Regular readers know that I love to work with data. It’s what I call fun.
But this blog is about more than playing data games. It’s about global warming/climate change, and that is a serious problem, a severe threat to our future, our security, our stability, our survival. What should we do about it? By “we” I mean ordinary citizens, of the world, but especially of the U.S. I think I know the answer.
I certainly don’t have all the answers. Nuclear power? I don’t know. I don’t like it, but my opinion is that we should exploit it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while we make the transition to a renewable-energy world. Mitigation vs. adaptation, how do we allocate resources to each? I don’t know. My opinion is that we need to focus more on mitigation, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Efficiency? Great — but it’s not enough to do the job on its own. Turning off your lights, switching to LEDs, rooftop solar, less travel, buying locally-grown food, they all will help, but my opinion is that, as helpful and even necessary as personal measures are, they’re not nearly enough.
Those are things worthwhile to discuss — necessary even — but don’t start it in this post, because that’s not what this one is about.
Effective action requires government action. Government action requires a government that is willing to act. What we, the citizens, need to do is to elect a government that’s willing to act.
Here in the U.S., the government isn’t willing to act. Parts of it are; the president and a number of members of congress even want to do so. But they are stymied, I would even say sabotaged, by the Republican majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Republican party is the problem.
It’s a great pity, because there are aspects of the conservative approach that are valuable. The liberal approach, as laudable as it may be, needs some restraint. A working two-party system, where the two opposing ideologies compete and eventually reach a compromise, is good.
But right now, one of those parties — the Republicans — are destroying the country. They are intransigent, refusing to cooperate with anything outside their narrow, intolerant, and increasingly strident and hateful agenda. And when it comes to climate change, they are not just blind, they’re fixated on a fantasy which has put us on the road to hell.
We elected them to office. We need to get rid of them. This November, we have the opportunity. What we need to do is to go to the voting booth and vote for every Democrat in every race. I don’t particularly like the idea, I don’t especially like the Democrats. But voting for some third-party candidate isn’t going to get the job done, that’s just a recipe for letting Republicans keep their jobs.
Even that moderate Republican, the guy you like, who deserves your admiration and mine, who has a realistic attitude about climate change — he’s got to go, too. That’s a tremendous pity. But if he stays, then the Republican party will still be able to put together the coalition they need to block climate action.
Getting rid of them all will send a message, to Republicans, to conservatives, that you can push a conservative agenda but if it includes denying the reality, human causation, or danger of climate change then you’re not welcome in our government. The denier Republicans, like Lamar Smith, need to go down by such a huge margin that it sends a message loud and clear: climate denial gets you booted out of office.
That’s what we, the American people, need to do. So now I raise the question: what do we, the advocates of climate action, need to do to make this happen?
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