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European eyes see US “debt deal” costing the earth

Tim Bastable

The rest of the world has watched the theatre of the “debt ceiling saga” in Washington with growing disbelief. It seems to have stunned a few Americans too. Paul Craig Roberts, an ex-Wall Street Journal editor and one of the driving forces behind “Reganomics”, hardly a raging lefty, sums up in an OpEdNews editorial:

“after… …witnessing the stupidity of the US government, the rest of the world is struck dumbfounded by the immaturity of the “world’s only superpower.” Reading through the US media there’s a distinct air of despondency from the right as well as the left. More than anything its the feeling that with the rise of the Koch funded Tea Party, the lunatics have finally taken over the asylum . It’s not just financial stability or the jobs and pensions of millions of Americans that are at stake with the growing influence of the Tea Party. Their record on the environment is truly appalling.

Koch has funded climate change denial and created a climate in the USA where no republican hopeful for next years presidential elections can even admit to the existence of climate change . The fundamentalist, science denial of the extreme right has led to a congress that’s been described as the ” most anti-environmental house in history “. The cuts to America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will affect monitoring of water standards, air quality and carbon pollution.

Energy & Environment Fallout from the Debt Deal

Amongst the areas that will be hit will be the EPA’s power to exert any regulatory control over the Keystone Tar Sand pipeline. It’s a key project that will allow the USA to exploit Canada’s oil sands and one that concerns us all. Canadian tar sands contain as much carbon as the entire Saudi Arabian oil field past and present. If the USA use this oil, it will mean ” game over ” for any attempt to limit carbon emissions. The EPA can’t stop the project, but as things stand they may not even be able to provide a true picture of its impacts on the environment.

While Europe strides towards massive cuts in carbon emissions government in the USA is being held hostage by an extreme right wing out of touch with the American people. What’s truly frightening is that the energy industry has empowered far more than pliant lobby fodder. For tea-party fanatics anti- environmentalism is an ideology.

Slashing research into renewable energy and stopping desperately needed investment in the creaking US grid just about fits into a party increasingly committed reigning in the powers of the state. Attempting to reverse the decision to phase out incandescent light-bulbs and threatening a senate investigation into the recent deal to reduce average fuel consumption to 54 mpg by 2025 is irrational stupidity of the highest order and one that will cost ordinary Americans billions of dollars .

The winners of the debt ceiling deal will be the fossil fuel industry in the USA. The losers — all of us — as the republicans follow through an insane mission to make the USA, already the worlds biggest per capita emitter of carbon, even dirtier and less efficient and make runaway climate change an inevitability…

… and the lesson? Every great technological change in history has met with resistance from the old order – whether it was coaching companies fighting the advent of rail or Luddites smashing machinery, the most resistance comes from those with most to lose. The republican right may well be on the lunatic fringe but it’s the new age Luddites like Koch and Exxon who pull their strings. The fossil energy industry is using its massive wealth to wage a dirty war. It fabricating news, misinformation and fake science and funding a cadre of anti- science fanatics to keep its coffers full. It may be being fought across the Atlantic but catastrophic climate change knows no borders. It a war that the rest of the world can’t afford to ignore.

Tim Bastable is a writer for GreenOctober ( which is being developed as a public gateway to stories and information about sustainability. Hands on interest in the issues started over 30 years ago with a chance encounter with Dave McTaggart on Rainbow Warrior on the quayside of Lerwick Harbour. Been passionate about the issues ever since. Source:

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