About five seconds after the announcement came from Beijing that the United States and China had reached an unexpected and ambitious climate change agreement, Republicans in Washington declared it the worst deal since the Trojans accepted a big wooden horse from the Greeks.
You would think everyone would be cheering, but the boos and catcalls from the right have just begun.
Throughout his campaign for reelection, Kentucky Sen.
In McConnell's case, it is transparently obvious that his prime motivation is to protect his state's coal industry. If that industry happens to be contributing to shifts in climate that threaten civilization, that's tough luck. McConnell is far more concerned about the profits of the energy industries that finance his, and his party's, campaigns.
The Senate’s chief climate change denier, Oklahoma Sen.
Besides ignoring the positive bump the American economy would receive from turning to renewable energy sources, the conservatives' argument misses a very big factor driving China's sudden willingness to do something about the bad stuff their factories and cars are spewing into the atmosphere. The pollution clouding Chinese cities is a political danger to the regime. China's President Xi Jinping has agreed to cap emissions and move 20% of the country's energy consumption to alternative fuels by 2030, not to please the international community or to pull a fast one on Americans, but to avoid a revolt in his own smog-choked country. It's called self-interest.
Unfortunately, in the United States, too many politicians interpret self-interest as whatever it is that will get them reelected. The true self-interest of our nation is far larger. It is to keep heartland farms from drying up, to avert extreme sea level rises that would flood coastal cities and to avoid increasingly intense and destructive wildfires, tornadoes, blizzards, floods and hurricanes – all the calamities that will come with climate change.