This guest post from Lefty Coaster provides windows on the anti-science syndrome suffering hatred of a livable economic system running through the rhetoric of many of the Republican Party’s candidates.
Republicans would despoil our country in pursuit of the oil and coal that are so profitable for their corporate sponsors, and so bad for our planetary climate. They are pushing energy policies that are hastening the end of the Holocene epoch, and the start of the Anthropocene epoch.
This comes from Bill McKibben writing at HuffPo:
If we’re going to get any of this done, we’re going to need a movement, the one thing we haven’t had. For 20 years environmentalists have operated on the notion that we’d get action if we simply had scientists explain to politicians and CEOs that our current ways were ending the Holocene, the current geological epoch. That turns out, quite conclusively, not to work. We need to be able to explain that their current ways will end something they actually care about, i.e. their careers. And since we’ll never have the cash to compete with Exxon, we better work in the currencies we can muster: bodies, spirit, passion.
We need to shame them, starting now. And we need everyone working together.
Mostly, we need to tell the truth, resolutely and constantly. Fossil fuel is wrecking the one earth we’ve got. It’s not going to go away because we ask politely. If we want a world that works, we’re going to have to raise our voices.
The prospect of humans putting an end to the Holocene is all too real, yet Republicans candidates blithely try to ignore the stark reality of a profoundly altered planetary climate that is emerging.
The Holocene is a geological epoch which began approximately 12,000 years ago (10?000 14C years ago). According to traditional geological thinking, the Holocene continues to the present. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Greek words ???? (holos, whole or entire) and ?????? (kainos, new), meaning “entirely recent”. It has been identified with the current warm period, known as MIS 1, and can be considered an interglacial in the current ice age.
Human civilization, in its most widely used definition, dates entirely within the Holocene. The word anthropocene is sometimes used to describe the time period from when humans have had a significant impact on the Earth’s climate and ecosystems to the present.
Here are some of the things craven Republican Senate candidates are pushing for their corporate sponsors. These corrupt policies will hasten the end of the Holocene.
From Pat Toomey running in Pennsylvania:
Pat also supports allowing Americans to drill for oil in the Outer Continental Shelf and to develop the vast oil shale reserves in America’s western states. Other sources of energy include natural gas in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale and the production of nuclear power.
From Mark Rubio running in Florida:
ENERGY: “I support a comprehensive energy plan that encourages nuclear energy, exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and environmentally safe leasing of oil and natural gas fields in the outer continental shelf and on federally owned lands with oil shale in the West.
From Jane Norton running in Colorado:
We need a domestic energy surge. I will fight to:
* Drill in ANWR. Drill the Roan Plateau.
* Expand oil, natural gas, and coal production on federal lands by freeing up the leasing process
* Continue offshore drilling programs
* Give access to coal reserves in North Fork Valley roadless areas
* Fight cap-and-trade
* Restart a meaningful oil shale R&D leasing program
* Incentivizing renewables, conservation, and the next generation of energy sources
From Sharon Angle running in Nevada:
ANGLE: I was just saying we are over regulating some of our industries and of course the oil and petroleum industry is one of those we’ve been over regulating and that has what has been dependent on foreign oil. And of course that dependence gets us into big troubles overseas. And, we need to not have the dependence, we need to come back and explore our domestic resources and take the regulation off. If we would take the regulation off, we could explore in ANWR, and also some of the other places we have oil reserves that we’re not doing that right now.
About Lisa Murkoski running in Alaska:
Murkowski plans to offer a resolution barring the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions. In other words, Murkowski plans to offer a resolution making it less likely we move away from fossil fuels, making it less likely we act to prevent a foreseeable catastrophe (in this case, global warming) from occurring, blocking regulators from doing their jobs, and disrupting one of our best opportunities to prevent climate change rather than scramble to respond after its incalculable effects rip through our atmosphere.
About John McCain running in Arizona:
There are a number of such climate cowards, but let me single out one in particular: Senator John McCain.
There was a time when Mr. McCain was considered a friend of the environment. Back in 2003 he burnished his maverick image by co-sponsoring legislation that would have created a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. He reaffirmed support for such a system during his presidential campaign, and things might look very different now if he had continued to back climate action once his opponent was in the White House. But he didn’t — and it’s hard to see his switch as anything other than the act of a man willing to sacrifice his principles, and humanity’s future, for the sake of a few years added to his political career.
Alas, Mr. McCain wasn’t alone; and there will be no climate bill. Greed, aided by cowardice, has triumphed. And the whole world will pay the price.
From Rand Paul running in Kentucky:
If we leave our energy policy to the special interests in Washington, we will never solve our energy problems. Our energy crisis stems from too much government intervention. The solution requires allowing businesses and ideas to compete.
From Roy Blunt running in Missouri:
Instead of grabbing for new taxes and new regulatory control at every turn, the energy policy we need will encourage new production of U.S. oil, coal and natural gas in environmentally responsible ways. As we look to tomorrow, sensible policies also will emphasize greater conservation and investment in alternative fuels and next-generation energy technologies, but not government takeovers and mandates.
From Chuck Grassley running in Iowa:
Now, a lot of members of Congress and most environmentalists are — are absolutely convinced manmade is the — is the factor — chief factor here. But I — I want to, before I vote on it, be more conclusive in my judgment, and I haven’t reached that conclusion at this point.
From David Vitter running in Louisiana:
“I’m predicting — at least as we speak now — that we can kill any major climate change legislation on the Senate floor, and prevent this massive utility and energy tax on every American from going into effect,” Vitter said
From Jim DeMint running in South Carolina:
Some say we shouldn’t be allowed to explore for natural gas and oil off our coast, but I disagree and I always have. South Carolina should be allowed to make this decision. Under the right circumstances, we could safely access energy that would help lower gas prices. Also, the royalties South Carolina receives from these leases could be used to improve the condition of our beaches and coastal wetlands, creating a real win-win opportunity.
Second, it is estimated that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge holds more than 10 billion barrels of oil. That is about the same as the amount of crude oil we import from Saudi Arabia over 20 years. The resources from this region would be helping us today were it not for President Clinton vetoing legislation in 1995 allowing exploration.
Finally, the Green River Basin that runs through Utah, Colorado and Wyoming is rich in oil shale. It is estimated that more than 800 billion barrels of oil is recoverable in this region — the equivalent of 100 years worth of oil imports.
If America can utilize the resources in our own backyard while also encouraging cheaper alternative sources of energy such as nuclear power, we can begin to work toward a more sustainable energy policy.
From Johnny Isakson running in Georgia:
“I’m extremely disappointed that many members of the Senate do not seem to understand the implications of this ruling on our economy. This backdoor attempt to regulate greenhouse gases will have dramatic negative effects on our manufacturing sector while also causing significant increases in the cost of power generation,” Isakson said. “While we should take proactive steps to reduce our emissions footprint, it is absolutely essential to address the economic impact of these measures on our economy.”
From Richard Shelby running in Alabama:
Senator Shelby supports tapping into all domestically available energy sources, including nuclear, oil, natural gas, clean coal and hydroelectric, while also continuing to develop alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. Only through an appropriate mix of domestic energy sources, can we expect to produce the energy our nation needs, while also properly encouraging the development of new domestic sources.
From Tom Coburn running in Oklahoma:
My commitments to correcting our nation’s energy policy include:
• Fighting to lift federal barriers on the development of oil shale. American oil shale reserves are the largest in the world, and exceed one trillion barrels of reserve oil.
• Leading the fight against legislation that permanently blocks access to all forms of energy—traditional and renewable. Recently led efforts to defeat massive public lands bill that blocked an additional 3 million acres of prime energy land.
• Fighting unnecessary environmental regulations that are intended to drive small energy producers out of business.
• Supporting the development of next generation nuclear energy.
• Fighting legislation that blocks construction of much needed transmission capacity, including major natural gas ports and electricity lines needed to transport power from new wind farms to market.
• Blocking legislation that will limit access to major reserves of clean, renewable energy, including major geothermal resources.
• Opposing carbon cap and trade systems that will grow the government, and dramatically increase energy costs to consumers.
From Mike Lee running in Utah:
Congress needs to authorize oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (“ANWR”). Congress also needs to direct the U.S. Department of the Interior to promulgate its long-awaited oil shale leasing program, which has the potential to unlock hundreds of billions of barrels of shale oil. In Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming, there are over one trillion barrels of proven, recoverable oil shale reserves. (That’s more oil than the combined petroleum reserves of the world’s top-ten oil producing countries.) But because much of that oil shale is tied up in federal lands, shale oil will continue to be known as “the fuel of the future” until such time as the federal government is willing to lease federal lands for the purpose of shale-oil production. That needs to happen now. To ensure that we have an adequate supply of clean, reliable energy, we need to develop all available energy resources.
From John Hoeven running in North Dakota:
Instead of Cap and Trade, Congress needs to implement a comprehensive energy policy that will incentivize industry to develop all of our energy resources, both traditional sources and renewable sources.
This Republican chorus of ignorance and denial is astounding in a modern society that relies so heavily on scientific discoveries.
Energy Policy wasn’t even on radar of a number of Republican Senate Candidates judging by its omission from the issues addressed on their campaign websites, so they weren’t included. Other candidates seem to avoid the issue having done a shameful about face to toe the Republican Party Line of climate denial.
A couple of common themes emerge beyond the historic Republican pattern of knee jerk obstructionism and denial on almost all environmental issues across the board.
The themes that emerge show Republican enthusiasm for the following:
*Increased offshore drilling along our coastlines, including in very deep water
* Transforming the Arctic Wildlife Refuge into an oilfield
. * Pushing for expanding oil production from Oil Shale and Tar Sands
Americans just had a object lesson on the hazards of offshore oil production that came close to killing the Gulf of Mexico. Oil Shale and Tar Sands require a very carbon intensive production process. A process that would also would transform vast areas into toxic wastelands to extract the oil. Many Republican candidates give lip service to alternative energy, and reducing oil imports, while they advance the agenda of big oil and big coal companies.
Much worse Republicans consciously turn a blind eye to the monstrous downside from the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change. A change that could be so momentous that it could usher in a whole new epoch. Putting an end to the Holocene that nurtured human civilization since it began, and pushing humanity into the uncharted territory of the Anthropocene. And the Anthropocene is shaping up to be a much less benign environment for human societies.