Tuesday, August 4, 2015

To Breathe or... Dammit, Wisconsin!

This sculpture by Isaac Cordal pretty much sums up how many feel about the state of politics. Politics in the U.S. arena has become an American football game; everybody seems to love what's at the heart of it, but at the end of the day it's mostly about penalties, flags, replays, challenges, sponsorships, and watching the clock run down to the end of the quarter.  And of course, on occasion you get some a-hole cheating by deflating the game ball, or pumping steroids.  Point is, politics have become a game in this country, and nothing more.  Many love the underdog but the rich kids with the best sponsors score the most often.

But this sculpture is directed at a pretty specific subject hitting the political walls; climate change. And I think the statement the artist is making with this sculpture entitled, "Politicians Discussing Climate Change," is hitting things a bit on the nose this week.

Recently the U.S. took a pretty small step in the direction of, well not "fixing" the problem, but maybe slowing it down a little.  We have a new "plan" taking effect soon to limit carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants.  This plan has a deadline of a whopping 15 years.

To see the announcement of this plan, you can watch this video...  Just bear in mind that there will be a lot of videos in this post for full comprehension:

If you want to fully understand what climate change is, why it's a problem, how we know it's happening, and the science behind it,  I highly recommend watching this video.  However it's an hour long, so if you have to save it for later and come back to it, just keep reading for now.

Here's a very condensed version.  Long story short, this is happening:

Now, why am I giving you the chance to educate yourself about all of this? And why now?  Because for some unknown reason, Wisconsin Governor, and now Presidential Candidate, Walker, has decided the correct way to react is by joining a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.  Yeah... For citizens of WI this shouldn't come as that much of a shock to those who know about his history with the Department of Natural Resources in WI--though it's still something alarming.

While the EPA's Clean Air Plan is being considered "innovative" as it is the first federal requirement, it is NOT the first plan in the United States.  In fact there was a suit not too long ago (in 2004) in which 8 states sued major power companies to reduce their air pollution, during which, not one of the defendants denied that climate change is occurring.  In fact, many power companies have already begun reductions, and have come up with plans for doing more for "clean energy" in the future. (You kind find all this information in that PBS documentary shown above.

The point is, there is very little argument on that end--which leaves me very confused about presidential candidate Walker's response and joining a lawsuit against this plan of action:

“Yet again, President Obama is taking unilateral action and overstepping the limits of his authority to pursue a political agenda.  The Obama Administration ignored the significant, overriding issues that will increase costs for Wisconsin ratepayers by up to $13 billion, unnecessarily harming families and killing manufacturing jobs.We will examine the final plan in detail, but clearly Wisconsin’s extensive, constructive comments to the EPA have fallen on deaf ears in Washington.Wisconsin has taken every opportunity to express that the Obama Administration is not only exceeding its authority by issuing the EPA’s final rule, but is pursuing the least efficient way to make environmental gains.Today, I am asking the Attorney General to take immediate action to protect Wisconsin ratepayers and workers from the devastating impacts of the Obama Administration’s actions.In addition, I am directing the Department of Natural Resources to work with the Public Service Commission to evaluate the financial impact of the final rule.”    
*Source -- http://fox6now.com/2015/08/03/clean-power-plan-pres-obama-unveils-major-climate-change-proposal-gov-walker-responds/
So let me calm a few feelings you may be experiencing from that statement down before you keep reading.

1. Yes there may be a small increase in some costs while we adjust to the new plan, but that will not be anywhere near the the number Walker made up in this statement. It will not cost WI 13 billion, and nor will it destroy jobs. People want to live and work in a place that they can also breathe.  If anything, the formerly pristine state would draw more to it for it's environmental hospitality. And our individual health care costs will decrease. (Again watch the PBS video to find out why allergies and asthma are becoming more of a problem)

2. It's a joke that Walker wants anyone to take his comment about working with the DNR seriously. He fired half of the DNR scientific staff on April 22nd of 2015. (Earth Day.)

3. Walker doesn't just "seem to think" but he KNOWS without a doubt that if he uses language that associates this EPA plan with President Obama, the people who already hate Obama will automatically side with Walker without giving it much more thought. Don't fall for that. You're better than that. Take the issue out of the political realm and simply decide if breathing clean air is something you want for you and your children.

And 4. We have 15 years to take action with implementing a plan of choosing for each state.  That's right, each state is being allowed the flexibility and a large degree of autonomy in this "plan" so the states can do what is right for them and their citizens.  Think about this.  15 years ago, a CD walkman with "no skip" feature was the height of personal tech.  Now we have phones that can email, take and edit photos, show our faces while talking to a person, and store thousands of songs and videos for our entertainment in our pockets.  Imagine the technology that can come along in that time!  15 years is a long time to work on low cost and efficient energy tech.

But it's simple really.  We NEED to keep our air clean! I like breathing, and not getting cancer for doing so. I find it funny that the state I live in banned smoking in all public buildings, but is joining a lawsuit against keeping these other harmful emissions under control.  It's the future, here and now, and there are alternatives to power sources that are cleaner and wiser. And if you want to make this an "economy" justification let me stop you right there and explain how this lawsuit will HURT not help our economy for YOU.

Besides a good economy is a scapegoat, BS, buzzword catch-all, political entity anyhow.  I mean... China has a booming economy, right? Always lending us money? Okay. I'll go with that for now. However, that doesn't mean that the people of China are well off. The average pay in 2012 (most updated figure found) was the equivalent of 4,755 dollars. And yes, limiting pollution and such out there has been known to have some negative effect on the "economy" overall. But as pointed out, a good economy doesn't equate to decent living wages or conditions. I encourage you to take a look at the article I'm posting as the first comment on this to see what it's like in China. Pay attention to #1 in that article. They have a FAKE SKYLINE for tourists to take pictures with because their air pollution is SO BAD you can't see it properly.

The economy doesn't have to hurt as a result here. We have skilled workers such as laborers, scientists, technicians, etc... to build, run and maintain new solar plants, and wind farms. It's an opportunity to create new jobs in place of the old ones. No one looked at the automobile and said, "But what are the people that make horse buggies going to do now!? Stop the popularity of the automobile!" No, people adapted and so did the workforce around it.

The bottom line is, I want to be able to swim in lakes, go for a run, eat picnics, and see the stars! And those things are priceless to me!  Tell Walker, and the other 4 Governors in this lawsuit that are trying to stop progress, that you don't support what they are doing. Not supporting a single decision they make doesn't have to mean you don't support THEM, but let them know what you care about so they can too. Tell them that you don't want your tax dollars going to waste paying for a lawsuit that will only prolong the inevitable. More efficient and cleaner power will happen eventually.  Let's not leave our states having to play catch up with the rest.

Tell them that you like to breathe.

Also, for the science about the ozone layer and how cfc's affect it, you can try and wrap your head around this (which is college freshmen level intro to chemistry btw.)

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