This month we received some interesting, yet in my opinion not very surprising, results. The GOP is now primarily Republican, and both the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader are claiming that they are not scientists.
Lecturing at UNC Chapel Hill, White House Correspondent Juliet Eilperin let us know what these results mean for addressing issues like climate change and the environment. Bottom line: it’s not pretty, but there’s still hope.
A big issue with the Republican leadership is their general consensus that global warming can be beneficial to mankind. Apparently, global warming can provide both economic and social benefits. And because of this they would like to challenge the EPA’s carbon rules.
Background: In June, 2014, the EPA began to act on section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act in order to cut carbon pollution by 30% by 2020. Section 111(d) allows the EPA to set pollution standards, and mandates the states to figure out how to meet these standards. (In other words, big coal-reliant states like Kentucky [home state to our new Majority leader] are not happy).
In fact, let’s zero in on Mitch McConnell, our new Majority Leader. Eilperin predicted that one of the first votes McConnell will call be on the Keystone XL. And sure enough, within the first weeks of his placement that’s exactly what happened.
McConnell has crusaded against the EPA for years, according to Eilperin. “He sees these carbon rules as something that is very important to challenge.” If there’s a way that Republicans can slow down implementation in a way that doesn’t hurt them in the next election, EPA’s rules could be cut.
Eilperin finds that luckily, for a president who has rarely issued vetoes, the environment is one area in which Obama is willing to fight.
And it’s true. Nearing the tail-end of his presidency, Obama has called out Congress time and time again with no regard for the usual political decorum. They are wrong, and he knows it, so he says it. Eilperin has found that historically, it is surprising how rarely politicians are willing to take risks and stand on principles.
Eilperin thinks “the discussions the president has had with his own daughters about climate change have influenced him.”
And that’s because his daughters are the ones who are going to feel the repercussions. When thinking about the ethics behind climate change, it really comes down to the value of our lives. The generation after us, my generation even, are going to be the ones whose lives are completely altered because of our government’s actions, specifically the actions of the GOP if they allow carbon to continue to pollute our atmosphere at the present rate. It is this generation whose drinking water will be affected if the Keystone pipeline is faulty or not regulated properly.
Until people realize the unfairness of this situation, or the gravity of failing to act now, the EPA’s goal will equate to trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. And we will still be electing leaders who claim global warming must not be real because they themselves are not scientists.