William Church | Managing Director CIWARS
Let’s start with the facts. First, the Republican leadership are not uneducated, slack jawed, knuckle dragging subhumans only focussed on corporate profits; therefore, the effort to paint them this way belie simple observation. The effort to paint them as mental throw backs because they do not believe in evolution or have faith in the Bible is a really dangerous strategy and only serves to divide and not unite. Democrats fall into the trap of God or Democrat choice, which is not winnable.
Second, the vast majority of Americans do not really care about Climate Change. They care about paying their bills, keeping their jobs, raising their families, and enjoying themselves.
Third, the effort to link Climate Change and conflict or the end of the world will only backfire like most of the current strategies. Yes, there is a causal presence of conflict and Climate Change but the primary cause of conflict is the lack of governance and the inability to avoid conflict. Beyond all the headlines this is what the recent studies show. To take the position, that Climate Change causes conflict is to recast humans as a species that has not progressed in 13,000 years.
This is the point and the only point worth discussing. Humans, scientific knowledge and governance sciences have progressed. Humans have instant access to events and knowledge worldwide. Humans have access to advanced technology. There are solutions to avoid the most drastic consequences of Climate Change, at least for the next 100 years.
So why do Republicans deny Climate Change and refuse to address the issues? Their denial is based on the core of current Republican philosophy: less government, less taxes, “individuals can solve all problems”, no government involvement in our lives, except for reproductive rights, marriage rights, and religious-based issues.
Unfortunately, with all the facts known today, the solution to surviving Climate Change is more governance. This might strike a sour note because governance is widely misunderstood today. Governance has been polarised into meaning government intrusion in our lives and loss of individual freedom, and the Democratic Party must partly share this blame.
Climate Change governance means we do exactly what the founders of the United States of America meant for the federal government to do: govern issues that require federal focus between the states, require funding beyond the ability of a single state, and defend the nation from all threats foreign and domestic.
The core Democratic Party’s failure is to live in the world of Climate Change fear–which is owned by the current Republic Party and not live in the Climate Change solutions world. The Democratic Party needs to build a direct correlation between Climate Change problems and Climate Change solutions. Also, the Democratic Party should stop talking about the future, and focus on the tangible today.
Houston, Miami (Southern Florida), and California are top of the brain examples.
Houston is the prime example. Natural drainage systems have been paved over with concrete and urban expansion. Extreme weather events are a current aspect of Climate Change. There have been so many repetitive thousand-year-events in the last four years that this is undeniable. The result is a loss of productivity, hindered commerce, and loss of personal property. We are not going to evacuate Houston so Climate Change governance should focus on solving this problem to make Climate Change a tangible issue and show the effectiveness of governance.
California is plagued by a decades-long drought. Lake Mead, the reservoir for Arizona, Nevada, and California, is slowly draining. Yes, the water level goes up and down but overall the direction is down. Yes, California has good rain years and bad rain years but the truth is that the overall direction is downward. Most informed sources see this as a centuries-long-event.
We are not going to evacuate Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside. The Central Valley grows almost half of America’s produce and the loss of this agricultural production centre would devastate America. This is not a California problem and to treat it as a California problem plays into the Republican Party’s hand.
Southern Florida is both a today problem and a near future Climate Change crisis. Miami is already flooding on a regular basis. This is not a fictional futuristic statement. Freddie Mac, last May, warned that the Southern Florida housing market has a high risk of collapse because of sea level rise in the next mortgage cycle of 30 years. In this collapse, nearly 10 million Americans will lose their largest asset: their homes. This is a significant challenge. According to Freddie Mac, the resale housing market will dry up because of lack of flood insurance at a reasonable price.
These three examples–Houston, California, and Southern Florida–are exactly the issues that the founding fathers envisioned handled by the federal government: beyond the solution of a single state, a problem that affects national security, a problem that affects interstate commerce, and a problem that directly affects personal security.
This is exactly the Republican Party’s suicide pact. Climate Change will require a federal approach that rivals the 1930s solutions of the Works Projects Administration. The Republicans are entrenched in a no government view but our solutions require governance.
If the United States is going to survive Climate Change, the Democratic Party must offer the Republican Party a way out of this suicide pact. Also if we have learned anything as a nation in the last decade is that dominance of one party in Congress over another is the not the solution.
The future of the United States should not be a zero-sum game nor should our politics be zero-sum.
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