The Play It Safe Climate Caucus
Yesterday, I wrote about the way that Doris Matsui stood up on the floor of the House of Representatives and demanded that her colleagues do something about climate change, even though she hasn’t taken any legislative action to deal with climate change herself. This morning, I’ve learned that it wasn’t just Representative Matsui. A group of politicians in Congress has formed a club formed for sole purpose of doing what Matsui did – talk about the need for climate change action, without taking action.
U.S. Representative Henry Waxman introduced the club – the new Safe Climate Caucus:
“Today, 22 Members of the House have banded together to create a Safe Climate Caucus to end the conspiracy of silence in this House of Representatives about the dangers of climate change and the Republican denial of its existence and their rejection of the science.
We are committing to talk every single day on the House floor about the urgent need to address climate change. President Obama is leading the way. He says we must respond to climate change because to do otherwise would be to betray our children and future generations.
We are ready to get to work. We understand the threat facing our children, and we know our Nation has the know-how and the ingenuity to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, but to do so, we must act now.”
Like Doris Matsui, Henry Waxman is urging action.
Urging action is not the same as taking action. It’s just talk. Until they introduce legislation that would create concrete change, the Safe Climate Caucus is really nothing more than the Talking About Climate Caucus.
Henry Waxman says that the problem is that there’s a conspiracy of silence. Actually, if Congressman Waxman and his Big Talk Club friends would listen, they would have heard plenty of talk about climate change over the last few years. The issue of climate change has been talked about plenty. It’s time for action, not talk, and in our country, when action needs to be taken on big issues that affect the general welfare, it’s the job of Congress to step up to the plate and do something.
Speeches aren’t enough. Press releases won’t make a difference. Forming a club called the Safe Climate Caucus won’t stop climate change.
The members of the Safe Climate Caucus are: Henry Waxman, Earl Blumenauer, Lois Capps, Emanuel Cleaver, Steve Cohen, Donna Edwards, Keith Ellison, Tulsi Gabbard, John Garamendi, Raul Grijalva, Rush Holt, Jared Huffman, Hank Johnson, Barbara Lee, Ben Ray Lujan, Edward Markey, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, Jim Moran, Bobby Rush, Paul Tonko, Chris Van Hollen, and Peter Welch.
They all may be well meaning, but meaning well isn’t enough for the task we are faced with. We need strong, comprehensive climate legislation from the House of Representatives. The legislation introduced in the Senate by Barbara Boxer and Bernard Sanders last week is a great example of what the legislation should look like.
If Henry Waxman, Doris Matsui and the rest of the Congressional Climate Fan Club truly believe that the time for action is now, then all they have to do is introduce a copy of the legislation already written by Boxer and Sanders. That’s it – not much work involved.
So what’s stopping the Safe Climate Caucus from taking action? Are they afraid of making Barack Obama look bad, perhaps?
The truth is that Barack Obama is NOT providing strong leadership on the climate change issue. Like Waxman and Matsui, he’s just talking… and expanding drilling for oil and natural gas in ecologically sensitive areas.
Do the Democrats in Congress really think that’s the kind of action that’s going to stop climate change?