I could write about the recent flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland, which is apparently yet another unprecedented example of extreme weather reminding us that the climate no longer makes sense. But really, we know this stuff already. So, I want to talk about politics.
I’m not going to stop doing science posts, or any of the other categories you’re used to my covering, but I’m planning on starting a new series on climate policy, vulnerability, and electoral politics in each state. I don’t know how many I’m going to get through by November, especially as I won’t do one every week, but I’ll do as many as I can. We put so much national attention into the Presidential elections, when the reality is that the President can’t do much of anything for the climate without a cooperative Congress. And which party takes the Congress depends largely on how Congressional districts are drawn, a process done, generally in a very partizan way, by the state legislatures every ten years. So, “down ballot” candidates matter a lot for the planet and we hardly ever hear about them.
We need to find ways to think about and support local races as national races, because that’s what they are.
Consider that we need a climate-sane majority in both houses in order to have a strong, climate-sane energy and transportation policy. Consider also that not every Congressional race is going to be competitive this year and not every competitive race will involve a climate-sane candidate. The climate-sane Congress we need nationally is therefore dependent on a small number of local races. If a national environmental advocacy group can identify those races and funnel money and strategic expertise towards those climate-sane candidates, we would have a good chance of taking Congress.
Is such a national campaign underway? I don’t know yet. But I can find out. And, if not, maybe this blog series will help support such an effort?