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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:

talking will not end climate change“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?

4 comments to The Play It Safe Climate Caucus

  • klem

    “Do the Democrats in Congress really think that’s the kind of action that’s going to stop climate change?”

    Here’s a more accurate question;
    ‘Do the Democrats in Congress really think that any kind of action is going to stop climate change?’

  • Bill

    I am reminded of the old adage, “You’d complain if they hung you with a new rope” (wherein I have substituted “complain” for a less genial verb).

    Perhaps Waxman and friends aren’t actually interested in just doing something. Perhaps they’re actually interested in succeeding at something. To succeed will require foundation-building: shaming the know-nothing nay-sayers, urging those representatives who are concerned but are still in the closet to come out, getting a national dialog going, creating a consensus, encouraging the rest of us to stop whining and start working. I, for one, am pleased that they’re not just reviving the Boxer/Sanders bill, at least not yet. If they got a vote on it tomorrow it would only go down in defeat, which wouldn’t be terribly helpful.

    Perhaps we should give our friends in Congress a little benefit of the doubt. Just sayin’.

    • Well, right now, they’re succeeding at pretending that they’re doing something.

      Yes, Bill, right now, the Democrats are “just saying” – instead of doing.

      They’re SAYING that we need to do something “right now”, and then acting in a completely contradictory way.

      Haven’t the Democrats been given the benefit of the doubt on the climate change issue for oh, about – 20 years – ???? We’ve had nothing but talk and consensus building and community share-outs and public service announcements from Democratic “leaders” for the last generation.

      The Democrats in Congress are USING climate change as an issue with no intention to DO anything to seriously confront the problem.

      Barack Obama is urging an end to “red tape” for offshore oil drilling! Does that not tell you something, Bill?

  • Tom

    Bill – i like the quote!

    klem – exactly.

    all: At the rate they’re “progressing” (even the glaciers have them beat), it’ll be another coupla elections before they decide to actually do anything, but by then it’ll just be reactionary policies that will have no effect (like clean up operations and massive burials of all the dead laying around).

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