Combating catastrophic risks to our economy from unaddressed climate warming is not a Republican priority. As a result, U.S. carbon emissions have been growing rather than shrinking, giving every citizen with unalienable rights 330 million reasons to resent the GOP’s waste of the biggest opportunity in American history.
Republican leadership has been working with the fossil-fuel industry for 40 years to invest profits from climate destruction into ad campaigns to deny, distort, and lie about our growing risk of a warming catastrophe. English historian Edward Gibbon described this moral decay as the “immoderate greatness” that causes civilizations to collapse.
Since the Great Recession, the GOP has benefited from the Federal Reserve’s financial policy of quantitative easing, which reduced interest rates for banks and corporations. This fiscal policy produced significant economic growth — without an understanding of its links to our growing climate peril.
Republicans in Congress have been working the last 10 years with partners in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Business Roundtable to generate more economic activity in markets that do not weigh carbon costs to our shared climate.
In other words, Republican arrogance is running out our climate clock. We have less than five years now to change our climate course.
The U.S. could lead a second industrial revolution with a Green New Deal, but Republicans seem blind to the coming tragedy. They seem to prefer to ignore economic risks associated with Arctic forest fires, the heat blob off New Zealand, the heat blob in Moscow, West Coast fires, and Australia’s record-breaking heat and fires. We cannot afford this ignorance and inaction by the GOP. This is time for unifying and hopeful leadership in our diverse republic.
Our climate emergency is shared by everyone on Earth, but the U.S. has the leadership to respond in a way much larger even than we did to World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Needed is a diverse and collaborative response of focused teamwork by nations that share ideas, talent, technology, and other resources.
Bullies lack the character assets for collaboration. This is what made the impeachment of President Donald Trump critical to our climate future. He and other GOP leaders have denied data, scientists, and consensus on climate trends. They work blindly with business partners toward economic destruction and political collapse. Unless we address it now.
Trump was elected with help from Russian oligarchs and U.S. billionaires who benefit from the growing concentration of capital at the top. The profusion of capital has enabled them to work with Facebook, the GRU Russian armed forces, and Cambridge Analytica to buy bots that generate votes from those who ignore our climate emergency.
This is why the Senate must offer a just and legitimate jury trial for the two charges against Trump. He seems to lack the moral development our deteriorating situation demands.
Sens. Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and John Kennedy have stated they do not intend to serve justice as jurors in the impeachment trial. They will serve their party rather than the Constitution or our climate. This lack of logic pervades the administration, which seems to care more about career success than our survival. This moral collapse of the GOP has led to the coming retirement of 27 Republicans who have had enough. Some Republicans, like Sen. Lisa Murkowski, are tiring from Trump’s 15,000 false statements. This is why a secret Senate vote would offer a positive reset for party and country.
Bill Mittlefehldt of Duluth is a retired teacher of economics and state energy coordinator whose Cross Currents consulting firm (ccurrents.org) works with communities to build sustainability and resilience.