This story says so much about the changing global dynamic and the GOP’s participation in the defining issue of our day:
Carbon dioxide emissions from the world’s energy producers stalled in 2014, the first time in 40 years of measurement that the level did not increase during a period of economic expansion, according to preliminary estimates from the International Energy Agency.
The research suggests that efforts to counteract climate change by reducing carbon emissions and promoting energy efficiency could be working, said Fatih Birol, the agency’s chief economist and incoming executive director. “This is definitely good news,” he said.
Dr. Birol noted that many nations have promoted energy efficiency and low-carbon energy sources like hydroelectric, solar, wind and nuclear power. China, he noted, has worked to reduce carbon emissions as part of an intensive effort to limit environmental damage from economic development. That China appears to be successfully moving down that path, he said, portends well for the deal struck with the United States in November. China committed in that agreement to turning around its growth in carbon emissions by 2030, or earlier if possible, while increasing the share of non-fossil fuels in energy production to 20 percent of its menu.
The agency has been collecting data on carbon dioxide emissions for 40 years, and in that time emissions have stalled or dropped only three times; each of those coincided with weakness in the global economy. The last instance was in 2009, during a global economic slump. In 2014, however, the economy expanded by about 3 percent.
The Republican Party has basically checked out of this issue. They’ve obstructed and denied and propagandized and in pretty much every way imaginable said, “no, we won’t do anything about it. In fact, we don’t even believe in it.” So everyone else said fine, we’ll do it without you. And I mean really, on every important issue of the day — healthcare reform, GLBT equality, pulling ourselves out of an economic quagmire — haven’t conservatives always checked out and left it to everyone else to fix? Yes, they have. Useless idiots, every single one. “Takers” who benefit from the hard work the rest of us have done. Ironic, that.
True, one year’s CO2 emissions may be an anomaly. We aren’t out of the woods yet. But I’m encouraged, and I really think it says something ominous about the GOP. Nothing screams political fail louder than refusing to participate in solving our generation’s biggest threat.