Sunday, September 22, 2019

Pollution Politics

If Bill de Blasio quits a presidential race that nobody knew he was in, does his dropping out count as news? It's not like there will be one less person on the debate stage, because he missed this month's event due to no poll numbers.

So we move on.

If this week's news didn't raise the usual alarms about four more years of Donald Trump, then I don't know what will. Climate change denial, suing California because it had the audacity to vote against him and run a surplus on liberal policies and economics, a whistle-blower's complaint about the president seeming to withhold aid to Ukraine because that country's president didn't investigate Joe Biden and/or his son.

Seems to be part of the playbook.

Perhaps I'm especially naive, but I can't understand why anyone would want to allow more industries to pollute the air and water. The automobile industry is even against the rollbacks on gas mileage that the president wants to implement. The coal industry is all but dead. Companies can look forward to massive lawsuits and significant responses on social media if they try to foul the country. Yet, the president plows on for no greater reason than to undo President Obama's policies not because they are bad policies, but because they are Obama's. In the end, history will not reward the polluter. And once Trump is out of office, the final push to cleaner fuels, air and water, will benefit the country.

The young people who protested this past Friday represent the future in more ways than just political. I hope they will vote in numbers that compare with the people who showed up to protest, although if the past is any guide, it will take them a few years to get into the ballot box. In the meantime, governments around the country and the world will have to contend with the new climate realities: wetter storms, warmer days, less colder days, (which will lead to more insects), floods and erosion. And these negatives will outweigh any positives that might come from warming, such as longer growing seasons and new crops in new latitudes. We will need new leaders who will make the difficult choices and count on our neighbors to do the right things.

We won't get this leadership from the crew that's presently in Washington. They want policies that will make things worse. Democrats will need to continue to press for the new ideas that will hold companies accountable and set reasonable standards for pollution and emissions. This should clearly be the main focus of the next Democratic debate.

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