What a Republican Congress Means for Planet Earth

Republicans did a good job of obstructing government over the past six years. Having broken the government, they then ran against a broken government, with tons of secret money from the very rich and an extensive program of disinformation, falsehoods, and bogus claims of voter fraud designed to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

In charge now, they will put forth lots of regressive legislation that no president could sign, and try to override the inevitable vetoes that will follow. If they succeed, it will probably have a devastating effect on everyone who isn’t rich.

Far more important, however, is the question of what the election means for planet Earth. The prognosis was already bad. Now it could be much worse.

Earth’s prognosis was already bad.
Now it could be much worse.

Let’s look at the fundamental goal of capitalism: profit. With the planet on the cusp of unprecedented human-caused environmental catastrophe, the fossil fuel juggernaut shows not the slightest understanding of what they have wrought, let alone the future damage their plans could bring in the name of profit. Rather than phase out fossil fuels, they want to accelerate extraction and burning, environment be damned. They have no clue that we are all part of the Earth’s biota. “The environment” is our life support system, and we abuse it at our peril.

Since many Republican voters and their reps believe talk of planetary climate change is a liberal plot to limit their “freedom”, they will continue to drive cars taller than I am and otherwise squander petroleum and every other resource, including water, without restraint. That’s somehow related to “freedom”, apparently. Maybe freedom from responsibility.

The fossil fuel juggernaut
shows not the slightest understanding
of what they have wrought.

A significant percentage of Congressional Republicans continue to deny the ever-growing evidence of global climate change lapping at their ankles. The loudest of these deniers is Senator James Inhofe, who almost certainly will become the next chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. This person has almost no understanding of the world he lives in, or how science tells us what we know, yet he will be in a position to deny every attempt to address the approaching disaster. The certain result will be that absolutely nothing will be accomplished to address growing worldwide environmental degradation, since the US remains the world’s biggest polluter, and others know that what they can do means nothing without the full effort of the US.

Not only will Republicans fail to even begin the major work that should have begun no later than about 1990, their fundamental belief in small government and the benevolent free market will mean that there will be constant attempts to destroy the EPA, rescind our flagship environmental laws, eliminate important regulations, and roll back all limits on capitalist greed.

Inhofe has almost no understanding
of the world he lives in,
and as Environment chair
will deny every effort
to address the approaching disaster.

In addition to the obvious effects of making the US dirtier and poorer, and climate change faster, our regression will probably piss off a lot of other nations, many of whom already suffer from our various misdeeds. Not only is the US the planet’s primary troublemaker, we are also the primary reason that every international environmental agreement has come to naught. The result is that the inevitable disaster is now bearing down on us like a runaway train.

I find nothing that suggests the slightest reason for optimism. The planetary rape will proceed full tilt, worse than ever, and impossible to reverse. The absolutely essential changes that must be made in order to control the damage not only will not happen, but Earth’s desecration will progressively worsen. The worsening pollution, already on schedule to increase for decades, will become even worse. The result will bring severe climate difficulties sooner, and could precipitate a global catastrophe unlike anything we can imagine.

Republicans should think long and hard about their responsibilities. But they won’t.

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