Thursday, November 05, 2009

Republicans to the world: We don't want or need you.

It takes a lot to make a progressive hero out of Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) but between Oklahoma's Sen. Inhofe and the climate change blatherings of a couple of ex-junkies named Beck and Limbaugh, they have managed to to just that. But, they also had some help from our own Senator Boxer and Obama Administration, as I wrote before.

The delay of Boxer and the Obama administration in dealing with climate change have put the world at risk. Those countries with whom we should be working toward some solutions to the problems of climate change are, in fact, looking at the United States's failure to come to grips with reality and beginning to wonder just how much change with got when Obama swept into office.

At climate talks in Barcelona, the last UN sponsored meeting before Copenhagen, some 50 African countries walked out.
African delegates walked out of meetings during United Nations climate change talks in Barcelona, Spain this week, claiming that developed countries were not making solid commitments to cut their emissions of climate-warming gases.
Americans, in their usual arrogant manner, might dismiss this a bunch of poor countries whining about their status after centuries of exploitation. However these same countries are going to face the brunt of problems and have started to find ways of dealing with it. Already, we are seeing climate change refugees moving from country to country in Africa and  governments were forced to act now in light of what was sure to come.
African nations adopt refugee convention

Kampala / Agence France-Presse
African leaders on Friday ratified a convention on the protection of the continent's internally-displaced people, refugees and returnees, billed as the first of its kind worldwide.
The number of refugees in Africa is now close to 20 million. I wonder what America's Minute Man organization will say about illegals when climate refugees start to demand entry to the US because our arrogance devastated their homeland.

But back to the US and Senate Republicans. All but Graham have walked out of the mark up of the Boxer led committee meetings that were supposed to be marking up the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (Kerry - Boxer). As one Democratic Senator quipped, the Party of No has become the Party of No Show.

This act of (not sure what word to use… arrogance? stupidity?) makes US participation in the Copenhagen talks problematic. European leaders are aiming their messages directly at the US Congress.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Congress and the Obama administration Tuesday to take bold steps to address global warming, even as Senate Democrats and Republicans feuded over whether to press ahead with a climate bill.
I hope that Sen. Inhofe had someone read that Washington Post article for him.

The view from the British press is even bleaker.
The US has given up hope of reaching a global climate change treaty at Copenhagen and is working towards a deal late next year, the Obama administration said today. The decision ends hopes of a legally binding deal being sealed next month.
Through all of this, the failures of Congress to act will follow one after one until catastrophe forces action and then it will be too little. Shall we call this the New Orleans Syndrome, naming it after a city where, like climate change, the catastrophe was foretold, action was delayed, and even now is being buried in rhetoric like ruin of the 9th Ward was carted away, buried out of sight and the lessons forgotten.

We can no longer afford to leave the Senate in the hands of Republicans in a state of perpetual denial and Democrats in a state of perpetual compromise. The world is looking to the United States for leadership. Republicans would lead by mooning the world.

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