Letter: Clean Power context
Sen. Ray Scott’s guest opinion, praising the Clean Power Plan rollback and lamenting that Colorado isn’t abandoning its own climate and air quality goals, leaves out important information. For instance, Scott’s Clean Power Plan “history” starts last year, not much history at all. No surprise, then, that it neglects to note the Supreme Court, under Bush-appointee Chief Justice Roberts, found that congressional law requires that the EPA regulate carbon pollution.
Without any of this context, Scott’s “facts” float in a sort of special-interest ether, not actually grounded in the matter at hand: The Clean Air Act obligates the federal government to regulate carbon pollution, which is driving human-cause climate change.
A new exhaustive report authored by 13 federal agencies again confirms what we already know: Climate change is real and “unambiguous,” it is already having impacts on the Earth’s and human systems, and that there are “no convincing alternative explanations” as to what is currently driving it.
Gov. Hickenlooper’s environmental record is certainly mixed, and many think his climate plan was too tepid and undermined by other of his policies. But his embrace of the Clean Power Plan aligns Colorado with more than a dozen other states, hundreds of American cities, and — through the Paris Accords — is in step with 198 other nations around the world. Sen. Scott, on the other hand, stands with hegemonic fossil fuel interests, a couple dozen GOP-dominated states, and Bashar Assad’s Syria — the only other nation, along with the U.S. under Trump, not part of this historic international accord.
History. Context, these things matter in shaping policy, as does the direction we are heading. Scott’s column lacks an understanding of all three. Status quo apologists can try to untether themselves from climate reality, but even loads of campaign cash won’t bring their talking points to ground. That is where the leaders are, where the rubber meets the road, rolling up sleeves, finding solutions. Naysayers like Scott do more harm than good, but their irrelevance will only grow. The trends are clear, the future here. Sen. Scott should either help lead or get out of the way.