Arizona Daily Wildcat :: Head to Head: Democrats and Republicans debate environmental policy, midterm elections

Voters have a clear choice in November with regard to the environment: Democrats, led by President Barack Obama, have made extraordinary strides forward in environmental policy in the past six years. Despite roadblocks from Republicans in Congress, under the president’s leadership, we’ve seen new regulations for coal power plants, groundbreaking standards signed into law that will increase average fuel economy to over 50 miles per gallon by 2025, and a tenfold increase in solar power.

What have the Republicans done for the environment? Nothing but stand in the way. Nationally, GOP leaders have continued to deny the scientific fact of climate change. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing to see elected officials, who purport to serve the will of the people, make complete fools of themselves.

I wondered whether or not to include data about how practically every study ever done on the issue of climate change has concluded that human activity is warming the planet at an alarming rate, but since we have all had to take general education science classes, we all know that already. The “liberal conspiracy” of climate change is going to affect our country whether certain right-wing clowns believe it or not. We need to take steps to avert the worst consequences and slow our reckless burning of fossil fuels. The actions of this administration are a step in the right direction, but more work is needed.

The steps that the Obama-Biden Administration has taken so far aren’t sufficient to stop climate change, and for that reason, we have to keep working and electing candidates who support positive environmental policy. Eventually, Americans will have to move toward a cap and trade or carbon tax system of regulating greenhouse emissions if we want to prevent an increase in the average summer temperature of Tucson from 99 degrees to 109. 109 degrees.

The only politicians with the guts to propose these hard solutions? Obama and congressional Democrats.

Unfortunately, policy isn’t made in a vacuum. There are other issues facing the country that are also of pressing concern. Economic hardship, limited access to education, crises abroad and other issues need to be dealt with by our government, too.

Some say that we can ignore environmental issues for now or that protecting our environment is too expensive. I wonder if these people can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Of course there are other issues, and important ones, that need to be confronted. That does not mean, however, that we can unilaterally ignore the threats posed by climate change. The time to act is now. Actually, the time to act was five or 10 years ago.

There’s still time to ward off the worst effects of climate change (God forbid it gets that hot in Tucson in August), and the only way to do that is by electing leaders at the local, state and national levels who support renewable energy production and who pledge to confront our long-term environmental problems head on.

While not every Democrat is quite as much as a tree-hugger as I’d like them to be, as a collective, our party believes that we need to protect the environment now, before it’s too late. The Republicans can’t say the same.

via Arizona Daily Wildcat :: Head to Head: Democrats and Republicans debate environmental policy, midterm elections.