Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Congressional GOP Tilting at Windmills - the Pointless Fight Against COP21

Nearly 200 countries from all over the world have done something groundbreaking. In an effort that has taken two decades since the original “Berlin Mandate” in 1995, the United Nations Conferences of Parties have come to an agreement that some are hailing as “a globally historic moment.”

Even if there are those who wish that this agreement had more teeth, the fact remains that this is the first time in the 20 years that these annual meetings have been taking place that a real, international agreement on limiting our carbon out-put has been made. The agreement boils down to four main points:

  1. The overall goal is to limit our global temperature rise to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and continuing that push towards 1.5 degree increase over pre-industrial levels.
  2. A fund of at least $100 Billion a year from the developed world to help with the transition to green technologies.
  3. To reach a “global peaking” in climate emissions “as soon as possible and that countries would follow a “framework for those reductions to begin in 2020.”
  4. A reevaluation of each country’s reduction targets every five years.

This is a huge accomplishment, keeping in mind that many NGOs and businesses are happy about the current compromise.  

While the conference of over 50,000 attendees from governments and NGOs around the world convened in Paris to try and create this lasting, meaningful agreement for actions on climate change, the GOP leadership in Congress kicked into motion their efforts to block this agreement from taking hold.

In what can only really be called a kangaroo Congressional Hearing, Senator Ted Cruz took a break from his Presidential run to create a series of events that would allow the GOP infrastructure to try and stymie any real action on adopting this agreement.

Titled: “ Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate,” the hearing was a farce created in full collaboration by the Koch Brothers and fossil fuel industry funded group, the Heritage Foundation. For those not in the know, the Heritage Foundation is an organization who has tried to vocalize and centralize the anti-climate change narrative since its founding in 1973. It is made up of “experts” who have been proven time and again to be paid directly by the fossil fuel industry and the same campaigners the tobacco industry paid to tell us that their product wasn’t cancerous

This “hearing” from Senator “I’m Not a Scientist Cruz featured prominent “scientists” with suspect interests like a certain Princeton Academic, and even a conservative radio host who touted the idea that the climate refugees of the Maldives could just be relocated to Brussels.

In a press release from his office, Cruz portrays himself as “fighting the dogma of Climate Alarmism," but, is this really about Ted Cruz trying to take on a cabal of corrupt scientists? Is this Ted Cruz trying to stand up for Americans against a world government coalescing power at COP21? The answer seems to really be more mundane and trite than this. The real purpose of this “political theater” is to set up the Republican leadership of Congress with the perfect misinformation to try and kill any efforts of adopting the COP21 agreement. Or so they think.

In a deft political move by the COP21 negotiators, the agreement at COP21 was carefully crafted with some legally binding and some non-binding elements, precisely so it couldn't be interpreted as a treaty in the US and need the Senate's approval. While this weakens the agreement, and whomever wins the 2016 election has the opportunity to undo all of this, the Republicans in Congress will have difficulty in obstructing the COP21 accord.

All the Republican leadership can really do right now, is waste taxpayer money on climate-skepticism propaganda and blow a lot of hot air.