Vast Majority of Americans Want Action on Climate Change, Whitehouse Gives Weekly Speech

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has come out in favor of a carbon tax once again.

Out of the 103 ways it identifies to reduce the US deficit, the carbon tax comes out on top.

The US would raise slightly over $1 trillion over 10 years if it implements a carbon tax that starts at $25 per ton and increases 2% a year. 

This is very close to climate legislation introduced in the Senate earlier this year – $20 per ton, rising 5.6% a year – which would generate even more revenue, says CBO.

It would raise prices at the gas pump by about 21 cents to a gallon if costs are passed to consumers, says Resources for the Future, and would not negatively impact total US employment.

While there’s no chance it will pass in the near future given the current dynamics playing out in Congress, Democrats are laying the groundwork.

Weekly Push for Action on Climate

Once a week for the past 50 weeks, Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) takes the Senate floor to talk about climate change.

Week in and week out, he urges Congress to move on climate change.

"I am here for the 50th time, to urge my colleagues to wake up to what carbon pollution is doing to our atmosphere and our oceans," he says, but no one listens.

He runs through the data over and over again that demonstrates global temperature rise, concomitant increases in atmospheric carbon levels and the impact on our oceans.

"We are a great country, but not when we’re lying and denying what’s real," he says "The atmosphere is warming; ice is melting; seas are warming, rising, and acidifying. It is time for the misleading fantasies to end."

He calls for the carbon tax supported by CBO. Perhaps polluters will take a second look at this option, he says, when EPA’s rules on carbon emissions from existing power plants go into effect.

Other senators have joined him from time to time – Senator Schumer (D-NY) spoke on climate change on the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. Senators Schatz (D-HI) and Blumenthal (D-CT) connected the dots between climate change and ocean health, and Senator King (I-ME) talked about the impact of climate change on the fishing industry. 

While hammering away at these facts has so far not changed the political discourse, at least this political leader is giving it air time. The fossil fuel industry and its paid-off politicians would prefer silence on the issue.

"It is time to wake up. It is time to turn back from the misleading propaganda of the polluters, the misguided extremism of the Tea Party, and the mistaken belief that we can ignore without consequence the harm our carbon pollution is causing. It is time to face facts, be adults, and meet our responsibilities."

Whitehouse remains optimistic, especially because there are signs that people are ready to fight climate deniers and boot them out of Congress.

When asked why he’s doing this, Whitehouse says, "I very much want my grandchildren to know that I fought the good fight. But much more than that, I want to turn this around," he told columnist Ezra Klein. 

Thank you, Senator Whitehouse, you are our voice. 

Watch Whitehouse give his 50th speech: 

Americans Agree

In 46 states surveyed, at least 75% of residents acknowledge the existence of climate change. 

Surprisingly, percentages are the same in "blue" and "red" states:  Massachusetts (88%); Rhode Island (87%); New York (84%); California (82%); Oklahoma (87%); Texas (84%); and South Dakota (83%). 

At least 67% of people in those states want government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Again, percentages are the same regardless of the state: New Jersey (80%); Connecticut (80%); California (80%); Georgia (85%); Arkansas (85%); and Kentucky (79%). 

After analyzing this public opinion data, Jon Krosnick, a professor at Stanford University, told the Guardian, "To me, the most striking finding is that we can’t find a single state where climate scepticism is in the majority."

This disputes the widely-held belief that Republicans deny the existence of climate change. It is not US citizens that are calling climate change a "hoax" or preventing action on it, it is their so-called representatives on state levels and in Congress.

Unfortunately for their residents, the reddest states are those that are most unprepared for climate-related disasters because their elected officials lag blue states on acknowledging the problem and are therefore not taking action.

"Americans recognize we have a moral obligation to protect the environment and an economic opportunity to develop the clean energy technologies of the future.  Americans are way ahead of Congress in listening to the scientists," says Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who chairs the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change with Senator Whitehouse.

Read our article, Costs of Climate Inaction Tallied State-by-State.

(Visited 16,984 times, 11 visits today)

Comments on “Vast Majority of Americans Want Action on Climate Change, Whitehouse Gives Weekly Speech”

  1. MikeTBuck

    So what we are saying is a Vast majority of Americans want to pay more for products, spend more on electricity, and lessing job growth. Yes, people might say yes to controling carbon but would say no to higher cost. An ignorant populace is easily manipulated.

  2. pdxclimber

    We are saying that we have to be personally responsible for cleaning up our mess. The planet is tuned to us as we are right now through ages of evolution. If things change rapidly we will suffer and die. That is much worse than paying more for stuff. Mike, the days of denial are coming to a close. The wealthy and powerful who ONLY want to keep things just as they are, are losing the argument. The world has just begun to kick our ass. More is on the way.

  3. Virgil Kynes.

    A very slightly higher cost for a dramatically better future, yes. More jobs, not less, yes. Our grandchildren will wonder how we could have failed to see what we were doing

  4. Dave Baker

    It’s a matter of simple math. We spend more money due to the consequences of climate change, or we spend a little to avoid those costly consequences. It’s dollars and good sense.

  5. Tyke

    It’s not really about cost as a nation. Money is circulatory. It doesn’t just disappear. This really is about working harder.

  6. BPeters

    ” … Americans are way ahead of Congress in listening to the scientists,”

    Revealing the true nature of congressional ‘leadership’. What a disappointment.


Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *