The Environmental Protection Agency will unveil a draft proposal on Monday to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, according to people briefed on the plan.
The proposed rule amounts to the strongest action ever taken by the United States government to fight climate change.
Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists blame for trapping heat in the atmosphere and dangerously warming the planet.
The rule could trigger a fundamental transformation of the nation’s energy systems - if it withstands an expected onslaught of legal and legislative attacks.
The “scientists blame” phrase is a disgusting, abhorrent hedge, as Elizabeth Kolbert and Joseph Romm have noted. Somebody please tell the New York Times that the right-wing folks who hate the paper will continue to hate the paper, no matter how much false objectivity appears in the paper. Stop trying to woo the folks who despise you. Focus on the truth—about climate, about income inequality, about war, about guns, about choice. Tell the truth and shame the stupid.
With regard to this effort to prevent future generations from experiencing years of living dangerously, President Obama should simply keep three things in mind when those who remain blind to the severity of the climate crisis smear him vocally and attack his effort legally.
His daughter Sasha. His daughter Malia. And his own words.
President Obama, if you let the deniers win, your children will lose a livable future. The children and grandchildren of this generation will be cursed to a life of fierce floods and ferocious fires. The old men who profited from pollution will long be dead—but millions of others will also be dead before their time.
This is war, President Obama. War against the polluters. War against those who couldn’t care less about the present, much less the future. War against those who have subjected Mother Earth to domestic abuse.
The polluters have accused you of a “War on Coal.” Well, what about coal’s war on us? What about coal’s casualty rate, the wounds it has inflicted upon so many, the horror it has brought to our planet? Frankly, we need to have a “War on Coal,” or else our children will never have peace.
Damn the deniers, President Obama, and go full speed ahead. Do not take a back step. Do not accept anything less than total victory in this war.
The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.
The irony is that in order for the rise of the oceans to slow, and for the planet to begin to heal, it will require a declaration of war on carbon pollution—and an undisputed victory in that war. You can’t hold back. You can’t turn back. Think of your children. Think of your own words.
One year ago this month, you pledged allegiance to the safety of future generations. You cannot break this pledge. Infamy and shame will be attached to your name by history if you break this pledge, if you do not win this war.
As President Johnson said fifty years ago, “These are the stakes—to make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark.”
President Obama, we cannot go into the dark. We cannot break a sacred promise made to future generations.
The duty falls to you. The pain will fall upon future generations if you don’t use your remaining time in office to truly lead on this issue.
This is not an impossible task. No one’s asking you to tear down the walls of denial; you can’t increase the IQ of the idiotic, nor can you break the addiction to avarice in the minds of the depraved. No, President Obama, we are merely asking you to never again let this issue slip to the bottom, or even the middle, of your list of concerns. We are asking you to fight like hell against those who have contaminated our climate.
Speaking of your own words, ten years ago, a certain Illinois state senator and US Senate candidate said:
I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us.
Do you remember that guy, Mr. President. You should. Because that guy is standing at the crossroads of history. If he shows any weakness in the face of industry assault, that guy will damn himself in the pages of history.
That guy also said:
…[W]e are called to reaffirm our values and our commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers and the promise of future generations.
You have to measure up, Mr. President—and “measuring up” means telling the polluters “No!” when they want you to say “Yes!” to their demands that you weaken your efforts to combat carbon pollution. “Measuring up” means turning away from fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline. “Measuring up” means going to the American people—the ones who will listen—and telling them in a nationally televised address, in prime time, why this effort is of the utmost importance.
You are, indeed, a war President, Mr. Obama.
For the sake of your children, and your place in history, you absolutely have to win this war.
Feed the Political AnimalDonate
Washington Monthly depends on donations from readers like you.