A minority of Senators has blocked the United States Senate from protecting our children’s and our country’s future. Because of their denial and obstructionism, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday that the Senate cannot take up comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation at this time.
This is an abject failure, one that rests in the hands of the Senate Republican Leadership and a small cluster of Democratic Senators.
These short-sighted few are failing to invest in job-producing clean energy, failing to secure us from despotic regimes that sell oil and failing to confront runaway global warming. They are fiddling while Rome burns.
Their failure means that we will continue to send a billion dollars a day overseas to buy oil, that China will continue to race ahead in creating the jobs of the future and that pollution will continue to increase at home. In short, as our colleagues at Clean Energy Works said this afternoon, “China will get more of our jobs, the Middle East more of our money and Americans will be left with fewer jobs and more pollution.”
We are in the midst of the hottest year on record, and the number of natural disasters has more than doubled since 1980. Meanwhile, a new NRDC study shows that 1 out of every 3 U.S. counties will face water shortages by the year 2050.
This is the future that a handful of Senators would leave our children.
Instead of dealing with the disastrous economic, health, and security consequences of unchecked climate change, these politically motivated senators are using a filibuster to thwart the will of the majority in the House, the Senate, and the American public who want to solve global warming with clean energy investments that will unleash hundreds of billions in investment to create good jobs and insure our global competitiveness.
This kind of political gamesmanship is not what American needs right now. We need to confront this crisis.
The pollution that causes global warming is a gusher many times the size of the Gulf oil spill. Long after the Deepwater Horizon well is finally killed, we will regret the Senate’s failure this summer to cap carbon pollution. And we will remember these politicians very unkindly.
It is not too late for politicians of both parties – out of self-interest if not love of country – to lift their blockade of America’s future. There is still time before this Congress departs for the year to get the right legislation enacted, one that limits carbon pollution, ends our oil dependence, and creates the new, clean-energy jobs throughout the country.
But to accomplish this, we must use the August town halls to raise our voices and tell our elected officials that we do not accept failure in the face of one of the biggest crises of the 21st century.
Surely America can respond to this challenge with resolve and ingenuity instead of paralysis. Surely that is what our children deserve: our best efforts at protecting their futures.
This post originally appeared on NRDC's Switchboard.
Peter Lehner is the Executive Director of the Natural Resource Defense Council. NRDC is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the environment, people and animals. NRDC was founded in 1970 and is comprised of more than 300 lawyers, scientists and policy experts, with more than one million members and e-activists.