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Rand Paul, Senator and no fan of polar bears

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Conservative Firebrand and US Senator Rand Paul doesn’t think climate change is a big deal. And he is sick and tired of the EPA trying to protect humans and animals from pollution and the dangers of a warming climate. Sick and tired.

Today, the US Senate held a vote brought to the floor by Rand Paul, using the the Congressional Review Act. The purpose was to overrule the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. TRC has discussed this vote previously.

Well, the vote failed to pass in the Senate, 41-56. The move to repeal the regulation gained the support of 2 Democrats, while 6 Republicans voted against the measure. It wasn’t actually going to pass, despite the reporting of some optimistic Conservatives, who, like Paul, saw the vote as a chance to embarrass Democrats so badly that they couldn’t possibly uphold EPA regulation in the face of a recession, which, to say the least, just shows how myopic and tone-deaf Rand Paul’s political world is.

It’s worth reading how Paul addresses the issue. Some of what Paul cites is true, which he then uses to support blatantly false statements. This is the kind of thing that makes for a popular, and dangerous, politician. Here’s Paul:

“To have clean air and jobs, we must have balance,” Paul argued, contending that the EPA is wrong when it says 34,000 people will die prematurely every year if the cross-state air pollution rule does not go into effect, and that statistics show the air has already gotten much cleaner over the years.
And he slammed environmental advocates for ignoring such improvements.
“If you listen to the hysterics, you would think otherwise,” Paul said. “You would think that the Statue of Liberty will shortly be under water and the polar bears are all drowning, and that we’re dying from pollution. It’s absolutely and utterly untrue.”
“All of the statistics from the government — and these are statistics from the EPA — all of the statistics from the EPA show declining pollution,” he said...“I’m afraid what’s happened is we’ve opened up the White House and this administration to environmental extremists — the kind of people who say, ‘Well, the polar bears are drowning.’ “

Two quick notes to Paul.

  1.  Many many people are dying from pollution. I would not pretend otherwise.
  2. The claim “we’ve opened up the White House and this administration to environmental extremists” is so off the mark that it is almost adorable. The Obama Administration is much more inclined towards environmental concerns than, say, the Bush Administration. But that doesn’t take much. They are no extremists.

Written by Christopher ZF

November 10, 2011 at 13:18

CO2 emissions are going up. Fast. And Rand Paul wants to keep it that way.

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Here are two trends that should really, actually worry people who are concerned about life, the future, the planet, business growth, economic growth, global equity, health and public safety, etc.

First, the headline from Yahoo News reporting on the DoE Co2 report: Biggest Jump ever seen in global warming gasses. It begins:

The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made global warming…The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

Higher than the worst case scenario.

Meanwhile. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is using a rule known as the Congressional Review Act which allows congress to  bypass leadership to overturn regulations with an up or down vote, and does not allow a filibuster. The Paul move would throw out the EPA regulation created under the authority of the Clean Air Act known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, finalized in July of this year, essentially halting the only steps that the US Government has been able to take this year towards cleaner air. Whether this will pass or not remains to be seen, but it will be close.

As of today, the Clean Air Act is pretty much the only tool that the United States Government has to address climate change. And the Cross-State Rule has been about the only rule that EPA has made that has not been completely delayed (see CO2 Rule, Fracking Rule, Air Toxics, you get the point). Congress most certainly will do nothing (NOTHING) to address climate change–even when a majority of congress wants to, it doesn’t happen. But the EPA has the right and obligation to regulate US industry in order to keep our air clean. And this means taking action on climate change and CO2–as the Supreme Court made clear. But allowing the Clean Air Act  and EPA to help requires ‘very serious people’ to step outside of one’s stubbornness to engage in even an elementary overview of the science, and the danger. Which is not likely.

The DoE story reminds those of us who do care: We’re losing the battle against climate change. Big time. And Rand Paul, and his friends, are helping to ensure that we do.

Written by Christopher ZF

November 4, 2011 at 10:19