This week, Blue Dog Congresscritters who rely on fossil cult
campaign contributions bribes for their cushy lives bravely suggested that, to keep their jobs, we roast a whole planet full of other peoples’ kids: Earth. Mass suicide: the "centrist" Democrats’ new love. You see, in order for today’s kids to survive into their senior years, we adults have to stop increases in global warming gases. We have to decarbonize global economic activity: and we must do much of it by 2020. Or even 2015. So, we may have as few as sixty-seven months–at most, we have one hundred and twenty-seven months–to fundamentally rework global energy production and transport.
Regarding shorter-term goals, to have a good chance of staying below 2°C, global emissions must start falling after 2015. Achieving this will be no small feat: at present, we emit between 1% and 3% more each year than we did the year before. That trend must be reversed within six years.
What’s the Blue Dogs’ "solution?" Do nothing. What do the Blue Dogs want for our kids? Let’s see what they want for ten year olds. Find "2060" on the graph. Now run your finger up from "2060" to that big band of red on the graph. The middle of that band is the world the today’s ten year olds will most likely know when they’re sixty, if we all do the nothing the Blue Dogs want for us. They are looking at 3 degrees (C) of global warming. What does that mean? Mark Lynas worked it out for us (and the UK Guardian):
Three degrees alone would see increasing areas of the planet being rendered essentially uninhabitable by drought and heat…
With extreme weather continuing to bite – hurricanes may increase in power by half a category above today’s top-level Category Five – world food supplies will be critically endangered. This could mean hundreds of millions – or even billions – of refugees moving out from areas of famine and drought in the sub-tropics towards the mid-latitudes…
In northern Europe and the UK, summer drought will alternate with extreme winter flooding as torrential rainstorms sweep in from the Atlantic – perhaps bringing storm surge flooding to vulnerable low-lying coastlines as sea levels continue to rise. Those areas still able to grow crops and feed themselves, however, may become some of the most valuable real estate on the planet, besieged by millions of climate refugees from the south.
Now look up again from 2060 on the graph. Look up at the top of the color bar, and then at the temperature: 4 degrees C of global warming. That’s the highest possible temperature Meinshausen et al. calculate today’s ten year olds face under the Blue Dogs’ do nothing plan. How could the world become this warm in fifty years? Lynas explains:
The Amazonian rainforest burns in a firestorm of catastrophic ferocity, covering South America with ash and smoke. Once the smoke clears, the interior of Brazil has become desert, and huge amounts of extra carbon have entered the atmosphere, further boosting global warming.
How much further?
Once the trees have gone, desert will appear and the carbon released by the forests’ burning will be joined by still more from the world’s soils. This could boost global temperatures by a further 1.5ºC – tipping us straight into the four-degree world.
Meinshausen et al. calculated the highest possible temperature today’s ten year olds could see when they turn 70 is 5 degrees C of global warming. What do the Blue Dogs bequeath America’s ten year olds in that future?
To find out what the planet would look like with five degrees of warming, one must largely abandon the models and venture far back into geological time, to the beginning of a period known as the Eocene. Fossils of sub-tropical species such as crocodiles and turtles have all been found in the Canadian high Arctic dating from the early Eocene, 55 million years ago, when the Earth experienced a sudden and dramatic global warming. These fossils even show that breadfruit trees were growing on the coast of Greenland, while the Arctic Ocean saw water temperatures of 20C within 200km of the North Pole itself. There was no ice at either pole; forests were probably growing in central Antarctica.
Most of humanity begins to seek refuge away from higher temperatures closer to the poles. Tens of millions of refugees force their way into Scandanavia and the British Isles. World food supplies run out.
How will today’s ten year olds see that hellish world? With the Blue Dogs’s "solution": Do nothing.
For the Blue Dogs’ next trick, will they move the Capitol to Guayana, or just go all the way and pass out Kool-Aid? No surprise here: they’ve already handing out Kool-Aid:
Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), a leader of the centrist [sic] New Democrat Coalition, sees healthcare as a more productive use of time.
"What a number of us believe is that if we’re in the business of passing legislation, healthcare is where we ought to be putting our emphasis," said Davis, a vice chairman of the business-minded New Democrats. "That means putting that over climate change policy. But in the throes of a recession, more of a burden on industry is not a good idea."
Davis, who is running for governor in a coal-dependent state…
For "centrist" New Democrats, annihilating posterity is productive. And a great career move! Grist has more on do nothing: the nifty new strategy for converting tomorrow’s grandkids into today’s political perks.
Rick Boucher (D-VA)
Boucher, a coal-state moderate [sic] ….and his allies have circulated a list of changes they’d like to see.
While the bill currently mandates a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020, Boucher is pushing to lower that goal to 6 percent.
He wants to give out many emission permits free to energy-intensive industries and to the local distribution companies (LDCs) that funnel electricity to users, rather than auctioning the permits off…
Electric utilities have been the top campaign contributors to Boucher, giving him $753,960 over the past 20 years. He’s also received $264,106 from mining interests, $262,467 from oil and gas, and $203,696 from chemical and related manufacturing industries.
John Dingell (D-MI)
"Nobody in this country realizes that cap-and-trade is a tax, and a great big one," Dingell said during hearings on the bill last week, essentially repeating the Republican talking point that the bill amounts to a massive tax….
Also at the hearings, Dingell expressed concern about the "aggressive nature" of the bill’s renewable energy standard (RES). "I worry that 25 percent [renewable energy] in 15 years might be more than states can handle." He has suggested allowing nuclear power to count toward a state’s baseline renewable levels…..
Dingell has received $1,183,547 over his career from electric utilities, making them his biggest contributor. He’s also received $953,465 from the automotive sector, and $409,091 from oil and gas interests.
G.K. Butterfield (D-NC)
Butterfield has questioned whether the bill has enough votes to make it out of committee-and his own vote is likely to be one of the deciding factors.
….."We cannot achieve a 25 percent mandate by 2025. Not only is it impractical, but it is impossible." He has suggested including nuclear, biomass, and efficiency in the options that states would have to meet their renewable-power requirements. He argues that Southern states, which are heavily coal-dependent and have been slower to adopt renewable power, will have particular trouble with an RES, so he’s requesting "special consideration for my state and several other states in the Southeast in our situation." (Recent reports have found that the South has big potential for renewable-energy development and could in fact meet an ambitious RES.)
Electric utilities have been Butterfield’s fifth-largest donor, at $50,000 over his career so far.
Gene Green (D-Texas)
Green has requested that 5 percent of carbon allowances be given free of cost to the refinery industry, which is obviously large in his state.
"I can’t vote for a bill unless my refineries [are protected]; because of the nature of my district, it’s a job base and a tax base," Green told Dow Jones. "Frankly, it’s a national-security issue. I don’t want to transfer production offshore for refined products, relying on imports from the Middle East and Venezuela."…
But Green is also worried about what would happen if regulation is left to the Environmental Protection Agency. "If Congress does not act, greenhouse gases could be regulated without the input of legislators who represent the diverse interests of this country," he said.
The oil and gas sector is among Green’s biggest donors, at $330,613 over his career, as are electric utilities, at $271,800.
Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas)
Gonzalez wants to make sure that the bill protects citizens from high energy costs. "It’s all about the consumer," he told reporters last week. "Any increase in the price in energy looms large."
Gonzalez is also worried about how the bill will impact oil refineries. His district houses the headquarters of Valero, one of the largest refiners in the country.
Industrial unions, the oil and gas sector, and electric utilities have all been among Gonzalez’s biggest contributors over the years.
Um, I don’t know how to break it to Gene Green and the rest of the Blue Dog Fossil Fools, but those "diverse interests" you all purport to serve are simply the different banks Big Carbon uses for your
campaign donations bribes. While you were busy cashing your owners’ checks, over the last couple of decades people like Amory Lovins (and the Rocky Mountains Institute), Lester Brown (and the Worldwatch Institute…and the Earth Policy Institute), and Stanford‘s Mark Jacobson have shown us carbon-free energy is possible now — and cheaper than anything carbon-based (or nuclear-based) energy promises.
If we act. Which is exactly what the Blue Dogs don’t want us to do–they’d rather protect America’s massively subsidized mining sector and massively subsidized utilities than the rest of us. Or our collective futures.
In an exchange in a leadership meeting last week confirmed by aides and participants, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) criticized Van Hollen for disparaging the chances of cap-and-trade. Van Hollen said he felt that healthcare reform should be done first.
After the exchange became public, Van Hollen got support from his vulnerable members, aides said.
"They appreciated that he was looking out for their interests," said a Democratic aide.
Great. Thanks to the corporatist party’s Democratic wing, Chris Van Hollen and the DCCC want to make Congress safe for suicide pacts and the Blue Dogs paid to push them. Too bad about the rest of us. And our kids.
Bon appetit – the roast will be ready soon.