Column: Care about climate change but the Green New Deal not your thing? Don’t worry, there’s other climate legislation you can support in an MU campus organization
The voices of the international scientific community need to be respected by all — regardless of party line.
Apr. 25, 2019
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
Maureen Dunne is a freshman journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about student life for The Maneater.
The Youth Climate Strike took the world by storm this past March 15, with roughly 1.4 million participants in 123 countries across the globe. As a state lead for the Youth Climate Strike, I and other campus organizations brought a piece of the global movement right here to Speakers Circle. The MU strike consisted of a morning of marches lead by the Mizzou Energy Action Coalition ending in a rally with guest speakers from the Mizzou College Democrats, Rock Bridge High School Young Democrats and other members of the community calling for legislative action from our representatives.
However, with the presence of mostly liberal organizations, there were concerns voiced that the strike was “too partisan,” as quoted by MU student Dalton Archer to KOMU 8 and other news sources. The Maneater also reported that the Mizzou College Republicans had been “excluded from the planning process.”
Both nationally and statewide, the Republican Party seems to be excluding itself from any action on combating climate change. The Trump Administration has retracted decades of Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including reopening streams to coal mining pollution, greenlighting construction of the hotly contested Dakota XL Pipeline, and countless other rollbacks. Scott Pruitt, Trump’s first appointee to run the EPA, openly questioned the role of CO2 emissions in the warming of earth’s global temperature. The current head of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, is a former coal industry lobbyist who admitted during a congressional hearing that “climate change is not the biggest issue right now.” Not to mention the U.S.’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement under President Trump.
Missouri’s current Republican representatives are doing little to address climate change. During newly elected senator Josh Hawley’s term as Missouri Attorney General, he eliminated his office’s divisions of agriculture and the environment, and on the campaign trail, refused to release a statement about climate change to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Vicky Hartzler, the congresswoman for Missouri District 4, which includes Columbia and much of midwestern Missouri, includes contested information on her congressional website. It characterizes coal as “abundant … affordable and can be burned cleanly,” which plainly contradicts the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s consensus that burning coal produces 69% of the U.S. energy sector’s carbon emissions, thereby polluting the environment and contributing to climate change.
However, after reading Archer’s interviews, I wanted to hear what he had to say. I messaged him on Facebook and we arranged to meet in the MU Student Center the next day.
We got along well and found we had some common ground. Both of us had worked for our respective candidates, Josh Hawley and Claire McCaskill, ahead of the midterm elections, and are passionate about protecting the environment.
“Most Republicans do care about climate change,” he told me, and further explained that they felt alienated by the way in which the Democratic Party goes about combating it, namely by incorporating a lot of “other issues” as through the Green New Deal. As MU’s campus chairman for the American Conservation Coalition, a national organization representing conservatives’ views on environmental protection, he introduced me to conservative and bipartisan efforts to combat climate change, all centered on free-market solutions.
Additionally, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonpartisan committee dedicated to climate action, which supports bipartisan legislation. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act has support from both sides of the aisle.
Although efforts to combat climate change on a national level seem to be partisan, there are grassroots organizations spanning the political spectrum working towards a greener future.
No matter the direction you lean politically, there is an organization here on campus in which you can get involved.