Friday, July 23, 2010

Really, is anyone surprised?

The New York Times reports that the Dems are unable to advance major climate change legislation before the August recess--- and perhaps not even this year. A far less comprehensive bill, one that stays in the safe territory of finger-shaking at everyone's favorite scapegoat, BP, is more likely to enjoy traction on Capitol hill.

Well, I must say, anyone who's surprised by this news probably doesn't realize just how big and powerful the fossil lobby truly is. The focus of the intended legislation was to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants--- a major source of CO2 emissions (and mercury!)--- and coal has one big-ass lobby. Given how companies like Massey Energy can flaunt safety regulations with such bald-faced impunity--- leading to the deaths of 29 workers in one incident this year alone--- it's not in the least surprising that Sen. Reid capitulated, knowing that he could not swing 60 votes in a Dem-controlled Senate. Pathetic.

And immaterial.

We know who must lead this fight: us. All this clamoring for "leadership" from Washington is like asking trees to make it rain. We are the leaders. Congressbots respond to lobbyists, sure, but also to the will of their constituencies--- especially when that will is unequivocally expressed. Which is exactly what we must do: show them that we are in earnest in our determination to end our national addiction to oil, to break the bonds of our slavery to fossil fuels.

We must do so by using less fossil energy ourselves. And it's so easy to do! I've been trying to encourage folks in Columbus to take up the 10:10 UK cause by reducing energy consumption by 10% by the end of 2010. But the problem doesn't lie in finding 10% of fat to trim in the typical household energy budget--- it's in finding that little to trim! Once you start examining your household energy consumption, once you see how much waste is inherent in our profligate lifestyle (as evidenced by our inefficient domestic technologies), it's hard to stop at 10%!

Let us take up the challenge of change not by haranguing the congressbots, but by doing the work that must be done ourselves. If we lead, they must follow.

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