By now, we all know about record oil company profits. It seems that Senator McConnell and Congressman Boehner would prefer that those companies keep their billions and never pay a dime to clean up the mess they’ve created. Instead, they will use that money for their bonuses and bloated salaries. Or maybe to help cover the almost $500,000 big oil and big coal made in campaign contributions to Senator McConnell in just one election cycle.
Research from Yale and George Mason Universities says that over 90% of Americans want government action on global climate change, regardless of the economy. In fact, this number includes people that worry about things like rising energy prices, the economy and more government regulation. Senator McConnell and Congressman Boehner, how does it feel to be out of step with more than 90% of Americans?
There is no doubt that the Senator and the Congressman love their country, as do people that have a knee jerk reaction to be against any legislation that comes from the Democrats or that deals with complex issues like energy and carbon emissions.
But acting against the interests of the American people is a strange way to show love of country. Reasonable people can disagree on how to move to renewables and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But there is nothing reasonable about Senator McConnell and Congressman Boehner suggesting that we do nothing.