Archive 2008 - 2019

Where Hope and History Rhyme

by Winston Vaughan

Three reasons to support the legislation:

Reason #1: It's a sharp break from the past.

cap_dome.jpgFor the last eight years, our country's federal policy toward global warming could be summed up in three words: denial, delay and distraction.

President Bush reversed his campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide, belittled the "bureaucracy" that warned of global warming's consequences, censored federal scientists who spoke about the issue, effectively ignored a Supreme Court ruling requiring the government to regulate carbon emissions, opposed renewable energy requirements and refused to let states reduce carbon pollution from cars and trucks.

driveclean.jpgThe Waxman-Markey bill is an honest attempt to reverse course. It commits our country to energy efficiency, clean and renewable power, and a cap on the carbon pollution that's driving global warming.

Unfortunately, there are problems. The bill's clean energy mandates don't get us much further than business as usual. The bill undermines President Obama's authority to enforce the Clean Air Act. It hands billions of dollars to some of the industries that create and use the dirtiest energy. And it may allow the most polluting industries to exploit loopholes in the cap on global warming emissions.

Reason #2: Time is not on our side

Nature often has the power to heal itself.  We've seen wildlife return once we curbed the polluting of our lakes, rivers and bays. We've seen skies clear once we cut emissions from power plants and cars.

If the worst impacts of global warming occur, science tells us that the planet will inevitably recover and survive -- but many species, including our own, may not.

We have precious little time -- a few decades, perhaps only a few years -- before we reach an irreversible turning point on global warming. If we do too little or act too slowly to reduce our dependence on carbon-based fuels, future generations will face rising seas, drought, floods, hurricanes and spreading disease.

Reason #3: It sets us on the path to a greener future

Imagine a future where every home, every workplace, every school is powered by the sun or the wind or other clean energy source that will never run out.

Imagine a future where millions of Americans are employed in this project, erecting wind turbines, installing solar panels, weatherizing homes, and building new mass transit and high-speed rail.

Best of all, imagine a future where we no longer need to pump pollution into our atmosphere, blast away the tops of mountains to extract coal, clean up spills on our beaches, or risk the very lives of future generations.

This clean energy revolution has already begun, but it needs to happen faster, and on a bigger scale, than anything we've seen so far.  The Waxman-Markey bill is a step in the right direction.