Written by Frankie Sparacio, ESLLC 2016-2017
The Republican Party prides themselves of being the party of Lincoln. I, as many people probably do, admire Abraham Lincoln for everything that he did for this country. However, if Lincoln were alive today, he wouldn’t recognize the modern Republican Party. From restricting a woman’s right to choose, to weakening already lackluster gun control legislation, Republicans have been preventing much needed progress. While all of these beliefs may be dangerous, the party’s positions on climate change and the environment are extremely worrisome.
In their 2016 platform, the GOP took on some radical positions against climate change. Republicans say that climate change is far from the nation’s most pressing national security issue, and they oppose international accords that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Paris agreement. The platform also explicitly rejects the Clean Power Plan, which is essential in shifting away from coal-powered power plants. Worst of all, they describe coal as a clean energy source, which is obviously a false statement.
One large argument for Republicans against environmental regulations is that they are bad for the economy. It would take a considerable amount of money to protect our environment and to continue shifting to a more green and sustainable economy. However, those investments will pay off big time in the long run. It makes more sense to spend money on clean energy and greater energy efficiency than to have to spend much more money in the future on costly natural disasters, thanks to climate change.
In the GOP platform, they also attack public lands and national monuments. They want to turn federal lands over to states. The federal government controls a big chunk of land in the West, and already leases a good amount of it for oil, gas, and coal extraction. However, if these lands are handed over to the states, this extraction will happen much more aggressively. The platform also calls for an amendment to the Antiquities Act of 1906, which would require congressional approval for new national monuments, and it would also call for state approval of new national parks or monuments.
The sad truth is that the GOP is one of the only major political parties on the planet that denies the existence of human-caused climate change. They sure have come a far way from Theodore Roosevelt, who wanted clean air, clean water, and open spaces for future generations of America, and from Richard Nixon, who created the EPA and signed the Clean Air Act into law. While Ronald Reagan began the GOP climate denial parade, even he signed the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer. Today, most GOP politicians receive loads of money from the Oil & Gas Industry. Isn’t it sad that these “leaders” put campaign contributions ahead of the interests and health of the American people?