Politicians fiddle while the earth burns

By Bill Press

Tribune Media Services

American politicians have the attention span of a gnat. Consider the silence and inaction on global warming.

In 2006, Al Gore stunned the nation with the release of the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and proof of the disastrous consequences of climate change. Immediately, there were demands for bold action by the White House and Congress to save the planet.

Climate change, in fact, was the one major issue on which both presidential candidates agreed in 2008. Barack Obama pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050; John McCain proposed cutting them by 65 percent. McCain even called global warming a “national security issue.”

But today, six years after Gore’s film, climate change has disappeared as an issue. And things have only gotten worse. With glaciers all but gone, ice caps melting, and sea levels rising, we may, in fact, have already reached the point of no return. Yet, in the last four years, not one significant piece of climate change legislation has been debated in the Congress. In January 2011, a frustrated Carol Browner, director of President Obama’s Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, resigned her post. No successor was named, and Congress has since eliminated all funding for the position.

Ironically, the only one making noise about climate change today is anti-global warming zealot James Inhofe (R-OK) who claims, in his book “The Greatest Hoax,” that the Bible tells us God created the earth, God will take care of it, and we don’t have to worry about mucking it up. In an interview with the Voice of Christian Youth America, Inhofe said he draws his policy on climate change from Genesis 8:22: “as long as the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” “My point is,” Inhofe explained, “God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

As most biblical scholars will tell you, Inhofe missed the entire point of Genesis: which is that, after God created the earth, it’s now up to us to be good stewards of the planet. That clearly is the message of Genesis 2:15: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

But there’s more and more alarming evidence today that we’re neglecting our job as good and faithful stewards. Consider: It’s been reported that the Pacific island nation of Kiribati is making plans to relocate all 103,000 of its citizens to Fiji. Why? Because rising sea levels due to climate change could likely overtake the entire island.

And that’s not just some tropical phenomenon. As reported by the New York Times this week, about 3.7 million Americans now live at risk from severe coastal flooding over the next decades. Residents in low-lying areas of Florida, California, New York, Louisiana, New Jersey, Maryland, and other states — including highly commercialized and profitable neighborhoods of major cities — face the very real threat of flooding and loss of property. In fact, researchers from the nonprofit organization Climate Central report that virtually the entire American coastline is at some degree of risk.

Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post, from Montana to Florida, hundreds of temperature records have been broken in recent days as warm weather engulfs the nation. On Wednesday, Chicago reported a high of 81 degrees — 35 degrees above normal. Traverse City, Mich., also enjoyed a temperature of 81 — 42 degrees above normal. Nationwide, since Sunday, March 11, 943 new record highs were broken, compared to just 9 record lows.

Here in Washington, people are walking around in shorts and T-shirts fit for summer. Yet, officially, it’s not even spring. And according to Andrew Freedman of Climate Central, it’s all related to global warming: “In a long-term trend that has been linked to global climate change, daily record-high temperatures have recently been outpacing daily record-lows by an average of 2-1, and this imbalance is expected to grow as the climate continues to warm.”

It’s the most serious problem facing the planet, but what are politicians talking about? Rick Santorum wants to ban contraception. Newt Gingrich wants to abolish the EPA. And Mitt Romney wants to end all funding for Big Bird.

No wonder there’s no time for global warming. We have more important issues to worry about.

© 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Politicians fiddle while the earth burns

Tribune Media Services

American politicians have the attention span of a gnat. Consider the silence and inaction on global warming.

In 2006, Al Gore stunned the nation with the release of the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and proof of the disastrous consequences of climate change. Immediately, there were demands for bold action by the White House and Congress to save the planet.

Climate change, in fact, was the one major issue on which both presidential candidates agreed in 2008. Barack Obama pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050; John McCain proposed cutting them by 65 percent. McCain even called global warming a “national security issue.”

But today, six years after Gore’s film, climate change has disappeared as an issue. And things have only gotten worse. With glaciers all but gone, ice caps melting, and sea levels rising, we may, in fact, have already reached the point of no return. Yet, in the last four years, not one significant piece of climate change legislation has been debated in the Congress. In January 2011, a frustrated Carol Browner, director of President Obama’s Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, resigned her post. No successor was named, and Congress has since eliminated all funding for the position.

Ironically, the only one making noise about climate change today is anti-global warming zealot James Inhofe (R-OK) who claims, in his book “The Greatest Hoax,” that the Bible tells us God created the earth, God will take care of it, and we don’t have to worry about mucking it up. In an interview with the Voice of Christian Youth America, Inhofe said he draws his policy on climate change from Genesis 8:22: “as long as the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” “My point is,” Inhofe explained, “God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

As most biblical scholars will tell you, Inhofe missed the entire point of Genesis: which is that, after God created the earth, it’s now up to us to be good stewards of the planet. That clearly is the message of Genesis 2:15: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

But there’s more and more alarming evidence today that we’re neglecting our job as good and faithful stewards. Consider: It’s been reported that the Pacific island nation of Kiribati is making plans to relocate all 103,000 of its citizens to Fiji. Why? Because rising sea levels due to climate change could likely overtake the entire island.

And that’s not just some tropical phenomenon. As reported by the New York Times this week, about 3.7 million Americans now live at risk from severe coastal flooding over the next decades. Residents in low-lying areas of Florida, California, New York, Louisiana, New Jersey, Maryland, and other states — including highly commercialized and profitable neighborhoods of major cities — face the very real threat of flooding and loss of property. In fact, researchers from the nonprofit organization Climate Central report that virtually the entire American coastline is at some degree of risk.

Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post, from Montana to Florida, hundreds of temperature records have been broken in recent days as warm weather engulfs the nation. On Wednesday, Chicago reported a high of 81 degrees — 35 degrees above normal. Traverse City, Mich., also enjoyed a temperature of 81 — 42 degrees above normal. Nationwide, since Sunday, March 11, 943 new record highs were broken, compared to just 9 record lows.

Here in Washington, people are walking around in shorts and T-shirts fit for summer. Yet, officially, it’s not even spring. And according to Andrew Freedman of Climate Central, it’s all related to global warming: “In a long-term trend that has been linked to global climate change, daily record-high temperatures have recently been outpacing daily record-lows by an average of 2-1, and this imbalance is expected to grow as the climate continues to warm.”

It’s the most serious problem facing the planet, but what are politicians talking about? Rick Santorum wants to ban contraception. Newt Gingrich wants to abolish the EPA. And Mitt Romney wants to end all funding for Big Bird.

No wonder there’s no time for global warming. We have more important issues to worry about.

8 Responses to Politicians fiddle while the earth burns

  1. kwms says:

    Remind me again, how many $millions did Al Gore make off this global warming scheme? And people like Bill Press really think it was for real? Also, I think it’s odd that Mr. Press would quote the Bible after all of the Christian bashing that he’s done.

  2. Susie says:

    The right wing thugs are always ready and waiting to leave one of their hate filled comments. You can depend on it. I hope kwms lives on the coast. glug glug.

  3. Brewster says:

    Bill, so much ranting, so little truth! Really? Al Gores documentary and ‘proof’ used in the same sentence? Glaciers ‘all but gone’, really Bill? Ice caps melting? really Bill (they do that every year and in fact at this moment they are both still growing). Kiribati moving its population due to sea level rising, really Bill? The Kiribati president claims it’s just as much due to insufficient fresh water to sustain their growing population, besides sea levels have been changing at a fraction of the alarmist rates declared by the IPCC. (side note: sea levels tend to increase as the planet recovers from an ice age). I know liberals are anti science, but really Bill, weather is not climate. Do some reading, learn something, quit sniffing the rainbows coming out of Al Gores ass.

  4. Brewster says:

    Bill, Carol Browner was frustrated because she got caught red handed altering the statements from Obama’s ‘panel of experts’ on drilling in the gulf. The experts said there was no reason to stop drilling, she changed the report to say the panel recommended drilling be stopped. I guess it is frustrating when your put in charge to lie and deceive, and no one believes you. Were you cheering her on or pointing out her criminal activities Bill?
    Drain the swamp Bill, drain the swamp!

  5. Hammer says:

    You need alot of Kool-Aid to buy what Press is selling.

  6. Milosia says:

    There is already 2 5 0 0 Oil Platforms in the Gulf.
    Why should petroleum be the nations’ #1 EXPORT?? So that brew can pay less for gas?? So, less right?
    What’s the frequency brewster?

  7. Jerry says:

    If you man made climate change denyers live long enough you will ultimately change your minds. By far the majority of the world’s scientists hold to this notion and commons sense tells most of us it is correct. The changes are slow hence the lack of haste in changing our ways.

  8. Milosia says:

    In the end, jerry, GOD gets them all.

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