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Editorial: Of ignorance and denial

As President Obama returned home from his few days leading an international effort to negotiate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at the Paris climate talks, he was greeted by a Republican House of Representatives that effectively thumbed their noses at the president’s and the world’s concerns over climate change.
The Republican House on Tuesday approved resolutions that rebuked policies the president put in place within the Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon emissions at new and existing power plants. The executive actions, which were taken by executive order because the Republican-controlled House and Senate has refused to pass any measures to reduce global warming, increased limits on the amount of carbon emissions allowable from existing and new power plants — a reasonable measure by anyone’s perspective in light of the mounting evidence that carbon dioxide pollution is harming the planet.
In what is an almost inconceivable argument, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power subcommittee, complained that the new regulations were too strict because in order to meet the new standards no new coal-powered plants could be built. “China, India and every other country in the world can build a new coal plant if they decide to do so,” the Washington Post reported him saying on the House floor, adding: “We simply want that option, and that’s what this is all about.” (Just imagine how blatantly ignorant that perspective must seem to our Western allies and so much of the world, re-enforcing doubts they must have about any presidential candidate from within the GOP taking over as president.)
The resolutions that disapprove of the president’s EPA regulations don’t carry enforcement authority, but it points to the political battle in Congress and how President Obama’s administration has been unable to implement more aggressive measures to combat global warming because of Republican opposition.
The issue is money, and in this case the oil industry has bought and sold the Republican Party at every level of government for the past couple of decades. Later this week watch for Republican leaders to propose measures they say will modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure and improve efficiency, but will, in reality, undermine more effective measures that are already underway.
In the meantime, here’s an interesting tidbit as the Paris climate talks continue through Dec. 11: Since the 1950s, scientists claim, almost all of the global warming has been caused by the human release of greenhouse gases. According to one report, human emissions are “roughly equal to the heat that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs exploding across the planet every day.”
You’d think that would be enough to knock some sense into global warming deniers.
Angelo S. Lynn

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