Weekly roundup 10/29/10: Pre-election edition
Weekly roundup 10/29/10: Pre-election edition
Election Day is only 4 days away, and it shows: We're inundated with polls, predictions, and pre-election ads that move further away from civility and credibility the closer we get to November 2nd. What's an exhausted and exasperated climate activist to do?
The answer: Do NOT tune out. This election is critical to the future of climate solutions in this country and, indeed, the world. Our Campaign Director Liz Butler recorded another LizCast today discussing why all of us who care about climate need to vote on Nov. 2:
Liz also published a great blog on Huffington Post today about the unprecedented amount of money that corporations are pouring into this election, and why climate advocates need to show up at the polls to fight back:
Corporations -- led by Big Oil and Dirty Coal -- are trying to buy this election in plain sight. Their front groups are on target to spend more than $300 million to buy the election -- and this is after big polluters have already spent a fortune lobbying Congress, mounting a PR offensive after the BP oil spill, and trying to kill California's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) with Propositions 23 and 26.
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But anger and despair can’t lead to inaction or apathy. Voting still matters for the climate movement.
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More importantly, voting is a right that gives voice to your concern about climate change. People in the climate movement -- or anyone who believes in what we’re doing to avert a climate crisis and bring about an energy revolution -- can push back on Big Oil and Dirty Coal by exercising their right to vote.
The climate blogosphere is following this election very closely, looking to answer two questions: how will climate affect the election, and how will the election affect climate? Brad Johnson at the Wonkroom is following House and Senate races where climate champs are locked in tough fights for reelection. In terms of the House:
The Republicans in these races not only stand against comprehensive climate policy, like nearly all the rest of their party, they proudly proclaim that the overwhelming evidence of the threat of greenhouse gas pollution is a “hoax,” a “religion,” and “crap.” The sitting representatives, many in conservative districts, are climate activists who were the swing votes in favor of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act in 2009, recognizing that our economy and environment are mutually threatened by our dependence on fossil fuels.
As for the Senate:
A Wonk Room analysis finds that there are six key Senate races for climate action, in which a strong vote for climate runs a serious risk of being replaced by a global warming denier. Of the 37 U.S. Senate races this fall, 36 involve Republican candidates who are global warming deniers or oppose climate action (Vermont’s Len Britton is a possible exception). Hard-right Tea Party challenger Christine O’Donnell knocked out climate activist Mike Castle (R-DE) last night, leaving a GOP slate of conspiracy theorists and know-nothings angling for the United States’ highest legislative body.
In addition to these races, there's a push in California to defeat two propositions on the ballot that would severely hurt California's booming clean energy tech industry and deal a blow to our efforts to cut climate pollution across America. You can read more about Prop 23 and Prop 26 on our blog, but if you live in California the most important thing you can do is vote against both of them on November 2. Even the Governator says so:
What would help is if we are now successful in beating back the Texan oil companies, the same players that have been there for decades ruining everything. You know, trying to get rid of our light rail in 45 cities. And so now the important thing is we push back, wipe out Proposition 23. And in doing that, it will be one of the first times in a long time where oil companies — rich people that have polluted the world, who have enriched themselves in doing that — have been pushed back. And it will be that momentum.
Speaking of the Governator, here's an anti-Prop 23 ad featuring Oscar-winning director James "I'm king of the world!" Cameron and his most famous "actor":
Even before the election, climate commentators are already having conversations about where climate goes after a less than fruitful year. Dave Roberts at Grist has been looking for a term for people who care about climate change and clean energy that will bridge the partisan, cultural and other divides that keep them from pulling in the same direction. The winner? Climate Hawks:
First and foremost, it doesn't carry any implications about The Truth. It doesn't say, "I'm right, you're wrong. I'm smarter and more enlightened than you." Instead it evokes a judgment: that the risks of climate change are sufficient to warrant a robust response. By definition, everyone must make such judgments on their own. Rather than being a Manichean choice -- you get it or you're stupid -- it becomes about values, about how hard to fight and how much to sacrifice to defend America and her future. That's the right conversation to be having.
Yes, I'm well aware that "hawk" has militaristic overtones. Trust me, when it comes to matters military I'm a DFH of the old school. But lefties shouldn't be precious. The health of Mother Earth just doesn't move that many people. For better or worse, more Americans respond to evocations of toughness in the face of a threat.
In foreign policy a hawk is someone who, as Donald Rumsfeld used to put it, "leans forward," someone who's not afraid to flex America's considerable muscle, someone who takes a proactive attitude toward gathering dangers. Whatever you think about foreign policy, is that not the appropriate attitude to take toward the climate threat? Does it not evoke a visceral sense of both peril and resolve, the crucial missing elements in America's climate response?
The term is already taking off on The Twitter so it might stick after all. Thoughts?
In other news, looks like the hard work and sacrifice of anti-mountaintop removal (MTR) activists is paying off in a big way:
The rising tide of scientific evidence — and public protest — against mountaintop mining looks set to claim its first major victory. By the end of this year, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to revoke a permit allowing mining company Arch Coal to extract coal from the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia. This would be the first time a permit for the controversial mining practice, long suspected of causing environmental damage, has been vetoed by the agency.
We still have a long way to go to eradicate this barbaric mining practice, but it's good to see that all this on-the-ground activism is bearing fruit!
PS: A couple of snarky guys with TV shows are having a rally this weekend ...might be pretty sane to check it out.