GOP Presidential candidates and U.S. House members inch forward on climate change

I confess that I did not watch the Republican Presidential debate last night to the bitter, 3-hour end. I wonder how many viewers started out as I did and just got tired of it all.

Fortunately we have reporters who get paid to watch the entire show. If it wasn’t for them, we probably would not know that toward the very end of the debate a climate change question was actually asked and answered by three of the candidates—Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Scott Walker.

Apparently these three did not deny that climate change exists but did deny that government can do anything to affect it. Certainly, according to the candidate, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan won’t change our climate but it will cost jobs and drive up energy costs.

But even this willingness by Republican Presidential candidates to go public as not being a climate deniers is some progress.

And today we had some more incremental good news from some U.S. House Republicans on climate change. Ten of them introduced a resolution on “environmental stewardship”.

Not only does this resolution acknowledge climate change is real, it also states that private and PUBLIC efforts to address climate change should be taken.

Apparently this resolution has been in the works for some time and, as you might expect, softened as to the language. It has been characterized as “bland” and its primary political purpose is not to change the hearts and minds of fellow Republicans but to give some cover on the issue to these Representatives from swing districts.

But some progress is still progress.

The full resolution is below.

Whereas it is a conservative principle to protect, conserve, and be good stewards of our environment, responsibly plan for all market factors, and base our policy decisions in science and quantifiable facts on the ground;

Whereas prudent, fact-based stewardship of our economy and our environment is a critical responsibility for all Americans in order to ensure that we preserve our great Nation for future generations;

Whereas there has been a marked increase in extreme weather events across the United States, including more frequent heat waves, extreme precipitation, wildfires, and water scarcity;

Whereas this has had noticeable, negative impacts that are expected to worsen in every region of the United States and its territories, including, among other significant weather events and environmental disruptions, longer and hotter heat waves, more severe storms, worsening flood and drought cycles, growing invasive species and insect problems, threatened native plant and wildlife populations, rising sea levels, and, when combined with a lack of proper forest management, increased wildfire risk;

Whereas increased pollutants and other factors contribute to local, regional, and national environmental and human health impacts, including increased mercury in the fish we eat, elevated asthma attacks in our children, acid rain, smog, degraded water quality, urban heat islands, and rapid storm water runoff that leads to costly infrastructure projects;

Whereas the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review states that the effects of a changing climate are ‘‘threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions’’;

Whereas, if left unaddressed, the consequences of a changing climate have the potential to adversely impact all Americans, hitting vulnerable populations hardest, harming productivity in key economic sectors such as construction, agriculture, and tourism, saddling future generations with costly economic and environmental burdens, and imposing additional costs on State and Federal budgets that will further add to the long-term fiscal challenges that we face as a Nation;

Whereas any efforts to mitigate the risks of, prepare for, or otherwise address our changing climate and its effects should not constrain the United States economy, especially in regards to global competitiveness; and Whereas there is increasing recognition that we can and must take meaningful and responsible action now to address this issue: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives commits to working constructively, using our tradition of American ingenuity, innovation, and exceptionalism, to create and support economically viable, and broadly supported private and public solutions to study and address the causes and effects of measured changes to our global and regional climates, including mitigation efforts and efforts to balance human activities that have been found to have an impact.


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