Rev. Enno K. Limvere October 22, 2019
Warning: Contains Politics
During the 1970’s when the United States had an oil shortage and started to make a concerted effort to switch our country off of its dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. Even Exxon made some investments into hybrid technology for cars and President Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House to promote renewable energy. Under President Reagan, the focus was quickly lost on taking care of the world or its future. Though, as the scientific evidence was becoming more evident, Presidential GOP 1988 candidate George HW Bush vowed to address global warming “On August 31, 1988, George H. W. Bush gave a progressive campaign speech on the environment, touching on many issues present still today. After becoming the 41st President he appointed the first environmentalist, William Reilly ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_K._Reilly ), to head the EPA. ” (Source, ClimateState.com) However, President Bill Clinton didn’t marshal his political will or the government to take this as seriously as was needed. Al Gore ran on this in 2000, but the Texan oilman George W. Bush won and we, the United States, discovered fracking and became the largest supplier of oil, beating out Iran and Saudi Arabia within a decade. Under President Obama, he spent most of his political capital on the Affordable Care Act and was unable to push through any other major piece of legislation, though he did get higher gas standards from the automakers because of the government bailout. He also did what he could through agencies, like the EPA, and executive orders. They all did fall short in helping our country get off of our addiction to fossil fuels and start healing our planet.
We have laws and policies that still give huge tax breaks and credits to the oil and gas businesses even though they are among the most profitable business in the history of our country. It is coming out that Exxon has the scientific research starting in the 1980’s that global climate change is real, but starting hiring lawyers who worked for big tobacco to dilute, distract, and lie about this new reality in order to protect their profits.
Under the Trump administration, where Trump plainly said, that he believes tackling global climate change would hurt the economy now and big business and he would protect the bottom line above all else. His first appointment to the head of the EPA, Scott Pruit, an attorney general from Oklahoma who sued the EPA numerous times to protect fracking in his state. This administration has appointed to the government agencies that are watch dogs of various industries those insiders who want to dismantle them and their regulatory powers. His pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord has been a big setback across the world because many countries and leaders are saying if the US won’t do what is necessary, why should we?
As the above graphic from Vox.com shows, majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans believe now that climate change is happening. Unfortunately, special interest groups, such as fossil fuel companies, and wealthy donors have too much influence on the laws being written, the policies being made, and the enforcement of them. To address these issues will be costly and difficult, but the alternative is to continue to allow our planet and life upon it to die.
There are many insurance companies who are ‘seeing the light.’ Because they know that they will go out of business trying to cover all the damage that will happen as the storms, hurricanes, floods, heat, and winds become stronger. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/global-warming-no-hoax-to-insurance-companies-2011-09-09
Any elected official, whether our city council, county commissioner, state legislature, member of Congress, or next year’s Presidential candidates have to make a commitment to address this and, not just have a plan, but the courage and will to save our future. Many have talked the talk, we need our leaders to walk the walk.