If the climate debate of mainstream politics were a gun fight in the Wild West, Republicans would show up with unloaded guns and in total disbelief the showdown was actually happening.
One of the most confusing elements about right-wing politics is the absence of a climate change plan, particularly in Louisiana. Possibly the most concerning points of the recent gubernatorial debate is that both Republican candidates denied human contribution to climate change. Louisiana has one of the most obvious effects of human-caused climate change in the form of coastal erosion.
The land loss rate of roughly one football field per hour, saltwater intrusion into former freshwater sources and up to 20 millimeters in sea rise are not a completely natural occurrence. Such issues are rooted in levee construction, wetland canal dredging and oil platform drilling.
To be fair, the causes for Louisiana’s most obvious changing climate and landscape have done insurmountable good for Louisiana, bringing in economic prosperity to a once desolate state. However, the science shows that the state’s greatest blessings are harming it. The Democrats in Washington D.C. wish to take outlandish, radical steps in order to combat such climate change.
Republicans aren’t proposing economically sensible steps to lead the U.S. or even just Louisiana into an ecologically-friendly economy. They are caught with their heads in the sand, probably searching for oil, with many denying that the world around them is changing.
Please note, no trees were hugged in the making of this article.
Republicans should be motivated to combat climate change to prevent the country from going into economic recession. It has been estimated that by 2050 many coastal cities will be underwater unless sea level rise is halted.
One of the more familiar cities predicted to be underwater is New Orleans. New Orleans has one of the top ports in the nation by cargo tonnage, connecting to 19,000 miles of inland rivers, and making roughly 4,000 shipping calls annually. New Orleans is to the U.S. as bones are to the human body; without it, all else will collapse.
While New Orleans is not the only city expected to drown, there are plenty of other reasons for Republicans to form a climate plan. The agriculture industry cannot function if the land is washed away, desolate from droughts, ravaged by hurricanes or literally on fire.
The seafood industry will crumble if freshwater sea life can no longer find a home when water salinity rises, and saltwater animals can’t survive if the growing deadzone makes life impossible.
This is not to shame the Grand Ole Party. It is time for Republicans to do what Republicans do best: it is time to fix things before Democrats make it worse.
Republicans won the Civil War, freed the slaves, ended the Vietnam conflict, had the Berlin Wall torn down and spanked the Soviet Union. Now, they have to save the world before the Democrats go full socialist.
Republicans need to hasten the pace of such revolution. The Yucca Mountain in Nevada, along with other deep-borehole spent nuclear fuel repositories, needs to be fully funded and operational. Nuclear power is the only practical alternative to fossil fuels, as it is more efficient and only produces steam as a by-product.
Tax incentives should be placed on all major energy companies to start converting to nuclear-based energy, constructing nuclear power plants, staffing the plants and retraining workers to move from fossil fuels to nuclear energy.
It would be best if larger, primarily petroleum-based energy companies moved toward the nuclear sector. Businesses are accustomed to safety codes, security teams and financial strength to make a smoother transfer over to a nuclear energy source, or at least they would have an easier transfer than a startup company based on nuclear energy.
Such initiatives should be done soon because if Democrats take over as the majority party, a carbon tax will likely be implemented. This will rush companies to make changes in energy production, and with rushing comes mistakes.
Better economic strategy should be placed on getting the U.S. to be a larger player in the world oil trade. As it currently stands, the U.S. produces oil cleaner than any other country, for much cheaper.
Since the Paris Climate accords, the U.S. has actually led the world in carbon emission reductions, with a reduction greater than the next 12 countries combined. Meanwhile, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and many other developing nations are not producing energy nearly as clean. If the goal is to save the planet, then the planet must have no alternative but to purchase oil and energy from the country that does it cleaner than the rest.
Republicans are simply viewing the climate debate wrong. Rather than viewing the climate “crisis” as a war on oil, it is time Republicans view it as a new business opportunity. Innovation and entrepreneurship will be highly valued in the years ahead, and leadership needs to protect and promote it. U.S. Rep. Garret Graves is a shining example of what it means to be not only a Republican but also a caretaker of the planet. It is time more Republicans take such a stance and protect the nation and the world.
As Ronald Reagan once said, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.” Republicans, the rendezvous awaits, destiny is calling, and the world needs saving. Let’s make the planet great again.
Brett Landry is a 20-year-old mass communication senior from Bourg, Louisiana.