As Senator Bernie Sanders spoke this week during the Senate confirmation hearing of Gina McCarthy as the new Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, I found myself once again encouraged by the existence of true leadership in our country.
I have transcribed part of what he says so that I can delight in seeing the words as well as hearing them, and will not further delay your experience, except to say that I thank the stars above for Senator Sanders, his fine mind, and his willingness to share that mind with us in the face of those, like Senator Inhofe, who have none of those qualities, except the sharing part. Senator Inhofe never ceases to ignore science and to favor the corporate interests who expressly set out to create the sense that there was, in the 21st Century, any controversy among scientists as to the existence of climate change.
Thank you, Senator Sanders.
But really, this is not a debate about Gina McCarthy. Senator Barrasso makes it very clear what the debate is about. And it is a debate about global warming and whether or not we are going to listen to the leading scientists of this country, who are telling us that global warming is the most serious planetary crisis that we and the global community face and whether we are going to address that crisis in a serious manner. In essence, what Senator Barrasso has just said is, no, he does not want the EPA to do that; he does not want the EPA to listen to science. What he wants is us to continue doing as little as possible as we see extreme weather disturbances: drought, floods, and heat waves all over the world take place.
So, let me go on record as saying, I want EPA to be vigorous in protecting our children and future generations from the horrendous crisis that we face from global warming.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2012 was the warmest year ever recorded for the continental United States, and over 24,000 new record highs were set in the U.S. alone. It was the hottest year in recorded history in New York, Washington D.C., Louisville, Kentucky, even my home city of Burlington, Vermont, and other cities across the country.
Last year’s drought affecting two-thirds of the United States was the worst in half a century, contributing to extraordinary wildfires, burning more than 9,000,000 acres of land, reported the National Interagency Fire Center.
Heat waves and droughts are not limited to the U.S. Australia, for instance, just experienced a four-month heat wave with severe wild fires, record-setting temperatures, and torrential rains and flooding, causing 2.4 billion dollars in damages, according to the New York Times.
And to conclude:
And what Senator Inhofe has written and talked about is his belief that global warming is one of the major hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people, that it’s a hoax pushed by people like Al Gore, the United Nations and the Hollywood elite.
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So that is the issue. That is exactly [what] the issue. Do we agree with Senator Inhofe that global warming is a hoax? And that we do not want the Federal government, the EPA, the Department of Energy, to address that issue because it is a quote, unquote “hoax”, according to Senator Inhofe and others? Or do we believe and agree with the overwhelming majority of scientists who tell us that global warming is the most serious planetary crisis that we face, and that we must act boldly and aggressively to protect the future of this planet?
That is what the issue is. And that is why I am supporting Gina McCarthy.
Thank you, Senator Sanders, for continuing to be a voice of reason and science in a globally-warmed desert of hoax-criers and corporate sponsors. I’m with you.