Last month, some of the world’s leading climate scientists confirmed, once again, that humans are making irreversible changes to our planet and extreme weather will become more severe.
Also last month a UNICEF report included a Children’s Climate Risk Index that analyses the effects of climate change on children, ranking countries based on children’s exposure to excessive heat, air pollution, flooding, water scarcity, etc. According to the report almost every child on earth is exposed to at least one climate or environmental hazard and 850 million are exposed to at least four.
Considering these recent climate reports that signal a “code red” for humanity and future generations, it is horrifying that so many politicians are opposed to any serious action to address the threat posed by climate destruction.
Here in West Michigan, Representative Bill Huizenga is furthering climate destruction by doing the dirty work for big oil companies and opposing any legislation that serves to facilitate a sustainable transition or protect future generation’s right to a stable climate.
As part of his role on the Financial Services Committee, Rep. Huizenga has recently spoken out against companies disclosing the risks that they face from climate change and reporting their emissions. The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued guidelines suggesting that companies consider the effects of the climate crisis on company assets, but it has not mandated that public companies disclose their exposure to climate-related risks. As a result, investors lack access to basic information about the potential impact of the climate crisis on American companies, creating massive environmental and financial risks. Given his opposition to the Climate Risk Disclosure Act, Rep. Huizenga would prefer that investors, and the American public, not have the information necessary to hold corporations accountable for their role in the climate crisis.
For nearly a decade Rep. Huizenga has diligently served the interests of major oil companies by working to repeal Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. Section 1504 requires oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose the payments they make to foreign governments as part of their financial reporting to the SEC. The bipartisan transparency law is a vital tool to expose and deter nefarious backroom deals in a notoriously corrupt industry, to protect investors, and to enable communities to sustainably manage their resources. Rep. Huizenga’s efforts to undo a landmark anti-corruption law has done nothing for his constituents, and nothing for the American people. It is simply serving the interests of lobbyists and the most environmentally destructive corporations who fund Huizenga’s campaigns.
Opponents of action to address climate change have always relied on multiple lines of defense: if one argument for doing nothing becomes useless, they will find another. We have all heard the deceitful and trite statements like: “global warming is fake news” or “doing anything about climate change would destroy the economy.”
Rep. Huizenga is no different in his shameful attempts to sow doubt in established climate science. In response to a 2019 BBC article about natural methane releases from wetlands in South Sudan, he tweeted: “Hey! I thought it was just US power plants and cars that are to blame for global warming … oops.” Climate denialism is sadly mainstream for U.S. politicians but using an example from an impoverished country like South Sudan that is suffering bouts of food insecurity from a warming world, yet has done nothing to contribute to climate destruction, is disgraceful politics.
We need citizens, businesses, and governments working together to address the climate crisis. Working together can result in policy solutions like national standards for renewable energy, the elimination of legacy subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, and strict auto emission regulations.
These policy approaches threaten the business model of big oil and would help to slow the warming of the planet. But Rep. Huizenga has consistently argued in bad faith that climate regulations will hurt the economy, which is a lie. Claims that taking on climate change would be an economic disaster are as much at odds with the evidence as claims that the climate isn’t changing.
It is painfully obvious that Rep. Huizenga’s statements opposing climate action are not being argued in good faith; he has consistently obstructed all measures to mitigate climate disaster and will use whatever excuses he can find to justify his position, like methane from wetlands in South Sudan.
West Michigan and the rights of future generations to a stable climate deserve better than Rep. Huizenga’s disingenuous actions to support big oil and destroy our collective environment.
— Brendon Thomas is a program coordinator at the United States Energy Association, a nonpartisan resource for the energy industry. He resides in West Olive.
Credit: Source link