Saturday, November 10, 2012

US Elections too close for comfort on adapting to Climate Change

survivalIncreasingly more strident and more saturated with money-induced hysteria, the thriller that is the US election process is over for 2012. One side won, the other side lost. There were other sides, like the Green Party, but they really didn’t get a chance to engage in our political process. Also, there were critical issues, like Climate Change and corporate personhood, but they were silenced out.

Millions heave a sigh of relief that the Climate Change denier party was not installed into the executive office. That prospect threatened to reverse what little forward motion there has been on our country’s addressing Climate Change, potentially redacting all US official participation in this world-wide warming. Was Hurricane Sandy, with its horrific destruction, the wildcard that won the election for the candidate who at least acknowledged Climate Change? Unclear.

Before we jump for joy, we don’t know how tenacious Obama‘s Climate Change plans will be in his second term, but let me offer a proposal. I suggest that we free Climate Change from the four-year, win-or-lose political issue it portends to be for too many dangerous years ahead, then institutionalize it into our collective zeitgeist, as we finally accepted the immortal declaration “All men are created equal." No one questions this most cherished value of ours—anymore.

If we must endure four-score and seven years of political strife that questions the proposition that Climate Change is forever upon us, we will act far too late. Democracy is messy though more often than not it allows wisdom to bubble up. But this often comes at a terrific cost of time and lives. We’ve already used up our wait-and-see budget on Climate Change. We must act now in concert with the rest of the world.

How would we accomplish untangling Climate Change from US elections? There are precedents. Rather than a militia or irregular army as first intended, we adopted a standing army. Those who had been denied the vote were eventually granted that right with Constitutional amendments.

Another scientific study released this week notes that those climate models that predict the warmest climate are probably the most accurate. Let science be our final arbitrator of the facts and the Precautionary Principle our guide through this climate bottleneck. President Obama can hasten this process by using the bully pulpit to frame Climate Change as a national challenge—which, of course, it is. When freed from the tyranny of greed, our democracy can evolve and adapt to this self-inflicted catastrophe.

Climate Change cannot be undone in our lifetime -- there’s too much of our greenhouse gas in our water and air-- but we can undo the monetary clout of the Climate Change deniers. We must remove the tax subsidies we give the fossil fuel industries and keep the wind tax credits that are about to expire at the end of this year. We must demand our media change how they cover Climate Change. (Read this excellent article to see how that can be done: A Convenient Excuse. (11/05/2012 The Phoenix). We must unravel Citizens United so that zillions of corporate dollars that are polluting our political process are removed. If our next election puts a Climate Change denier back into office, we will burn.

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