Originally appeared in the Fort Collins Coloradoan on July 28, 2011
While Tea Partiers in Washington have been defending corporations and the wealthy from assuming their fair share of the tax burden, much of the country has endured record-breaking temperatures, flooding, and drought. Perhaps future historians will compare the Tea Partiers unfavorably to Nero, who is said to have fiddled while Rome burned. At least Nero was producing music, rather than rhetoric defending the haves.
As the average global temperature rises due to humanity’s addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, extreme weather events will become more frequent. What we’re seeing this year and in the recent past has resulted from an increase of just over 1.3° F in the average global temperature over the past century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that if the world continues to rely heavily on fossil fuels throughout this century, the average global temperature could rise by as much as 11.5° F by 2100. Imagine the extreme weather events that would result from such an increase.
Until last summer, Congress was at least considering taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the Tea Party-fueled Republican takeover of the House of Representatives last fall, such legislation is now off the table. Ignoring global climate change won’t make it go away. We need to demand that our senators and representatives focus at least as much on this issue as on addressing the federal deficit and debt.
Fort Collins Sustainability Group