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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 11th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The attention in Washington, as pointed out by Steve Benen of Alternet bloggers, was on British Foreign Secretary William Hague, a prominent conservative leader in the U.K., who in the U.S. last week  described climate change as perhaps the 21st century’s biggest foreign-policy challenge,” He stated – “An effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity.”

His strong words make it easier to recognize that Republicans in this country are coalescing around a uniquely dismissive position on climate change. The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones. […]

Just for the record, when the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences last reviewed the data this spring, it concluded: “A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.” Not only William Hague but such other prominent European conservatives as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have embraced that widespread scientific conviction and supported vigorous action.

Indeed, it is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is “no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of.” notes Ron Brownstein in the Washington DC National Journal.

As the climate crisis intensifies, and the need for swift action becomes even more painfully obvious, the GOP line is getting worse, not better. How many Republican U.S. Senate candidates on the ballot this year support efforts to address global warming? None. It looks as if there was a unanimous Republican opposition to any meaningful efforts to combat global warming. This makes any kind of coordinated international effort impossible and the US is easily painted as the global villain.

Part of the problem here is that Republicans reject the science because they oppose the solutions. If they acknowledged reality, GOP officials would no doubt have a harder time explaining why they don’t want to deal with a climate crisis that has the potential to wreak havoc on the planet in dramatically dangerous ways.

The combination of deliberate Republican ignorance and the evolving Republican scheme to rule the United States Senate, makes the crisis even less approachable fear independent minded people – with little hope on the horizon. It also speaks to a larger truth — because there’s no commonly shared reality among Democratic and Republican policymakers, the prospects for compromise are effectively non-existent. And more then that – because of the need to compete politically, many Democrats will also tend to sit on their hands and avoid positive moves.

Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine this noted recently, “I don’t know who first described politics as the ‘art of compromise,’ but that maxim, to which I have always subscribed, seems woefully unfashionable today.”

But emissions isolationism is not going to fly – this as per the new ETS global aviation deal as approved by ICAo and to which American ailines will have to submit also – like everyone else.

Slim Kallas, the EU transport commissioner said that the new rules by ICAO (the 190 countries International Civil Aviation Organization) voted upon last Friday, and to go in effect in 2012, cover all carriers to fly in European skies. They will be forced to join industrial installations in Emission Trading Schemes and pay for excessive carbon dioxide emissions. The ICAO agreement rejected efforts by the US, and its Canada and Mexico allies, that were intended to make the EU regulation dependent on other countries from outside the EU that fly into the EU. Mr. Kallas agreed that the ICAO treaty was non-binding, but argued it still provides the needed “political legitimacy” to the ETS outside of Europe and will be strong helping material in case the American airlines will take their opposition to the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg.

This just a reminder of what we said that EMISSIONS ISOLATIONISM IS NOT GOING TO FLY and the US Republicans better not try to mislead the US electorate by suggesting otherwise.

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