In a political culture as polarized as America's, it's easy to assume that Republicans and Democrats are divided on every issue, including those pertaining to the environment. Of course the truth is murkier than that. There are Republicans who support climate action, and Democrats who don't. A NYT op-ed from three former EPA administrators, all of whom served under GOP presidents, comes from the former camp.
The trio, like most reasonable individuals, accepts the ever-growing scientific consensus that the planet is warming, and that inaction carries enormous costs. They support President Obama's approach:
A market-based approach, like a carbon tax, would be the best path to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but that is unachievable in the current political gridlock in Washington. Dealing with this political reality, President Obama’s June climate action plan lays out achievable actions that would deliver real progress. He will use his executive powers to require reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the nation’s power plants and spur increased investment in clean energy technology, which is inarguably the path we must follow to ensure a strong economy along with a livable climate.
"Rather than argue against his proposals," they write, "our leaders in Congress should endorse them and start the overdue debate about what bigger steps are needed and how to achieve them — domestically and internationally."
Coming from people who have worked on the front lines of environmental policy, these words should be heeded.
Read the article here.
Photo: This 2011 photo shows piles of coal at NRG Energy's W.A. Parish Electric Generating Station in Thompsons, TX. (David J. Phillip/AP)