Climate Disconnect, Climate Change
Climate Disconnect
The executive summary of a new report (pdf) prepared for Rep. Henry Waxman, by the Minority Staff of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, summarizes the politics of climate change:
The nation’s premier scientific organizations have agreed that climate change is occurring, that it is caused by human activity, and that it poses significant threats to the nation’s health and welfare. One of the impacts of climate change is warmer temperatures, such as those experienced in the United States in 2012. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the contiguous United States had its warmest year on record last year. Nationwide, the United States recorded over 30,000 record high temperatures in 2012.

This report compares the climate change voting records of members of Congress in the 112th Congress with the temperatures experienced in 2012 in the districts they currently represent. It finds a widespread “climate disconnect” in the voting records of the Republican members representing the districts most affected by the soaring temperatures in 2012.

There were 53 climate-related votes on the House floor last Congress, 41 of which were roll-call votes. The Republican members representing the districts most affected by the high temperatures cast anti-climate votes 96% of the time. They voted to overturn EPA’s scientific findings that climate change endangers human health and welfare; to block EPA from regulating carbon pollution from power plants, oil refineries, and vehicles; to prevent the United States from participating in international climate negotiations; and even to cut funding for basic climate science.

No similar “climate disconnect” was found in the voting records of House Democrats. The Democratic members representing the districts most affected by high temperatures voted 86% of the time to uphold Administration authority to address climate change or to otherwise act to address climate change.

An interactive map can be found here.

The message must be made and endlessly repeated. As residents of these often deep red districts struggle to cope with extreme temperatures, they need to know that while the science on climate change is overwhelming, their Congressional representatives are doing their best to make things even worse.

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