by Rob Hogg, Iowa State Senator
In case you missed it last week, Mitt Romney said in his nomination acceptance speech that “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”
And then the crowd erupted in laughter and cheers.
There is something wrong when, in 2012, a major party candidate for President uses global warming and the environment as a quip – especially when much of the State of Louisiana is still under water from Hurricane Isaac, which brought huge storm surges and record rain falls that were literally pulling parts of the Gulf Coast back into the ocean.
It is surreal. It ignores the reality of what is happening. But it does provide an opportunity to explain better why rising seas and the planet’s declining health hurt us and our families.
If you are concerned about yourself and your family, you ought to be concerned about fossil fuels, climate change, and the sustainability of the planet. Here’s why:
Jobs and our Economy – The single most important reason that our economy remains sluggish is high gas prices and the high cost of imported oil. We import the same amount of oil into this country as we did in 1997 – but it now costs us nearly $300 billion a year more, a five-fold increase.
That is nearly $1,000 more per American each year. If we had that money here, rather than sending it out of the country, we could employ almost 5 million people with jobs that pay wages and benefits worth $60,000 per year.
Increasing our dependence on expensive oil, domestic or foreign, will not help our economy. The most expensive oil in the world, both economically and environmentally, is offshore oil and oil extracted from the tar sands of Canada.
By contrast, energy conservation, energy efficiency, fuel efficiency, and clean renewable energy like wind power are already creating jobs, saving consumers money, and growing prosperity right here in Iowa.
Health Care Costs – One of the causes of increasing health care costs is pollution from coal and other fossil fuels – a cost of more than $175 billion a year from coal alone according to research led by Paul Epstein of the Harvard Medical School. That figure is more than $560 per American every year.