Taking on the Polluters
It’s winter. It’s cold. It’s snowing in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. So, naturally, the climate change deniers are in full voice, proclaiming that “global warming is a hoax.”
Of course the climate change deniers are wrong. The disruption of Mother Nature by man-made pollutants causes overall warming even when the weather sometimes gets unusually cold in some places. But even if the numskulls were right, would that make pollution a good thing?
I’m sure the millions of choking Chinese and American children suffering from the spreading asthma epidemic don’t think so.
But, it seems, the billionaire Koch Brothers do.
They get their billions from the stuff that causes pollution, coal, for instance. They want Americans to use more coal, even when it harms children’s lungs.
And for equally self-serving reasons, so do Republican politicians.
They are fighting to free America from all of those oppressive environmental laws.
I don’t believe they really want children to suffer from asthma. But if that’s the price they must pay to get elected, then so be it. And, in some areas of the United States, coal is king. A lot of people make their living from it, and they are not going to let those politicians in Washington take their living away.
That’s one reason for the Republican crusade against environmental laws. Another is that their billionaire backers see those laws as an irritating impediment to their ability to rake in loot.
Sadly for those folks, coal is losing users, anyway. With the discovery of huge natural gas reserves in North America, natural gas is becoming so inexpensive that it is wooing away coal’s traditional customers – power plants for example. And natural gas burns a lot cleaner than coal or oil.
I know, there’s that fracking thing – flames shooting out of people’s taps, and so on. And that has to be fixed. So I was reassured to hear EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy (above, left) say her department is working on solutions to the problem (by methane capture, for example).
I received a phone call a few days ago inviting me to take part in a telephone town hall with Ms. McCarthy and EDF President Fred Krupp (above, right). The call, which took place last night, was an eye opener.
I wrote about acid rain when I worked for the Sault Ste. Marie Star, in Northern Ontario, in the late 1950s. As I understood it, the polluted rain was releasing mercury into Canada’s pristine lakes and poisoning the fish. In the past half-century, air and water pollution have escalated immeasurably, and today even the oceans of the world are in grave danger.
With such folks as former Vice President Al Gore sounding the alarm, the conversation in the media has turned to climate change, and I was beginning to wonder whether that aspect of the environmental threat was obscuring other concerns.
But as one of the 15,000 folks on that call with Ms. McCarthy and Mr. Krupp last night, I felt reassured. Obviously, the President’s promise the night before to develop clean energy and protect Americans from environmental pollution wasn’t just so much hot air. His people are on it.