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On climate change, centrism means a slow death

Photo by Nathaniel St. Clair

The Miami Herald recently reported on the latest forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), predicting a record-breaking hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean. “Brace yourself, Florida,” the newspaper warned, explaining that “NOAA predicts 17 to 25 named storms could develop this year,” which is “the highest forecast ever by the federal agency.”

To the paper’s credit, it has drawn clear links between such dire forecasts and global warming, saying: “Climate change is making more powerful storms more likely, making extreme rainfall and strong waves increasingly important and making it increasingly common for storms quickly become stronger. as they approach land.” Insurance companies are likely taking this into account and have rightly pointed out that it is “no surprise that Florida has been hit by more hurricanes than any other state since… 1851.”

But the Herald story failed to mention that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a series of bills aimed at limiting solutions to global warming and even removing mention of the phrase “climate change” from state laws . DeSantis proudly proclaimed that his goal was to “keep windmills off our beaches, gas in our tanks and China out of our state.”

The Florida Republican doesn’t seem concerned about NOAA’s forecast, nor the record high temperatures impacting his state, such as Key West’s heat index of 115 degrees Fahrenheit. He failed to acknowledge that Florida remains one of the most vulnerable states to climate change in the country, given the peninsula’s coastline and location in the Atlantic Ocean.

Florida-based meteorologist and climate change reporter Steve MacLaughlin connected all the dots between the coming storms, climate change and the governor’s policies. Quoting the NOAA report, he warned the NBC 6 News audience that “the entire world is looking to Florida to lead on climate change, and our administration is saying climate change is no longer the priority it once was. ”

There was a time, not so long ago, when journalists and media outlets avoided any mention of climate change, even as scientists and climate activists urged them to say the words. While the media today has significantly improved its reporting on science, it tends not to explicitly draw a line between climate disasters and policy errors on the part of elected officials like DeSantis.

Florida’s governor, who is waging climate justice as part of his culture wars, isn’t even the biggest threat to curbing climate change. He controls legislation in only one state. If Donald Trump wins the White House, the entire country will fall even further behind in tackling the climate. Far-right oil and gas company shills have drawn up an ambitious battle plan to reverse the modest climate progress the federal government has made. It’s called Project 2025 and is a brazen call to “deconstruct the administrative state” on the first day of a Republican – read Trump – presidency.

Like the hardliners who openly express their doomsday scenario, Trump has made no secret of where his loyalties lie, unashamedly demanding a billion dollars in campaign financing from oil and gas companies. At a now-infamous Mar-a-Lago dinner in April 2024, Trump directly requested financial help from fossil fuel executives in exchange for more than $100 billion in tax breaks that President Joe Biden has proposed repealing.

The grift was so clearly one compensation, opting for extortion so openly that some senators have now launched an investigation into Trump’s statements. But they can’t keep up. A day before the Senate action, Trump made more such offers, telling oil company executives at a fundraiser in Houston, Texas that he would grant “immediate approvals for energy infrastructure” such as “pipelines and power plants” if he returned to the United States. White House. Trump easily raised $25 million at that event. If he regains power, he will commit a new ethical violation every other day, just like the first time.

If you listen to Republicans, you might imagine that Democrats are Big Oil’s worst enemy, fighting on behalf of the good people of Florida and the rest of the country to curb climate change. But there is a lot of Democratic opposition in the form of incentives for green energy industries, such as those built into the Inflation Reduction Act.

When it comes to actually holding climate polluters accountable, aside from Biden’s budget proposal to end tax breaks (which is just a proposal, after all) and a pause on natural gas permits, Democratic challenges have come in the form of “homework assignments for corporations and requests for Justice Department investigations,” wrote Axios reporter Ben German.

Such tepid actions are not good enough, especially in light of the open Republican war on our climate, and by extension, our lives. The Republican Party may claim it wants to ban wind turbines on beaches, but its real agenda is handing our future over to oil and gas companies.

If climate is going to be a battleground for the Republican Party’s culture wars, and if Democrats are going to face the wrath of oil and gas companies for the most modest limits on greenhouse gas emissions, why not go all in and actually run their own country? culture and policy war to save the climate?

Trying to win over voters at the center of the political spectrum has been a Democratic strategy that has often ended in defeat. Centrist commentators are already warning Biden to stop appealing to his party’s left fringe ahead of the November elections.

But a growing number of Americans – and a majority of Democratic voters – are looking past the limited media coverage and politicians’ doublespeak on the climate. They are deeply concerned about climate change and critical of Biden’s milquetoast approach to curbing it.

Naming parts of the political spectrum is a useful exercise. The left fringe wants to move us forward, make progress, hence the adoption of the term “progressive.” The right flank wants to move society backwards, and should actually be called ‘regressive’. Meanwhile, the center is happy with the current status quo and is best defined by the term “conservative.” Centrists want to keep things the way they are.

On climate change, progressive policies mean a future for our children, stability for our homes and communities, and the preservation of people and other species. It literally means that we have a good chance at life as a whole.

Regressive policies will generally lead to certain, hastened death, while conservative centrists seem to endorse slow death. In other words, DeSantis, Trump and their party are leading a death cult, while Biden and his party appear to be torn over the choice between life and death. For the rest of us, a decisive life choice is the only option.

This article was produced by Economy for everyonea project of the Independent Media Institute.

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