This just in: The author of “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future” says he never said global warming was a hoax.
That would be Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, who still is not interested in doing anything about the problem, even if it isn't a hoax, which is how he, or someone, describes it in the title of the 2012 book that bears his name.
He is among growing ranks of Republicans cited by The New York Times who now acknowledge climate change. Still, admitting climate change exists is scary enough for these latecomers. They want to do nothing about it.
Well, not nothing, exactly. The Times reports that Republicans are inclined to “prepare communities to cope” with a climate situation that saw the hottest July on record, with thousand-year drought conditions, unspeakable storms, and wildfires without precedent.
There’s “future” implied by the word “prepare,” but as Sen. Rick Scott, the Florida Republican, told the Times on actually mitigating that which threatens the planet’s future: Nah.
“I’m not doing anything to raise the cost of living for American families,” he said.
You mean like what a thousand-year drought might do for food prices? Like what superstorms and sea-level rise do to Florida condos?
“Nah” is what most Republicans said to President Biden’s ultra forward-looking infrastructure bill, which the Brookings Institute calls a “generational investment” in making this country “more inclusive, environmentally resilient and industrially competitive.”
We don’t need such a thing if it will raise the vending-machine price of Goobers.
I read the other day about a proposal to build a high-speed rail line in Texas from Dallas to Houston through College Station. A judge recently threw out a suit to stop it when foes sought to forbid eminent domain.
The odds against high-speed rail in Texas remain great with future-averse Republicans running the show in the state Capitol.
Reading about this proposal, my mind flashed back almost 30 years to when Texas went through exhaustive hearings on a proposed high-speed rail line along the Interstate-35 corridor, a major Texas traffic artery that's clogged throughout much of the state. Texas would have that rail today had a Republican legislature not forbidden public dollars from going to the project.
That’s tragic/comic irony when one considers the figurative gold bricks being smelted together to expand an I-35 that will be overmatched the moment it is completed.
The definition of bad government is addressing only today’s needs and not acknowledging that today becomes tomorrow by sunrise.
Rail improvements and expansions are part of the Biden infrastructure plan, and good for our future. Yes, most of us remain tied to pavement, but millennials and younger Americans are falling out of love with automobiles.
Colorado, with a Democratic lock on governance, is accelerating long-delayed notions of higher-speed rail traffic on the Front Range to deal with horrific traffic congestion on its own crucial artery, Interstate 25.
Right now the leading candidate is a state partnership with Amtrak for a 191-mile north-south route using available track. It would be modeled after the rail line linking Milwaukee and Chicago in a joint arrangement between Wisconsin and Illinois.
Enough with the “People won’t ride trains” dodge. Times are changing, whether stick-in-the-mud policy makers want to admit it or not.
It was just 12 years ago that a start-up named Uber changed the face of transportation in America. It’s easy to see in Colorado’s future an Uber-to-Amtrak-to-Uber-and-back night in the big city from where I live 50 miles from Denver.
By the way, passenger traffic on the Milwaukee-to-Chicago line has paid for nearly 90 percent of its operating costs.
And guess what? For that we get less pollution, and that region’s highways get less congestion, with less gasoline used, all good things.
The sad thing about climate deniers and climate-action sandbaggers is that, firmly established science aside, measures to deal with climate change are all good on dozens of dimensions.
They save finite energy sources. They extend the lives of aquifers, rivers, reservoirs and beaches. They save forests. They save money. And they generate economic activity.
The problem with too many Republicans is that, in their quest to preserve yesterday (“Clean, beautiful coal”) they don’t dare look past today.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.