Over 10,000 Americans Tell Congress To Stop Pushing Us Over The Climate Cliff

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"Over 10,000 Americans Tell Congress To Stop Pushing Us Over The Climate Cliff"

by Brad Johnson

“If our country goes over the fiscal cliff, we will be able to climb back up. But if our planet goes over the climate cliff, we will plunge into an abyss of impacts that we cannot reverse.”

With these words, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) exposed the essential absurdity of the “fiscal cliff” debate in a Washington, DC address last week. Over 10,000 Americans have spoken out in agreement, calling on Washington to turn to the looming climate cliff.

The leaders of the “fiscal cliff” debate claim their stances are based on their sober-minded obligations to our children and grandchildren, even as they shirk their true responsibility to confront the fossil fuel industry, whose rogue behavior threatens the very existence of future generations.

During his debates with Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama argued that “reducing the deficit” is a “moral obligation to the next generation.” House Speaker John Boehner told the National Religious Broadcasters that “leaving our debt on its unsustainable and immoral path” will “truly cause pain and suffering.”

Some leaders in Washington are speaking out against the absurdity of climate silence during the fiscal debate. Watch Markey’s remarks:

In a Senate floor speech last week, Senate Budget Committee member Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) juxtaposed the moral rhetoric of his Republican colleagues around the stimulus, health care, and the debt with their continued refusal to even acknowledge climate change:

The moral indignation from the White House and Congress around the fiscal cliff is bizarre, given their inaction in curbing carbon pollution. From the survivors of Superstorm Sandy to the drought-stricken farmers of the Midwest, Americans are feeling the pain of the reckless dumping of carbon pollution, with consequences which will last for centuries.

In response, the climate accountability group Forecast the Facts has launched ClimateCliff.org. Visitors to ClimateCliff.org can use a novel interactive system to support leaders such as Whitehouse and Markey and challenge “fiscal cliff” proponents on Twitter, with tailored tweets featuring the #climatecliff hashtag.

The ClimateCliff.org petition, signed by over 10,000 Americans, points out that the climate crisis is a source of the nation’s current fiscal challenges, and compares the economic costs of inaction with the economic benefits of swift climate action.

If Congress wants to debate spending cuts, they should look no further than the $10 billion in corporate welfare they give annually to the fossil fuel industry, accelerating our trajectory off the climate cliff. If the White House seeks to raise government receipts, they should claw back the $1 trillion in revenues of the top five oil companies alone make every year from poisoning our future.

Brad Johnson is the campaign manager of Forecast the Facts.

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23 Responses to Over 10,000 Americans Tell Congress To Stop Pushing Us Over The Climate Cliff

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Climate denial and climate delay is a crime on humanity and threatens our civilization.

  2. Merrelyn Emery says:

    The gap between these two subjects is a testament to the continued lunacy of mechanistic thinking when the reality is that Earth is the only capital we have and sunshine the only income, ME

    • Dennis Tomlinson says:

      “…Earth is the only capital we have and sunshine the only income.” -ME

      All others are but false economies.

  3. Paul Klinkman says:

    It’s not a climate cliff. It’s a climate steepening slope. The farther we go down the steepening slope, the harder it is to get back to the world’s zero position. The only irreversible cliff is species extinction, which we’re doing plenty of this year.

    • Superman1 says:

      I think the collective ‘we’ has entered into a state of mass delusion. The only way out, if one believes the CO2 emissions trajectories of Kevin Anderson (and others), is ending the use of fossil fuels globally ASAP, reforestation, and perhaps some geoengineering for four or five decades. The first two are not in the cards; there are too many institutional and personal lifestyle barriers to prevent them.

      The only possibility I see, and this is truly a Hail Mary moment, is to generate a fuel that would substitute for fossil fuels, could be used in present-day combustion systems, and would remove more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than it would produce. In addition, if sulphates/aerosols were a byproduct, that could continue the aerosol cooling we have today.

      Also, to avoid WWIII, the energy states would have to receive some compensation for the fossil fuels that remain in the ground. In the USA, the net personal wealth of the top 1%, according to a recent Fed study, was about $32T (excluding personal wealth hidden off-shore and in other secretive storage places). We could levy a Special Assessment of ~50% against this wealth, and use this money to compensate the fossil energy states (Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Texas, Oklahoma) for not drilling/mining. Other countries would levy similar assessments against their 1% as well.

      People are going to get hurt no matter which approach we take, and the question facing us now is whether there is any possible solution (doubtful), and if there is, how can we cause minimum pain and damage in its implementation?

  4. peter whitehead says:

    They sound like Groucho Marx, who said “Why should I care about future generations, what did they ever do for me?”

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Climate Change Crime Wave: Study Links Global Warming to 30,000 Additional Murders by 2099
    Also: an extra 200,000 cases of rape, 1.4 million aggravated assaults, and 2.2 million simple assaults. http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/09/12/do-math-climate-change-increasing-temperature-higher-crime-rates

  6. Nell says:

    We may not be the first civilization to collapse on this planet, but we may be the last.
    Tipping points dead ahead.

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      Don’t forget that although some collapsed, many didn’t. These ancient cultures which survive among us have been studied and their lessons learnt. There is still time to put away our arrogance and heed them, ME

    • Superman1 says:

      Are you sure we have not passed them already?

      • Merrelyn Emery says:

        I don’t understand your comment, can you elaborate? ME

        • Superman1 says:

          I am questioning whether or not we have passed the point of no return. It is not clear to me that we can stabilize the temperature at the 0.8 C level of today, much less the ~2 C rise we have committed to some thirty years in the future even if we stop burning fossil fuels today.

          We are seeing positive feedbacks at work as we speak, and some, such as methane release in the Arctic, appear to be accelerating. That’s why the solutions I have been proposing on this site lately include not only fossil fuel elimination and rapid reforestation, but some geoengineering component to quench the potential self-sustaining mechanisms we are seeing now.

          • Merrelyn Emery says:

            Thanks. I have no doubt that we are headed for over 2C but my point was that other cultures had lived sustainably while we can’t. It may be too late for most of us but the survivors must learn the old lessons if they are to well, survive in the wreck, ME