Have they no grandchildren?


Powerful column in today’s New York Times by Thomas Friedman about the Senate Democrats’ recent abandonment of an effort to pass an energy/climate bill that would cap greenhouse gases and promote renewable energy.

Wrote Friedman:

When I first heard on Thursday that Senate Democrats were abandoning the effort to pass an energy/climate bill that would begin to cap greenhouse gases that cause global warming and promote renewable energy that could diminish our addiction to oil, I remembered something that Joe Romm, the blogger, once said: The best thing about improvements in health care is that all the climate-change deniers are now going to live long enough to see how wrong they were.

Alas, so are the rest of us. I could blame Republicans for the fact that not one G.O.P. senator indicated a willingness to vote for a bill that would put the slightest price on carbon. I could blame the Democratic senators who were also waffling. I could blame President Obama for his disappearing act on energy and spending more time reading the polls than changing the polls. I could blame the Chamber of Commerce and the fossil-fuel lobby for spending bags of money to subvert this bill. But the truth is, the public, confused and stressed by the last two years, never got mobilized to press for this legislation. We will regret it.

Like Friedman, this sickens me. S-i-c-k-e-n-s me. I am so tired of hearing the likes of Hannity, Beck, Rush, etc calling climate change “a hoax.” OK, let’s say that’s a possibility. Let’s say that maybe they’re correct … that maybe the planet isn’t heating up from man-made decisions. Wouldn’t you still—logically—rather err on the side of caution? Wouldn’t you say, “Well, it can’t actually hurt us to make the earth clearer—and, just in case the scientists are right, we can also avoid a complete global meltdown.” It just blows me away, the way we’re destroying the planet and yet, no one wants to do anything about it. We talk about the future—”our children and grandchildren”—but are never backing it up. We go about life as if only today matters.

The reality: Nothing will ever get done, and if climate change is legitimate (as I firmly believe), we’re fucked. The planet will get hotter and hotter, but the loudmouths among us will always accuse the others of behind like Chicken Little.

Then, one day, we’ll all be dead.