An article by Dr. Harold Wanless, an expert on climate change, details how we humans have sort of, kind of, fucked up our planet’s atmosphere and consequently its oceans. The main issue in this conflict, however, is that change must come from the top. No matter how many trees you or I hug or short showers we take or Teslas we buy, these actions make a microscopic impact globally.
The only way to significantly shift our energy consumption habits is through major governmental policy changes. I wish big companies would stop polluting on their own accord without being forced to, but that’s not how the world works right now. Granted, some companies are responding to consumers’ concern about healthy energy practices, but some of the big players like coal, oil, and gas companies and power plants will only yield if they have to.
Government has the power to make them do so but as we know, Congress is a depressingly hilarious joke. Watching news anchors relay the latest political battles makes Capitol Hill sound more like a reunion special of The Real Housewives of Orange County. Instead of informing us on relevant news, it just sounds like a recap of all the bitch-fights and hissy fits and name-calling that went down. It is all perfectly entertaining until you realize that the only inhabitable planet we know about in this universe is slowly overheating. We are literally hotboxing the planet and it’s time we get everyone to stop chiefing so hard.
So, if we’re actually going to do something about this let’s look at all the people in our government who have the power to really make those significant changes. Unsurprisingly, the person who holds the most sway over this issue is the President. And, whether you love him or are still asking to see his birth certificate, you must admit he has been trying to get everyone on the same page about climate change lately (although we won’t mention the thing about allowing Shell to drill in the Artic this summer.) Anyway, he’s not the only one with power to make a change. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of the Department of Energy call the shots as well. Then there are the leaders of the Senate and the House who control most of the votes in their respective chambers. And then you have these committees in Congress that specialize in certain issues and have the power to propose new bills. So let’s go through all these power players who have the ability to change the world, and give you a direct quote from each of them about their thoughts on climate change.
Let’s be careful not to oversimplify the issue or judge some of these people too quickly because obviously, it’s a tricky juggling act trying to balance energy demands, complications with Middle-Eastern oil-rich countries, huge lobbyist groups up their asses, having to support their home state industries, and making sure we don’t overheat the planet and fuck things up even more. That being said, it is no excuse to flat-out deny climate change or its effects, or say that the needs of the economy cannot be met in a more energy-conscious way. Now let’s meet the gang, then shall we?
President – Barack Obama
“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”
Head of Environmental Protection Agency – Gina McCarthy
“Scientists are as sure that humans are causing climate change as they are that cigarette smoke causes lung cancer. Unless you want to debate that point, don’t debate climate change any longer because it is our moral responsibility to act. That responsibility, right now, is crystal clear.”
Secretary for Department of Energy – Ernest Moniz
“The pope is right about climate change. The world should join together to fight climate change. As we look ahead to the climate negotiations in Paris later this year, people of all faiths must continue our work toward the common goal of creating a healthy and sustainable world through clean and affordable energy.”
Senate Majority Leader – Mitch McConnell
“For everybody who thinks it’s warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn’t,”
Congressman and Speaker of the House Frontrunner – Paul Ryan
“Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of [Wisconsin] is buried under snow.”
Chairwomen of Committee for Energy and Natural Resources – Lisa Murkowski
“I come from a state (Alaska) where we see a warming. We’re seeing it with increased water temperatures; we’re seeing it with ice that is thinner; we’re seeing it with migratory patterns that are changing. . . So I look at this and I say this is something that we must address.”
Chairman of the Committee for Environment and Public Works – James Inhofe
“Many times during my global warming fight, I turned to Day 36 of ‘Promises’ which features one of my favorite Bible verses, Genesis 8:22:
As long as the earth remains
There will be springtime and harvest,
Cold and heat, winter and summer,
Day and night.
And this is what a lot of alarmists forget: God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.”
-From his book The Greatest Hoax, How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future
… wow bravo
Chairwomen of Subcommittee for Clear Air and Nuclear Safety – Shelley Capito
“I don’t necessarily think the climate’s changing, no.”
Afterwards, she said she misspoke and then said:
“Is the climate changing? Yes it’s changing, it changes all the time, we heard it raining out there . . . I’m sure humans are contributing to it.”
Chairman of Subcommittee for Oceans, Atmosphere, and Coast Guard – Marco Rubio
“Humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of these people out there are trying to make us believe, for the following reason: I believe the climate is changing because there’s never been a moment where the climate is not changing.”
Chairman of Subcommittee for Space, Science, and Competitiveness – Ted Cruz
“Now you asked a question, ‘do you believe in climate change?’. Of course! From the dawn of time the climate has been changing. Until the end of time the climate will change. And yet interestingly enough the political liberals, their solution to climate change is exactly the same as it was to global cooling and global warming – massive government control of the economy, energy sector, and our lives.”
So apparently it doesn’t matter that 97% of scientists say climate change is caused by human activity, or that the majority of Americans believe global warming is happening, according to 2014 Yale Survey (http://environment.yale.edu/poe/v2014/).
These are the 10 people who possess all the authority when it comes to combating this issue. They are the ones who can either allow us to perpetuate this insane hotbox, or lead the transformation of a more energy-conscious global society. But you can see how this is going to be a problem, as we have one crackpot in charge who thinks humans can’t cause climate change because The Bible says so (guess he skipped the Pope’s speech on it.) We also got five others who declare some weird nonsense just to confuse us and so that their oil and gas donors keep funding their campaigns. So really, only 4 of the 10 most powerful people in the U.S. regarding this issue are on the same page about actually enacting meaningful change in the way we utilize energy . . . welp, fantastic.
I know it is an overwhelming issue, but don’t give up! Inform yourself! Raise Awareness! Email these crazy politicians! If things suck that means we the people need to start making our voice heard and holding politicians accountable! Old folks with jobs don’t have time to do it so it’s up to us wild college kids to! Let’s not be bums! Let’s do something!
Cover photo by Matt Brown
( https://www.flickr.com/photos/londonmatt/4203327856 )