Opinion

The Great Debate

Time for GOP to stop denying climate change

By Mike Honda
October 5, 2012

Society, throughout history, has embraced “truths” later revealed to be false: The Earth is flat, the Sun revolves around the Earth and, now, climate change is a hoax. Strong evidence – including the fact that the Arctic ice melt has reached the lowest point in history – shows that climate change is real. Yet Republican members of Congress still refuse to take meaningful steps to address what can be done to protect our planet from this growing threat.

The first eight months of 2012 were the hottest on record since record keeping began in 1895. June, July and August produced the third-hottest summer ever recorded. The nation as a whole is averaging 4 degrees Fahrenheit above the average temperature for the year– a full degree higher than in 2006, which, until now, had the hottest first eight months of any year.

We are experiencing the effects of these ever-more-extreme conditions daily. This summer, 40 out of 50 states had drought-designated counties with conditions severe enough to be eligible for federal aid. Almost two-thirds of the nation experienced moderate to severe drought conditions, a 30 percent increase from last year, when one-third of the country witnessed such conditions. Even more staggering, 80 percent of our agricultural land has been affected by drought, which means higher food prices at a time when Americans are already under financial strain.

Over the past few years, we have witnessed increasing numbers of wildfires, violent hurricanes and tornados, and unprecedented drought. Americans understand what’s happening, and they want us to do something about it. A large majority of Americans believe that global warming made several recent high-profile weather and climatic events worse, according to a George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication study. A second report from the same center shows that 72 percent of Americans believe that developing clean energies should be a national priority.

The public is on our side here. It’s a wonder to me why my Republican colleagues in Congress continue to deny the reality of a warming planet and the role of humans in causing it. Maybe they don’t see the opportunities that come with addressing the problem head-on.

We could have a new dawn for American innovation and technology. But Republican leaders would prefer instead to bury their heads deep in the sand, allowing other countries, like the Netherlands, to lead the way on green technologies and actionable solutions – while America watches from the sidelines.

Americans want Congress, as policymakers, to take action. This is what we do.

We are a nation that stands up to our challenges and faces our problems, finding creative solutions and turning problems into opportunities. We can do that now. By developing green technologies and renewable energy, we are investing in our future, a tradition that has proven successful for America.

America’s wind energy program, for example, had a banner year in 2011. Bolstered by tax credits, which Republicans want to rescind, it brought America into the number two spot for fastest-growing wind industry in the world after China.

Investing in new frontiers and technologies would greatly benefit America – irrespective of climate change predictions. Renewable energy is the future. It has the potential to create jobs, marketplace demand and a thriving industry. In addition, the United States can be a global leader, blazing a path for others to follow. We would be remiss not to embrace the challenge.

Climate change is not a hoax, a myth or a tool for political leverage. We can’t ignore the evidence. It is the greatest threat to our future, our children’s future and the planet’s future.

It is also a unique invitation for innovation and achievement. Renewable energy is the way of the future – whether or not we are the ones leading the charge. We must not allow America to get left behind.

 

Comments
4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Thank-you Congressman Honda. I have been spending the week-end of Oct. 6-7 reading up on climate change and found your article. I agree wholeheartedly.

Our investments must be wise, however, to avoid mistakes like Spain’s solar energy policy.

Posted by Tenzin | Report as abusive
 

THE SKY IS FALLING! Anyone who disagrees with me is an ignorant denier!

Posted by CHL40SW | Report as abusive
 

The GOP only cares about profits. They will not support renewable energy until it has become MORE profitable than oil and coal. Then it will get their attention.

I heard someone say (of the GOP), “To them, it’s not just about the money….it’s ONLY about the money.”

Posted by Rhino111 | Report as abusive
 

What is it about liberals that they are just not able to discern the truth from fable? Do they live in an alternative universe where they make up the story and then act it out?

Which congressman denies climate change? There isn’t any. The climate has been changing from the beginning and it changes every year and every day in the real world.

What we deny is that climate change is man-made. But, I suppose that argument would be much more difficult to sustain in a conversation with inhabitants of the real world, so, what the hell, just keep on talking about your alternative climate that’s changing and which you can speed up or slow down as you please.

I see some of the inhabitants of your fog-world accuse the GOP of only caring about profits. Profits make the world go around, in case you haven’t figured that out. In your world there must be a paranormal system where people in need can be helped without having money. I don’t know, but that would be somehing see.

Somehow you guys believe being poor and destitute is more noble than being in a position to actually help others. GOP members’ contributions to charity exponentially outstrip that of Democrats. So your logic is not of this world and is certainly not real. You ought not even be allowed to vote in the real world, because aliens should not be allowed to vote.

But wait! Some of the richest people are democrats. If they don’t care about profits, then how did they make their money? If not earned through making a profit then, they must have acquired it by ill-gotten gains! How come I never thought of that?

Harry Reid, how did you become a multi-millionaire on a senator’s salary?

Posted by Realville | Report as abusive
 

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