Saving Earth: A Need for Nonpartisan Politics

Story by: Sean Kook

Visuals by: Noah Weinberg

Date: 7/16/21

The preparations, discussions, and decisions that will transpire in Glasgow, Scotland starting on the first of November will have extraordinary implications on the future of humanity. In 1988, some decades following the advent of the digital era, the world for the first time became aware of the effect of excessive carbon emissions and greenhouse gases on the Earth’s atmosphere. Since then, Former President George Bush did hardly anything to match the ambition of his rhetoric on climate change, Obama failed to take substantive measures, though not negligible, and Donald Trump reversed some of the important steps taken by previous administrations such as ceasing participation in the Paris Agreement of 2015.

Currently awaiting approval from Congress is a $3.5 trillion bill from the Democratic Party which, among other things, promises tangible and necessary steps in revolutionizing the energy delivery system from fossil fuels to solar, wind, and nuclear powered cells – before it is all too late. Right now, we are on the verge of being one more forest fire too late, and some Republican senators know it, too.

For a long time up until recently, though, many officials in the right wing doubted the gravity of climate change. The most stated argument was the natural fluctuation of Earth’s temperature: this was true but not relevant to the topic as it failed to grasp the overall upscaling increment of Earth’s temperature in both its positive and negative phases. Others who accepted this phenomenon simply underestimated the seriousness and rapidity of Earth’s warming. But today, there is a growing number of people in the Republican party who are coming to terms with the state of our natural reality, however still want to compromise its severity with economic prosperity. Contending that limiting the use of fossil fuels would slow down the market, Republicans are searching for ways to invest not in development of solar and nuclear power, but rather in technology that would absorb carbon that is emitted by factories and other pollutants. That said, the bipartisan infrastructure bill – a $1 trillion funding for rebuilding of dams, finding new water sources, and developing tools for forest fire prevention – that was struck earlier this month is emblematic of a something larger: the US is taking leadership in attempting to prevent future climate disasters, instead of reacting.

The aforementioned 3.5 trillion reconciliation bill proposed by the left wing requires 51 votes from Congress (50 Democrats and the Vice President), but six Democrats are opposed to it, including Oregan Rep. Kurt Schrader and other anonymous moderates. What has been at play is neither party’s willingness to pass the other’s bill until theirs is. In order for the reconciliation bill to get passed, therefore, it seems as though representatives of the GOP will need to be prepared to answer the following question: Is party loyalty compatible with moral politics? To the extent that the nation’s democratic dignity was being threatened by Mr. Trump’s collusion with the Russian government to unfairly win the presidential election against Mr. Biden, Senator Mitt Romney chose the honorable path of standing before Congress and justifying the prosecution of impeachment, while confessing his dilemma on betraying his party’s sentiment. It is merely a question of whether Republican senators today will find the same kind of dignity to overcome their fear of party disapproval and choose to practice impartial justice in the face of rapid global warming.

U.S. climate diplomat John Kerry, who will be present at the Glasgow summit, will bring the urgency to the table, but in order for his message to get through, he will need Congress to match his enthusiasm. In a matter of such paramount importance, the nation can only hope prudence will prevail.


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