What Will The Next President Do About Climate Change?
Reading Paul Krugman this morning and the comically incoherent Republican ranting denying climate change action or even the phenomenon itself, one can reasonably ask the question: well, when will anything be done at the federal level about climate change?
Obviously nothing this term in this Presidency, the President has adamantly displayed he’s no liberal in many ways and offered all kinds of compromise to Republicans, who naturally went berserk anyway, fiercely blocked everything and labeled him a Marxist instead.
Keeping our minds firmly to a future only 30 months away, what will happen when the Presidency flips over, is there any chance for real climate change action at all?
Before we get there it’s important to note how and why we precisely got to this spot, if we know the real truth to obstruction potential keys to action success are not far away.
Technically we will lose very little from a climate change makeover, the issue is to simply stop burning fossil fuels in any form. Flip any fossil energy system to a renewable electric, everything you see and experience in modern technology will flow from electrons.
A huge technical undertaking in the grid and solar capability, along with massive rollouts in electric rail and wind power. Still, not difficult technically or in scale, Americans will only have to sacrifice their concept of speed in global travel, with vast fortunes to be made in the conversion.
What political forces are arrayed against climate change conversion? Vastly powerful ones of frightening capability. Of course the first is the Republican knee-jerk opposition to any god damn hippie environmentalism, their Party is one of ownership, wealth and extraction, hell will freeze over before those pantywaist liberals keep us from making money by exploiting and befouling the earth.
Even more powerful is the monetary power of the oil and gas industry behind their politics, the industry has incredible amounts of wealth and has used it for a very long time to buy Washington DC, oil and gas own the federal government, captured so very long ago. They perceive hundreds of billions of dollars worth of their oil stripped of its value and understandably get frantic at the thought of losing it.
This negating of petroleum value has international political ramifications too, other countries and entities have very vested interests in keeping the status quo of burning oil and the task of changing their expectations is as vast as the domestic political challenge.
Given all this one instantly sees that should any Republican be elected in 2016 absolutely nothing will ever be done about climate change, indeed its forces will only accelerate, oil subsidies will grow, pipelines will be built, fracking still all the rage. Our international stance will be one of stupid, obdurate sneering as the planet gets hotter and hotter, our legacy a cruel indifference for the death and mayhem left for our children.
Not exactly a shining embodiment of the American Dream, you know? But the heavens and political fortunes willing this will not occur, and as for the potential Democratic nominee only the haziest of guesses can be made at this point. If and when Hillary Clinton decides to run the nomination and the Presidency are hers, trust me on this, but for our question here if indeed she grabs the brass ring what will it mean for climate change action?
[sigh] The signs and portents are not good. She and her husband have made a political career of dis-engaging and manipulating liberals, not exactly the best history for taking on the liberal cause of environmentalism. She’s already kissed the ring and taken speaking fees from the horribly powerful financial lobby, not exactly the best sign of being resistant to special interest money.
Another hugely liberal task awaits the next President in truly taking on equality with a $15 minimum wage, social security improvement, better union rules and a vast infrastructure investment, is Hillary supposed to become the super-liberal of all time by taking on climate change simultaneously? Oh my god, as the earth gets warmer and warmer it’s extremely likely she’ll have a hostile Republican House at least, we’ll be as politically stuck as we are now without a Democratic Congress.
So, I’m extremely sorry to say, climate change action for the next term looks very bleak at the federal level. Giving up is not an alternative, so install solar panels, buy an electric car, convert everything in the house to electricity and apply local and state political pressure for change. Prospects look bleak, but tipping points just appear after enough time and effort, doing the right thing everywhere we can will lead to change and positivity we can’t see right now.