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Here's what we learned about Congressional Republicans in October:

It's not just that today's Republican Party rejects all available solutions to all available problems because they don't want President Obama to get any credit for solving any problems. They're willing to create entirely new crises solely in hopes of making President Obama look bad.

Congressional Republicans won't support any legislation that gives President Obama any credit for solving the climate crisis. In fact, if the climate crisis did not exist, the House GOP would be gleefully passing bills trying to create one.

Fake 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee Wayne GretzkyThe only hope is that either Democrats can re-take the House or that Congressional Republicans get more interested in problem-solving - as Wayne Gretzky once said, skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. Climate activists should be planning and power building now for that moment when it comes, hopefully in 2014 or 2016.

Yet I keep hearing arguments like this:

Carbon taxes will also encourage more private investment in renewables because investors are hesitant to invest while congressional action is uncertain. This should appeal to conservatives who dislike government investing in high-tech ventures that might fail. Private investors invest more successfully.

Also, conservatives hate EPA regulations that are expensive to implement and inefficiently only target one industry at a time. Carbon taxes fairly affect the whole economy's emissions simultaneously.

Conservatives also object to reducing U.S. emissions without international emissions reductions. Carbon taxes with border adjustments will impel nations exporting products to the U.S. to pay US carbon taxes or enact their own, thus impacting foreign emissions.

This is skating to where the puck was in 1992. As David Roberts detailed at Grist, since then sane Republicans have been driven from the party. There is no policy nuance that will satiate people willing to blow up DC to end the reign of the Socialist/Fascist Dictator/Weak-Kneed Muslim/Religion-Hating Obama.

Advocate for the policy we need and fight for the Congress we need to pass it - skate to where the puck is going.

Cross-posted from The Green Miles

Originally posted to TheGreenMiles on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Gotta tip (6+ / 0-)

    the Great One.

    "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

    by newfie on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:26:35 AM PDT

    •  Nice sig line. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS, bumbi
    •  Future generations will not have pond ice (3+ / 0-)

      I grew up in New Hampshire in the 1960s.  Across the street was a pond maybe 5 acres in size.  The town would plow the snow off the ice and everyday after school, me and all the kids would be out there on the ice - boys playing hockey and girls doing toe loops and pirouettes.  On sunny weekends, the entire town would be out there skating.

      I find it ironic that that this diary that speaks to climate change uses a metaphor of "skating to where the puck is going".  Because nowadays, that pond in NH doesn't really freeze solid and has "No Skating" signs around it.  

      In our world today, where the puck is going is towards ice that will not support skaters.  Indeed, pucks do not travel across unfrozen water at all.  In what direction should we skate?

      The analogy of ""skating to where the puck is going" holds in the political arena as well: the democratic party has a piss-warm record on legislation addressing climate change.  In what direction should we skate?  Towards the Green Party?

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 08:04:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree in theory, (7+ / 0-)

    but in practice there is no solving this in Congress through electoral politics and letter-writing and phone calling representatives. The ability of the powerful forces in the carbon energy industry and on Wall St, and all their many denier friends in low and high places, to disrupt and corrupt Democratic representatives is too great to allow an infinite number of them to materially avert the catastrophic impacts of Climate Change on all living systems, which are already all in decline without it. By this I mean tens, probably hundreds of millions, possibly a billion or more, people will die from drought, famine, fire, flood, hurricane, blizzard, tornado, you name it and the associated results of food and water shortages, displacement, refugee crisis, social upheaval, endless military interventions...

    The only realistic, practical, responsible solution involves mass, massive, unrelenting, irresistible direct action jointly upon the private and public institutions that alone can intervene on the scale necessary--and will only do so if they are not allowed to take any other course of action.

    In a sense, thinking that elections can solve it--as opposed to merely preventing it from getting too much worse than it is already going to be--is in a very real sense a sedative that pacifies and disables us from committing ourselves to the much more difficult, absolutely critical course of action. More difficult because it would require us to disentangle ourselves from our current preoccupations and responsibilities and focus all our energies and resources on applying pressure and insisting on massive global change...

    Now who wants to do that?

    90% or more of the people in this country--including most Democrats--will deny it is necessary until it is way too late, because we are passing exits of no return as we speak and in a very few short years will have emitted enough emissions to lock the catastrophe in.

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass
    Pretending that electoral politics is "fighting the good fight" against a government designed to thwart the rights, needs and will of the people is...PATHETIC.

    by Words In Action on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:34:34 AM PDT

    •  The President has directed the EPA to start (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheGreenMiles, chimene, WarrenS

      regulating emissions for new power plants and rules for existing ones will be out in a couple of months.

      I just read a report (can't find the link) with good news that emissions are trending downward now for the first time in China, mainly from hydro power and are continuing to trend downward in both US and EU.  

      But, I'm sure we all agree that we have to keep this a priority.  People are under water and losing their homes today from Maine all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

      Another piece of good news is that I think we are pretty much at the tipping point where climate deniers will be ignored.  I was encouraged that some newspapers now won't even print opinions from climate deniers.  

    •  The most effective action would be to organize and (0+ / 0-)

      motivate individuals to substitute away from carbon based fuels.
         Letter writing and demonstrations are okay, but the current situation is this: Some large proportion of the population is convinced that AGW is real. But they don't see anything that they themselves can do.
        Conservation is nice, but not enough to move the ball. What is needed is organizations that actually help people make the switch...help with info on distributed solar, identifying funding mechanisms, lobbying the states and localities to create/enlarge funding programs, etc. Same with fuel efficiency and alternate propulsion systems for cars.
        It's important not to be outshouted, but there isn't much benefit to unanimity re facts if people don't see anything that they can do.

  •  No Grand Bargain with Fanatics (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caniac41, WarrenS, dallasdunlap

    Most Congresspeople of both parties work for the 1%, when push comes to shove. Many Democrats are now eager to show their willingness to compromise. Idiota Senator Landrieu has announced a bill to let people keep their old minimal insurance, to negate a very important part of the ACA. Sens Durbin, Warren and many others want to do a special favor for medical device manufacturers, who are rolling in profits. This would remove an important funding source for the ACA, letting it die slowly by a thousand cuts that make  a progressively greater burden on the budget.

    We must pressure our representatives, most of whom don't represent us, not to give up any benefits for poor people, definitely no Simpson-Bowles crap, because the conservatives have learned that they can gum up the works anytime and demand that any past concession such as a tax increase is rescinded. Those who take great pleasure in polls showing anger at Congressional Republicans are leaving the ballpark in the 3rd inning. We are in for a very bumpy ride. Mr. & Ms. average American will still buckle when the conservatives talk about how many jobs the Keystone pipeline will bring, about clean coal and how many people are reporting massively increased insurance premiums. The media keep on swallowing the crap cheering for Simpson-Bowles, and the average voter either decides not to vote or to along with the "reasonable majority" like Idiota Landrieu. Don’t compromise with fanatics who will not honor any agreement.

  •  Rec'd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bronx59, WarrenS

    just for the hockey analogy - and of course Gretzky

    Why do Republicans Hate Americans?

    by Caniac41 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:38:11 PM PDT

  •  well said.... and why we need to re-take (5+ / 0-)

    the House and stock it with not just more Democrats, but better Democrats who get the depth of the climate crisis.

    •  Exactly -- because it's not just the GOP, it's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS

      Blue Dog Dems who are also tepid or downright obstructionist about climate change, and who are provided cover by the radical Repugs. The blue dog in the White House is among them, despite some advances (coal plants -- so coal gets to be the energy industry whipping boy) in the right direction. But overall, it's mostly even in the Democratic Party about kissing corporate butt -- including the oil and gas industry.

      "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by Kombema on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 03:32:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where the Puck Needs to Be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WarrenS

    The puck may not be going where it needs to be.  All the climate honchos I've heard from the government sector are talking about 450 ppm or keeping below 2 degree C rise in temperature, goals I believe they know current policies and currently proposed policies won't accomplish.  What we need is something else:  a commitment to zero emissions NOW, 100% decarbonization of the economy, and an ecological design plan to remove CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere so that we can return to 350 ppm or even the pre-industrial 270 ppm as quickly as possible.

    No half measures.  Be realistic, demand the impossible (which is also what the science requires).

    •  The only way to get the puck where it needs to be (0+ / 0-)

      is to skate to where it's going so you can control it.

      The Democrats have let the DLC/Blue Dogs set the talking points rather than letting strong progressives be the voice of the party. Look at how effective the Teahadists have been at setting the discussion parameters with their radicalism.

      Americans can make our country better.

      by freelunch on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 08:52:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Use Everything (0+ / 0-)

        No reason we can't do both.  Some can skate to where the puck will be to control it and some can keep pointing to the actual goal to make sure we get it there when we get to control it.

        Cambridge, MA has been having a discussion about the advisability of establishing a zero net emissions energy standard for all new buildings.  That's an intriguing idea but when I speak at public meetings I support it and say that we have to go farther, we have to have a zero emissions policy for all our pollutants and begin rebuilding regenerative ecological systems to rehabilitate that which we've already damaged.

        Not only the Right has the ability to open the Overton Window.

  •  So what's the option besides a carbon tax? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bronx59, WarrenS

    It's a good option.

    •  Not besides... (0+ / 0-)

      ...but alongside.  A lot of different actions have to be going all the time.

      Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

      by WarrenS on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:06:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Carbon tax is an excellent way to fund efficiency (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WarrenS

        Slowly increase carbon taxes and use all of that money to give the poor, then businesses and others a chance to use energy very efficiently. It is market-oriented and distorts the economy in the way we want it distorted.

        Americans can make our country better.

        by freelunch on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 08:55:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  All right then (0+ / 0-)

    where is the puck going, and what do we do when we get there? I think part of your diary is missing.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 01:51:17 AM PDT

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