Month 7, Day 18: Keep The Pressure On!

Not much to add to this. Asking Harry Reid to throw a few punches and twist a few arms. Not feeling too hopeful about that.

Dear Senator Reid,

As you move towards bringing the upcoming climate bill to the Senate floor, please take some time out of your schedule to try and talk some sense into your colleague, Senator Ben Nelson. His announced readiness to vote against cloture goes against the grain in multiple ways.

He has previously supported climate legislation on the Senate floor, as happened in 2008, when he voted to proceed on a bill authored by Senators Lieberman, Warner, and Boxer. He has also voted for cloture on a Boxer substitute amendment which would have established a carbon trading system and capped greenhouse emissions. His cited reason is a fear that Nebraskans’ utility bills will go up.

Well, as I’ve written Senator Nelson, everyone‘s utility bills are going to go up, whether we like it or not. And they’re going to go up catastrophically if we don’t do something about the greenhouse gas buildup in our atmosphere — which a recent Purdue University study concluded will lead to a dramatic increase in “killer heat waves” in the American West and Southwest, within a few decades.

Senator Nelson’s obstructionism is short-sighted, selfish and terribly destructive to what may be our nation’s last chance to secure an environmentally sustainable future. Please do not allow him to hijack climate/energy legislation; we have already procrastinated for more than four decades, and now is our time to act.

We can no longer afford to live wastefully, and first off, that means we have to stop wasting time.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

Month 3, Day 26: I’m Just Semi-Wild About Harry

As promised, a reprise of my note to Nancy Pelosi. Harry Reid has finally roused himself from his stupor of timidity and now appears to be showing a modest amount of spine. Perhaps we should all encourage him.

Dear Senator Reid,

Congratulations on the final passage of the health care bill. It has been a pleasure to see you standing up to the egregious misbehavior of the Senate Republican Caucus. Don’t back down; they deserve a far harsher scolding than you have thus far given them!

But this letter is not about that. I’m writing to urge you to bring similar passion and strength to the passage of meaningful climate legislation in the coming years. The bill that Senators Kerry, Lieberman and Graham are working on is only a start, and it looks like it’s going to get watered down with extensive giveaways to the world’s biggest polluters. We are going to need much stronger and more robust approaches to the climate crisis in the next few years, or the consequences to our nation and our planet will be unimaginable.

This is a harder sell, I know. Persuading members of an elected body to support legislation that addresses problems which are only beginning to happen is contrary to the usual practice of American politics, which is to wait until things are at crisis point until doing anything. Unfortunately, that won’t work with the Earth’s climate, which doesn’t care about the exigencies of American politics. By the time things are at a crisis point, it will be too late.

For a century we’ve heard from timid politicians and pundits that “it’s not the right time to fix health care.” They’ve been proved wrong by a newly resolute and determined Democratic Party.

We’ve also been hearing that it’s not the right time to address climate change, for there are so many other priorities that occupy our political attention. But it will never be “the right time” to address climate change, because the lag between climate action and climate response is greater than the electoral cycle of a U.S. Senator.

While it may not be “the right time” to tackle the climate crisis — it’s the only time we’ve got. This problem can’t be kicked down the road for a future Congress to handle.

Thank you for all that you have done for our nation.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders