The Paris climate talks just wrapped with a historic agreement between 195 nations. But if you thought the unanimity addressing climate change on the global stage reflects a similar consensus here at home, think again. Republicans used the event to prove themselves every bit the pollution-lovers we already know they are:
- They threatened to shut our government down over any deal President Obama strikes before he even left for France. It seems they’d rather grind country to a halt and gut the economy than contribute to any kind of solution to warming globe.
- They voted on the very same day the Paris talks started, to attack EPA protections designed to keep the most harmful emissions from coal plants out of the air that we all breathe. Because… you know… clean air is so overrated.
Senator Bernie Sanders saw right through the GOP's politically opportunistic climate denial and called them out as the industry shills that they are:
"The scientists are virtually unanimous that climate change is real, is caused by human activity and is already causing devastating problems in the United States and around the world. And, they tell us, if we do not act boldly the situation will only become much worse in years to come in terms ofdrought, floods, extreme storms and acidification of the oceans. Sadly, we now have a Republican Party that is more concerned about protecting the profits of Exxon, BP and Shell and the coal industry than protecting the planet. While fossil fuel companies are raking in record profits, climate change ravages our planet and our people – all because the wealthiest industry in the history of our planet has bribed politicians into ignoring science."
But before you start thinking that the GOP has gone nuts huffing its own fumes, I have to warn you that some squishy Democrats are starting to sing the same tune.
To be fair, they aren’t trying to undermine the global effort quite as blatantly as the Republicans. Instead, like their friends in the GOP, they’re flirting with an end to the longtime oil export ban, which would hand Big Oil a huge victory at the expense of public health and the entire environmental movement. That ban may become a casualty of DC gluttony-- a bargaining chip used in an over-bloated omnibus spending bill that gives every corporate shill a piece of the pie.
We can’t allow the success of Paris to be turned into a "one step forward, three steps back" situation. Here’s what Congressman Raul M. Grijalva, Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee told us:
"No political concession is worth handing Big Oil this kind of victory. The world is making historic progress towards curbing climate change, and it is unfathomable that some in the Democratic Party would join with career-long pollution cronies to undermine a protection that has been in place for four decades. Lifting this ban would be a black eye for everyone who negotiated in good faith for 9 years leading up to Paris. We must be united in our resolve that climate change cannot be solved through half-measures, and send a message that we will hold anyone who undermines progress accountable for their actions."
We already have one political party that is bought and sold by polluting industries. We can’t afford to have a second, but the only way to stop that is to ensure our progressive candidates win in November.