Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Climate Change Heeldraggers

The EPA has proposed findings that may lead to regulation of greenhouse gases. And it looks like the Washington figures who will lead the fight against such regulation will be Senators James Inhofe of Oklahoma and John Barrasso of Wyoming.

In Senate floor speeches, Inhofe and Barrasso spoke on how climate change legislation would worsen the current economic crisis. Their language evokes a vision of a jobless American landscape, as if the Obama administration or the public would simply allow such a doomsday situation to occur. They express doubt in the scientific evidence of global warming, yet have not offered evidence to support their predictions of massive job loss and debt should greenhouse gases be regulated.

They have gone so far as to stall the confirmation of an EPA official over the issue, saying that they still have unanswered questions on how EPA action on greenhouse gases would affect industries. But since EPA hasn't even proposed a course of action yet, I think those questions would be more appropriately addressed during the drafting and proposal of climate change legislation. I'm sure there will be plenty of discussion and debate opportunities when that time comes since every state could be significantly affected.

The pressure to act on global warming grows every year, as does the evidence. Inhofe and Barrasso could serve their constituents in ways better than dragging their heels as the country finally gives in to the pressure. They can more precisely determine how greenhouse gas prevention programs would affect industries and prepare those industries for the changes ahead. They can find solutions that attain a balance, and perhaps synergy, between industrial production and greenhouse gas control. With their tactics of delay and denial, they are setting up their constituents to become unprepared opponents rather than participating partners in this new environmental movement.

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