Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Warming Wednesdays: Romney v. the planet

Today's post is outsourced to the New York Times Sunday editorial.

Mr. Romney has plainly decided that satisfying his party’s antiregulatory base is essential to his political future. But the policies he espouses would be devastating for the country and the planet. If there are doubts on that point, the most recent findings from the International Energy Agency should dispel them: the agency reports an alarming one-year increase in global greenhouse gas emissions, largely because of increasing coal use around the world.

¶ The agency also said that keeping global temperatures below a dangerous threshold is “still within reach” if nations aggressively reduce fossil-fuel consumption while nurturing low-carbon alternatives. And where is Mr. Romney on that? Nowhere.

¶ The man who once worried about climate-driven sea-level rise in poor countries like Bangladesh now says things like “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” as if mainstream science were wrong and humans had nothing to do with it.

¶ On coal, the governor who once stood in front of a Massachusetts coal-fired power plant and said, “that plant kills people,” recently whirled through Craig, Colo., talking up coal and accusing President Obama of making it “harder to get coal out of the ground.”

¶ On oil and gas, Mr. Romney is wholly in the drill now, drill everywhere mode championed by House Republicans. If his spokesmen are to be believed, he would open up vulnerable and legally protected public lands to drilling. Despite his proclaimed belief in a competitive free-enterprise system — and his concerns about the deficit — Mr. Romney is determined to maintain the oil’s industry’s preposterous $4 billion-a-year tax breaks.

¶ When Mr. Romney talks about energy, he means what he calls “real energy” — he-man energy like coal, oil and natural gas, not what he contemptuously dismisses as Mr. Obama’s “imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy.” Or as he once said, “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.”

¶ Meanwhile, the self-described risk-taker who once touted clean energy as “an economic engine very much like biotech” now regularly denounces Mr. Obama for taking risks.

Will the people of the United States elect this horrid whore for the oil companies and the flat earth brigade? It looks too close to call at present.

Despite every other legitimate concern, we cannot ignore that our economic and social system is rapidly making the planet less habitable. So I will be posting "Warming Wednesdays" -- unpleasant reminders of an inconvenient truth.

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