Yesterday, a historic climate deal was reached in Paris, wherein almost 200 nations committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to stave off the cataclysmic effects of climate change. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry championed the agreement as a “turning point for the world,” crediting his administration as being influential in the development of the accord. However, despite the scientific consensus on climate change being that it is happening and humans are complicit, conservative lawmakers in Washington have been quick to point out that the deal “is subject to being shredded in 13 months.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has stated that President Obama is “making promises he can’t keep” and that if the Republicans win the White House in the 2016 Presidential election, the agreement could effectively be reversed.
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has said that Americans can expect the agreement to be used by the Obama Administration to justify the establishments of emission targets for every sector of the U.S. economy. Of course, this is the same Sen. Inhofe who famously threw a February snowball in the Senate chambers as proof climate change is a myth.
I suppose this is the impact campaign donations from oil and natural gas companies have on the legislative process. You know, turning otherwise intelligent men in bumbling idiots.
Kerry swiftly responded to Inhofe’s comments from Paris. From The Huffington Post:
“I have news for Senator Inhofe. The United States of America has already reduced its emissions more than any other country in the world.”
In contrast to the rabid lunacy of the GOP, Democrats in Congress praised the deal and the President’s influence over the proceedings. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California called the deal a “monumental moment” and praised President Obama for his leadership at the Paris conference. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., spoke about the degree in which climate change is an existential threat to humankind and that no county on its own can stem the tide.
Yet, while American political leaders continue their back-and-forth over climate change, it doesn’t diminish the fact that scientific consensus on climate change is what it is and that public consensus on climate change is what it is. 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is happening and that human activities are to blame for it. Though not a staggering majority, 58 percent of the public shares the sentiment.
Regardless of this edition of conservative mouth-breathing, fact-denying rhetoric, the Paris agreement is a huge deal and a long time coming. I just wonder if it might be a little too late. However, even having said that, at least something is getting done.