Year 3, Month 11, Day 13: POW! ZAP! SPLAT!

The Kansas City Star asks, “Post-Sandy and post-election, will political taboo on climate change be lifted?” Gee, what do you think?

Even before President Barack Obama took the stage for his victory speech Tuesday night, environmentalists were laying out their expectations for his second term: act on climate change, whether it’s through sweeping legislative action, regulatory rules or decisions like blocking the Keystone XL pipeline.

Just minutes after the race was called Tuesday, the group 350.org announced a Keystone XL protest on Nov. 18. Young climate activists who joined the celebration outside the White House held up a sign saying “Sandy Demands Climate Action Now,” a reference to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.

One line in Obama’s victory speech gave the green groups hope that he might act.

“We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet,” the president said.

But taking action to achieve those goals isn’t going to be easy. While more than a dozen legislators targeted by environmental groups for their votes on clean energy and climate change bills were defeated in the election, neither chamber switched parties. With the status quo likely to continue in Congress, environmental groups say they’ll pressure the White House to continue, or amplify, its work of the last four years.

We’ve got a lot of work ahead. Sent November 11:

The mere existence of a “political taboo” on discussion of climate change is a shameful indictment of our news media and our systems of governance. Because of the atmosphere of hyper-partisanship artificially generated over the last several decades by conservative commentators and politicians, rational discussion has been all but impossible either in the halls of Congress or on our national news networks. Perhaps the nationwide rejection of conservative ideology in the recent election will bring this paralysis to an end; a recent survey reveals that more than two-thirds of Americans believe global warming poses a serious threat to our future.

It’s time for conservative legislators to stop interfering with principled policies designed to address the accelerating greenhouse effect and its consequences. Simple cost-benefit calculations reveal that, when it comes to the climate crisis, a billion spent in prevention and mitigation is worth a trillion spent in after-the-fact cleanup and repair.

Warren Senders

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