If Only Today’s Crackpots Would Listen

This morning’s comic strip, Non Sequitor, explains ideology. And Fox News. And the Tea Party.

Unfortunately, a stubborn insistence on an alternate reality is more and more likely to do irreparable damage to the real world we occupy.  A couple of days ago, William Ruckleshaus, Lee Thomas, William Riley and Christine Todd Whitman made precisely that argument in the New York Times. All were EPA administrators in Republican Administrations, back when the GOP was a political party rather than a cult.

They point out that there is no longer any credible debate about the reality of climate change (the operative word here being “credible.”) And they endorse President Obama’s climate plan.

 The costs of inaction are undeniable. The lines of scientific evidence grow only stronger and more numerous. And the window of time remaining to act is growing smaller: delay could mean that warming becomes “locked in.”

A market-based approach, like a carbon tax, would be the best path to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but that is unachievable in the current political gridlock in Washington. Dealing with this political reality, President Obama’s June climate action plan lays out achievable actions that would deliver real progress. He will use his executive powers to require reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the nation’s power plants and spur increased investment in clean energy technology, which is inarguably the path we must follow to ensure a strong economy along with a livable climate.


Mr. Obama’s plan is just a start. More will be required. But we must continue efforts to reduce the climate-altering pollutants that threaten our planet. The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon. What is most clear is that there is no time to waste.

If only the petulant ideologues would listen. But we live in a world best explained by the Non Sequitor cartoon linked to above.  The party that gave us Bill Ruckleshaus and Christine Todd Whitman no longer exists; for its current manifestation–the Party of No–blocking anything and everything that Barack Obama proposes is far more important than saving the earth.


  1. OK, so this is sci-fi and far fetched but…is it really far out of reach of reality if the present situation continues. I am referring to that old Charleton Heston movie, “Soylent Green” which is based on drastic results of gobal warming. My family and I have discussed the connections so I ordered the DVD and we plan a cookout/”Soylent Green” day soon. Primarily because my 11 year old grandson is seriously concerned about global warming and is very vocal about what his future will be like if nothing is done. He is more aware of our reality than the current Congress and too many adults who refuse to hear and heed warnings; verbal and visual if they would only look at films of melting ice caps, vast oil spills, fracking results, the increase in sinkholes in areas never seen before and earthquakes and changing environment world wide. Yes; climate change is normal and on-going but we are escalating these changes due to greed, laziness and selfishness but also due to politics. Government could begin aiding in saving the environment by looking past party lines and personal dislike of who the majority in this country elected TWICE to the presidency. We, as families, could start by simply turning off lights, TV’s, stereos, etc., when we are not actually using them; plan ahead for shopping to do in one trip rather than 3-4 in our cars. Begin walking to nearby shops, stores and pharmacies to save gas and vehicle emissions plus the advantage of exercise to benefit our physical health.

    I’m sure some of Sheila’s readers get tired of my personalizing these political, environmental and civic issues but…everything this government at all levels does or does not do effects each of us personally in some way. If not today, maybe tomorrow or next week or next month, but what condition are we leaving this world in for all future generations by wearing blinders?

  2. To quote the top-selling book in the entire world, “A little child shall lead them.” This time it well may be JoAnn’s 11-year-old grandson. He has obviously been paying more attention to climate change/global warming than Congress has. Oil sands? Tar sands? The oil companies’ TV ads make it sound so harmless, so benign. It’s fracking!

    Those stately ice caps? Soon the polar bears won’t have an iceberg to stand on! When that happens (and it’s happening now as I type this), the bears will have too far to swim to the next chunk of ice. They lose weight, they can’t feed their young (if they can even continue to bear young), and on and on.

    We’re steadily killing our planet! A certain Vice President has been trying, along with scientists, climatologists, and others, to tell us what we’re doing…and far too few are listening, save those bright 11-year-olds.

    Recently, a certain mountain butterfly species in the American West has gone “threatened”. The butterfly was described on NPR as being like the canary in the coal mine. The fragile creature is Mother Nature’s warning that things on the 3rd Rock from the Sun are just not that good anymore for sustaining life.

    And all of this resistance is over the fact that our President is bi-racial, is a Democrat, and was elected for two (count ’em) terms? Today’s crackpots refuse to listen to anything…that’s what makes them ‘crackpots’. This do-nothing Congress should be collectively ashamed of itself.

    Calling all pre-teens! Do your homework, mind your parents, lay off the junk food, get plenty of exercise and rest, and help us save the Earth. It’s the only one we have! You can do it!

  3. The folks responsible for the gridlock on climate change legislation are people like the Koch Brothers (and others) who are MAJOR polluters with deep pockets to threaten incumbents’ re-elections. Campaign finance reform would go a looooooong way toward solving this problem and many others.

  4. While I think there is no question that the overall global temperature is rising, there are regional variations. The really interesting question is the cause(s) of the overall rise and of the variations.
    The ideologues at the poles of the issue say that humans have nothing to do with it or everything to do with it. There are many natural drivers of climate change other than humans, and we really don’t know the extent each of the contribution each of them makes; that’s why we have climate change research. If it turns out that we can’t modify such changes, then a more practical approach would be to focus on how to adapt, a skill that humans have always had in abundance and which has probably saved our collective butts many times over the course of our existence. Of course, that would involve a clash of ideologies as well, but if things got bad enough, maybe the smarter middle could prevail.

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