"What did you think of Obama's climate speech?" This was the question people were asking. I monitored talking heads from both sides. They came up with the usual right/left talking points they always espouse.
I experienced a few surprises. One was from a commenter on my previous article who complained about Obama, "The climate is the LAST thing he should be concerned with." Another reader suggested that the country was "fracking its way to be top natural gas supplier." I also wasn't happy when the president suggested that "natural gas" was a form of renewable energy -- with no nod to the effects of fracking. However, when the writer suggested the president should be "impeached and arrested," I realized that he was on a different page.
Fox News hosted a panel of professional climate deniers. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered a statement in the Senate before Obama arrived at Georgetown. He declared that Obama was mounting "a war on coal" that was the equivalent to a "war on jobs."
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) also called Obama's agenda a war. However, he ratcheted it up a notch, saying that it was a "War on America." Both men represent two of the top five coal states. However, it should be noted that West Virginia is also home to a strong anti-coal movement, where residents with families going back generations are fighting to save their land and health by opposing mountaintop mining.
I previously wrote about Bob Inglis, who is trying to bring conservative thinkers into the environmental space, emphasizing, "Climate is a real problem that demands action." I contacted him to get his take on Obama's talk. I was given a press release titled, "Real Problem that Has a Much Better Solution." Inglis maintained, "The President and the Court are stuck on the existing law's regulatory road. It's a road that leads through a swamp of litigation to a river that washes away American jobs and increases global emissions." He repeated his philosophy, "There's a different, tax-reform road that cuts taxes on income or investments, brings accountability for emissions to all fuels, repeals some EPA regulations, entices our trading partners to follow suit and empowers producers and consumers with accountable price signals in free markets." His bottom line was to, "Go with bedrock free enterprise and get out of the regulatory mud."
Inglis's point of view about getting rid of all energy subsidies has hit a supportive chord with many. Yet others in the Republican Party consistently continue to define climate change as an elitist hoax, junk science with a lack of evidence, or part of God's plan. It doesn't leave a lot of room for compromise.
It's impossible to ignore where money enters into this problematical equation. On June 26, ThinkProgress published a page called, "The Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus." On a color-coded map, it nails down that "more than 65 percent" of Republicans in the 113th Congress are on record as rejecting "the science" behind climate change. The infographic pulls up stats on the interrelationship between those elected officials who deny climate change, the amount of "dirty energy money" they received, and the number of disasters declared in their state during the time frame of 2011-2013. The results definitely bear examination. For example, Texas, a state that had 58 declared disasters and has 18 climate change deniers, also received $10,816,865 from fossil fuel industry donations.
Many of these same representatives have called repeatedly for the importance of strong military security for America. This includes the climate deniers -- and Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee--Rep. Fred Upton and Rep. Marsha Blackburn. They would be well-served to familiarize themselves with the insights of Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, Commander of U.S. Forces in the Pacific. He gave an interview in Cambridge, Massachusetts in March 2013, after meeting with top national security specialists at both Tufts and Harvard universities. He addressed how climate change would be a catalyst for major instability in the Pacific region. He said, "You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level. Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past." Noting how the large populations of China and India would be affected, he said, "... You could have hundreds of thousands or millions of people displaced and then security will start to crumble pretty quickly.''
Ironically, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), also part of the climate deniers brigade, tried to get the Admiral to distance himself from his March statements when he made an April appearance on Capitol Hill to testify on North Korea.
It didn't work. He refused to be intimidated.
The president is not waging a war on America. Rather, he's providing an achievable plan with steps to reduce carbon pollution. Through support for his initiatives, citizens can help boost the economy, and most importantly, protect our children and future generations from the dangerous health effects of climate change.
This article originally appeared on the website Moms Clean Air Force.