California Governor Jerry Brown has a climatic mess on his hands. California is in the midst of a terrible drought that shows no signs of ending anytime soon. The state also suffers from severe wildfires that push thousands from their homes every year, and droughts make that worse. So it’s understandable that Brown would be angry with Mitch McConnell for urging the states to ignore EPA emissions rules.
Brown said that McConnell’s letter to all 50 state governors, asking them to sign it in resistance to new emissions standards, was a disgrace, according to The Huffington Post. Those standards require power plants to reduce their emissions by 30 percent over the next 15 years. McConnell said the economic impact to his state would be devastating.
However, to states that are feeling the effects of climate change most acutely (like California), a U.S. Senator asking all the states to ignore rules that could set us on the right path towards fighting climate change has to look incredibly selfish and amazingly shortsighted. NBC News has a video of Jerry Brown saying the following on this morning’s Meet the Press:
Here’s the point, that the buildup of carbon coming from coal and petroleum and other sources, that this is going to create these droughts and much, much worse. And that’s why, to have the leader of the Senate, Mr. McConnell, representing his coal constituents, putting at risk the health and well being of America, is a disgrace. This is a serious matter we’re experiencing in California as kind of a foretaste.
But there is no doubt that, into the future, we’re going to have more problems, and we have to do something, and President Obama is taking some important steps. And to fight that, it borders on the immoral.
McConnell’s letter called the EPA’s standards illegal, because creating them and imposing them on the states is, in McConnell’s view, exceeding their authority. But, we live with a Congress that believes everything should go through them. They whine and cry about the dictator in the White House, say that they’re supposed to act as a check on tyranny, and then try to grab all the power for themselves. Is that not also tyrannical?
But, that’s not the point. The point is that we have the leader of the U.S. Senate so bent on his own agenda that he’s not seeing what’s happening as a result of climate change (or really, much of anything). Yes, he was elected to represent the interests of Kentucky, but as a U.S. Senator, he can’t ignore problems in the rest of the country.
McConnell isn’t the only senator with whom Brown is angry. He also ripped Ted Cruz on Meet the Press this morning, saying that Cruz’ entire stance on climate change makes him unfit to run for president. Cruz earned Brown’s wrath by talking about all the snow and ice and cold in parts of the U.S., and saying the people who understand climate change are “alarmists” and “not following the science.”
That does cast some severe doubt on Cruz’ ability to understand enough about the world to run an entire country. He at least ought to know that weather and climate are not the same thing, but that climate influences weather, making it more or less extreme, depending on what it’s doing.
As the governor of a state that’s dealing with extreme problems that are coming from climate change, Brown is understandably angry at these two clowns. Anybody who can’t at least advocate finding a way to reconcile business interests with environmental responsibility, or who just flat-out denies the science and then claims those who accept the science are wrong, is unfit for federal office.