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.