Remember the headlines just four months ago? : “Sen. James M. Inhofe (R, OK) builds an igloo on Capitol Hill, dubbing it ‘Al Gore’s New Home’.”
“Critics say snowstorms cast doubt about global warming,” a web ad by Virginia republicans titled “12 Inches of Global Warming”— criticizes representatives who voted for federal climate and energy bill, even a tweet from Sen. Jim DeMint (R- SC) “It’s going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries ‘uncle’” All claims that the snowstorms that hit Washington were proof that global warming was at worse a myth or at best, no longer a problem.
At the time, many in the scientific community responded to the absurdity of these claims. I myself, blogged about the faulty logic in assuming that a snowy winter in the mid-Atlantic disproved global warming.
Last week, the data was in: NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, announced that May’s global temperature is warmest on record and the worldwide average land surface temperature for May and March-May was the warmest on record since official records started being kept in 1880. Deke Arndt, NOAA’s chief of the climate monitoring told Reuters that “every single month since February 1985, has been warmer than its 20th century average.”
Just today, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reported that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that climate change is “very likely” caused predominately by human activity, “re-affirming yet again, the overwhelming scientific consensus about global warming.”
So does this mean Mr. DeMint and Inhofe will now say that this proves global warming does exist? Don’t bet on it. That’s because no amount of proof will be good enough to persuade some in Washington to do the right thing. They simply lack the will. The same way that no amount of oil in the Gulf of Mexico – no matter how many millions of gallons are spilled, how many people are impacted, or birds and wildlife are killed—will persuade them to take action to get us off oil.
Solving the climate and energy crisis and moving away from fossil fuels (the major cause of global warming) has eroded from being a matter of developing solutions-based policy to a political game based on punchy headlines aimed at preventing action.
Sadly, partisan bickering over global warming has lead to chronic lack of action that will ultimately result in some very real impacts to all of us but especially to some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.
Most disheartening is the fact that even many in DC who have traditionally worked to solve this crisis seem to be losing their will.
Proposals in the senate to settle for piecemeal legislation that focus only on utilities, or simply address the oil spill are not going to get us to long-term solutions that spur investments into clean energy technology, transportation solutions, and break our addiction to oil. For that, we need comprehensive energy and climate legislation that includes limits on carbon pollution.
Every president since Richard Nixon has called for energy reform and an end to our reliance on foreign oil. So, what are we waiting for?
The science is inagain. The disaster is streaming live before our eyes again. And our senators are dragging their feet again.
Senators, now is the time. Find your will. Find a way. Now.
Adrianna Quintero is the Director of La Onda Verde de NRDC – Natural Resources Defense Council: www.laondaverde.org.