It is a shame that the media, and most political pundits spend an inordinate amount of their energy and resources concealing a clear and present danger to the American people; a danger that the majority of Americans want politicians to address immediately. Politicians are just as guilty as the media of either glossing over the existential threat of anthropogenic climate change to the nation or pretending the issue does not exist. However, the same criticism does not apply to President Obama who has done nearly everything within his power to address climate change and it is indeed a tragedy that regardless his efforts, Republicans have made exacerbating the problem their raison d’être as remuneration to their masters in the fossil fuel industry.
This week, House Republicans served their Koch masters well by gutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by $718 million, and dutifully inserted special language to abolish the agency’s environmental regulations, monitoring, and enforcement authority to reduce carbon emissions. It is noteworthy that over 60% of the American people, Democrats and Republicans alike, want the federal government to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse (carbon) emissions because they understand those emissions are driving the devastating effects of climate change.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan said the cuts to the “EPA reflect the lowest levels of funding in a decade” and will adversely affect jobs and the economy because “nearly every state has water or conservation projects that will be lost” to the Koch Congress. The head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, parroted Donovan’s concerns complaining that with the cuts, Republicans are prohibiting the EPA from finalizing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan a federal court just ruled was legal, indefinitely delay implementation of the Supreme Court ordered Waters of the United States rule, and eliminate by a third a grant program to revitalize brownfields according to directions from the Koch brothers.
McCarthy also noted that the Republican cuts and abolishing environment regulations has “terrible real-world consequences” besides contributing to climate change such as endangering over two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands, kills thousands of construction jobs that will be lost just through cuts to the fund that allows states and municipalities to invest in clean water projects, and further compromises public health and environment. Republicans live to compromise the public’s health and environment they claim prevents President Obama and the EPA from enacting “job crushing regulations” and to allow them to do what only Republicans can do; “protect the nation’s natural resources and promote safe and clean American energy.” To that end, Koch-Republicans did allocate extra funding specifically to block the EPA from protecting America’s clean water and air supply from the dirty fossil fuel industry.
That was just a small sample of the bad environmental news very few in any media are loath to report, and it fairly pales in comparison to the recent good news in the Administration’s fight to really protect America’s clean water and air and reduce the devastating effects of climate change and keep pace with communist China’s heroic efforts to cut carbon emissions.
In Iowa this week, Alliant Energy, a major utility provider committed to phase out coal use at six of its plants that marks the 200th coal plant to shut down in the United States. As an aside, last month, communist China shut down all of its coal-fired power plants and moved to clean energy as part of its historic climate agreement with President Obama. Besides marking an important milestone in America’s transition to clean energy, the move “underscores Iowa’s growth as a clean energy state;” something the Koch brothers, ALEC, and Heritage Action are gnashing their teeth over and waging a ferocious campaign to bring to an end. The retirement of 200 coal plants across the country represents a nearly 40 percent reduction in the number of carbon emitting power plants over the past five years and replace them with clean energy. The reduction has put America in the lead among all industrial nations in cutting global warming pollution and protecting the air and water all Americans depend on. It is something the media has not reported.
As the executive director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune, noted, “The days of coal-fired power plants putting Americans at health at risk are coming to an end. In Iowa and across the country, people are demanding clean air and clean water and they are winning. Iowa is a leader in America’s transition from coal to renewable energy, and is providing a model for other communities as they demand and realize a 100 percent clean energy future.”
Another news item the media was too busy covering Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu to give any attention to was the announcement that two of the world’s largest countries joined forces to fight climate change and boost renewable energy. Last week Brazil and the United States announced a joint pledge to increase renewable energy by 20 percent within ten years. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that “the environmental agenda is absolutely key and essential for our two countries,” and “vowed to fight for an ambitious climate agreement” when the international community meets in Paris for a climate summit at the end of the year. America and Brazil’s pledge came within hours of communist China’s ‘official submission’ of its climate targets to the United Nations to start “building momentum for a global treaty to fight climate change.”
It is remarkable, and pathetic, that as the leading industrial nations in the world are working feverishly to combat climate change and protect the Earth’s population, Republicans and their fossil fuel funding mechanism are doing everything in their power to perpetuate the damage. Republicans are so indebted to the Koch brothers, that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the rest of the world’s leaders that America would not fulfill any commitment to reduce carbon emissions or combat climate change. He even told world leaders that President Obama’s historic agreements on climate change were illegal and that Republicans would do everything to block them. House Republicans duly fulfilled McConnell’s assertion by defunding the Environmental Protection Agency and allocating funds specifically to abolish regulations to monitor greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change is wreaking havoc across America and although local media may indeed report on historic droughts, devastating wildfires, and massive flooding, they never report on the cause or what Republicans are doing to perpetuate it. However, they do take the time to report Republican claims that President Obama’s efforts to reduce the effects of climate change are illegal instead of reporting the he is protecting Americans’ health, their air and water, the economy, and America’s national security; all the things Republicans claim are executive overreach.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.