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Economic Crisis Or Climate Crisis, Must We Choose?

McCain and Obama debate the economic crisis' effect on national security. We're already in a situation that no matter what gets done, the economic

McCain and Obama debate the economic crisis' effect on national security.

We're already in a situation that no matter what gets done, the economic meltdown is going to drag a lot of people worldwide under. We're in the same situation with global warming - in that case quite literally. Now Republicans and their energy lobbyist friends are saying we're going to have to choose which one sinks most.

As one Republican senator put it, the green bubble has burst.

"Clearly it is somewhere down the totem pole given the economic realities we are facing," said Tom Williams, a spokesman for Duke Energy Corp., an electricity producer that has supported federal mandates on greenhouse gases. Duke is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, an association of businesses and nonprofit groups that has lobbied Congress to act.

What they have the axe out for is "Cap and Trade", a policy plan whereby companies either reduce emissions or pay to pollute. The energy industry, of course, hates it - and now wants permits to pollute to be free. Their vest-pocket representatives on the Hill already have such a bill in the works and it's sponsored by two Dems - Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va and of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. Even that's not good enough for House Republicans. Oklahoman wingnut Inhofe says "The current economic crisis only reinforces the public's wariness about any climate bill that attempts to increase the costs of energy and jeopardizes jobs," while Texan Joe Barton says even the Boucher-Dingell bill could lead the country "off the economic cliff."

Other Democrats, however, see a cap-and-trade bill — and the government revenues it would generate from selling permits — as an engine for economic growth. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama supports auctioning off all permits, using the money to help fund alternative energy.

"If you see this as a job creation opportunity for the U.S. to develop the products that are then sold around the world, then you should be optimistic about what the impact of passage would mean for the American economy," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass.

The energy lobby is apparently quite willing to cynically sacrifice lives to its members own pocketbooks, just as the financial sector is. Both are also willing to sacrifice national security on the altars of their own greed too. It's not too long since a Republicans were trying to sink the production of an NIE on the national security implications of gobal warming - even after a Pentagon report in 2003 (PDF) and a government-funded thinktank of retired military leaders in 2007 both called climate change a pressing threat to national security. More recently, even once-was-neocon Francis Fukuyama admits that the financial meltdown will have massive negative implications for America's place in the world and governments worldwide are publicly worrying about its effects on geopolitical stability.

Of course, we've seen this kind of corporate selfishness before - from the military/industrial complex Ike warned about so accurately. It's become obvious that the problem is any too cozy corporate/government symbiosis. Such relationships are bad for We The People, end of story.

Crossposted from Newshoggers

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