It is no secret that many Republicans in the House of Representatives are not fans of the investments in clean energy that the Obama administration have been making over the years. While it is readily apparent to everyone but them that their attempts to gut clean energy spending aren’t going anywhere in the Senate and the Obama administration has vowed to veto the current version of this bill, they’re continuing their exercise in futility this week. Again.
According to the White House, the proposed bill “drastically underfunds critical investments that: develop American energy sources to build a clean and secure energy future; develop and commercialize the emerging technologies that create high-quality jobs and enhance the Nation’s economic competiveness; and improve resilience against current and ongoing climate impacts that threaten our economy, public health, and natural resources.”
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said the cuts are needed “at a time of fiscal constraint, when government, like our constituents, must make tough choices on where to spend smartly.” That argument doesn’t hold much water, though. If we do nothing to address climate change, we’re going to be spending a whole lot more money to fix the damage caused by its impacts — like Hurricane Sandy, which cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $60 billion dollars (roughly double what the GOP is proposing to spend on this budget bill for water and energy).
And, if we keep worrying about scoring political points instead of fixing our climate change problem, things are only going to get worse. A new study predicts that we’ll see 20 more hurricanes or tropical storms a year by the year 2100. Worse for people along America’s East Coast, the Atlantic Ocean — where most hurricanes that hit the U.S. are formed — is one of the two areas with noticeable increases predicted.
The truth is that the money we’re spending on clean energy and other important investments to get the systems we rely on every day ready for climate change is money well spent. It is driving innovation and creating good jobs for workers. It is making our communities safer and healthier. And, it’s helping to reduce carbon emissions that are causing climate change. That will help us reduce costs in the long run by reducing the impacts of climate change — from hurricanes to wildfires to droughts to floods.
It’s disheartening, to say the least, to see the House again waste time and effort like this when they ought to be figuring out ways to get Americans back to work, repair America’s crumbling water, transit, transportation, and communications systems, and address the growing threat of climate change. It’s time for Congress to get their head out of the sand and address the real threat that climate change poses to America and the world.