Our Hot Mess: The hottest topic

As I’ve explained many a time before - namely in a more recent article entitled “The fate of the world” - current and immediate future political and social action is absolutely vital to guarantee the safety of our planet’s habitability later in this generation. Pretty simple. Now guess what time period falls in that “current and immediate future” when we need action. That’s right - the next eight years. Ah ha! As if these articles weren’t rocky ground already, it’s time to add it the politics to the Our Hot Mess discussion table.

When lining up for the voting booths and surrounded by senior citizens, it’s important to be well-informed. Know the candidate you’re picking. Not just on environmental issues, but on everything that matters to you. That being said, I obviously care about the state of the environment perhaps more than any other topic, so that’s what I’ll hone in on. Time to meet our candidates.

A graphic from National Geographic depicting candidates' stances
on what to do about the environment
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democrat, calls climate change a “moral issue” while New York businessman Donald Trump, a Republican, labels it a “hoax." Both live up to the party stereotypes. Although Trump is currently up +13.2 in the RCP average and Sanders is neck-and-neck with Clinton, Clinton with a +5.6 lead, let’s not discount the other candidates. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said climate action needs to be global, but we as a country shouldn't necessarily do the heavy lifting. He stated in the Republican debate in California, “Maybe a billionaire here in California can afford an increase in their utility rates, but a working family in Tampa, Florida, or anywhere across this country cannot afford it. So we are not going to destroy our economy. We are not going to make America a harder place to create jobs in order to pursue policies that will do absolutely nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather, because America is a lot of things, the greatest country in the world, absolutely… America is not a planet.” Well, at least he got that last part right. But hey, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Rubio just never has heard about the most well known policy of tackling climate change, the carbon fee and dividend, the CFD. This little piece of legislation would return nearly 100 percent of that money collected to American households evenly, the “nearly” indicating the money taken out to send the checks back. This would cause ⅔ of the households to break even or have a net gain of money.
Our Hot Mess

Then there’s GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, a conservative Texan who won the Iowa caucus, who says he’ll eliminate the Department of Energy and several programs at the Environmental Protection Agency, believing that climate change a “pseudo-scientific theory.” That last statement pretty much gives away all that he would do -- or not do -- for the environment.

And keeping with the Republican theme, no political anything nowadays would be complete without a Trump invasion. In regards to the EPA, Trump says he’ll slash funding for the organization, which he called “the laughing stock of the world.” So the bottom line is: The top-tier GOP candidates generally back solar and wind energy, which has broad public support, but oppose the public policies - such as the CFD - that could ensure or accelerate its growth. All are in favor of maintaining or expanding U.S. production of oil and natural gas.

Now Democrats are a different story… obviously. Now we see believers in climate change, advocates of public policy, people with an idea of what must be done while out of the grasp of fossil fuel companies. Democrat Hillary Clinton went so far as to have “crashed” a meeting with the Chinese to broker a climate deal. On climate change, however, Sanders has been perhaps the most outspoken. “The debate is over. Climate change is real. It is already causing major problems,” he says. The GOP is “so owned by the fossil fuel industry and their campaign contributions," he adds, "that they don’t even have the courage, the decency to listen to the scientists.”

Most citizens and most scientists agree that climate change is an existential threat, so why on earth would we elect a president who would not only refuse to do anything about it, but deny its existence as well? All I ask is that you study this subject and vote appropriately according to how you care about the environment. This is a serious issue and policy must be made.

And remember, don’t be trashy.

--Elke Arnesen, LSNews.org Columnist

Edited: BP

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