That’s the question that the Climate Crisis Coalition wants to plant firmly in all of our minds as we head towards November’s mid-term Congressional elections in the US. CCC board member Russ Gelbspan notes in a Grist essay that not only are Washington’s politicians well behind the curve in addressing global warming, but the proposals they are finally putting forth are, well, really lame. So, CCC has launched ClimateUSA, a campaign to get all candidates to go on the record with their positions on these three issues:
1) Enacting the McCain-Lieberman “Climate Stewardship Act” (without a nuclear provision) as a first step to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
2) Withdrawing federal subsidies (currently estimated at around $25 billion a year) from coal, oil and natural gas development — as well as from carbon-intensive agriculture — and establishing equivalent subsidies to jump-start a renewable energy economy based on wind, solar, tidal power, biomass, small-scale hydropower and other non-nuclear, sustainable energy technologies.
3) Promoting the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and lead the way for a post-2012 framework that would result in a worldwide transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy technologies.
I can already hear the hemming and hawing… Gelbspan argues, though, that the time is over for timid action, and the issue of global climate change needs to be “squarely on the agenda of the November elections.” I agree completely, as well as with his observation that the ClimateUSA campaign “…is, at best, a very small step toward the very large goal of preserving a hospitable planet.” The only way that this very small step will have an impact, though, is if we keep the pressure on. Monitor the ClimateUSA website as they post candidate positions, and then hold these folks’ feet to the fire. I’ll keep an eye on this, too, as I’m very interested to see my own representative’s position, as well as that of presumed Democratic nominee for the Senate race here in Missouri, state auditor Claire McCaskill (Republican incumbent Jim Talent is pretty much hopeless…).