Who cares about climate change? Ed Markey does.
Ed Markey served as the one and only Chair of the U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, during its four years of existence. Let me explain to you what an utterly thankless job that is. If you are the Chair of a committee on global warming, you've got Big Oil against you. You've got the electrical utilities against you. You've got the auto manufacturers against you. You've got the pipeline and tanker and drilling companies against you. What kind of person would want all of those headaches, just for a shot at saving Planet Earth?
Ed Markey. That kind of person.
After the Democrats took over the House in 2007, Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted action on climate change, so she chartered a new House Committee, and put Ed Markey in charge of it. The Republicans named Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) as their Ranking Member. Sensenbrenner has said that the science of climate change is a "global conspiracy." Sensenbrenner has said that labeling carbon dioxide as a pollutant is "propaganda." Mocking concerns over climate change, Sensenbrenner once suggested that we "put catalytic converters on all our noses." Ignoring the havoc that climate change and extreme weather have wrought, Sensenbrenner suggested that climate change might help "crop yields go up." When Nobel Prizewinner Paul Krugman called climate denial "treason against the planet," Sensenbrenner boasted, "I plead guilty as charged."
For almost four years, Markey and Sensenbrenner battled it out, through 80 committee hearings and briefings. Markey gamely publicized clean energy technology, and the risks caused by climate change. Markey pushed forward legislation like H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (which passed the House, and then Republicans filibustered it to death in the Senate). Markey's Committee educated the nation about global warming facts both horrifying (according to the World Health Organization, climate change already causes 150,000 deaths each year) and ironic (by 2030, there will be no glaciers in Glacier National Park). Markey faced down Big Oil, and ignored the steady drumbeat of nonsense and distraction from the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-evil Republican tools and zealots on the Committee.
With enemies like that, Ed Markey needs friends. And deserves them.
When the Republicans took over the House of Representatives after the 2010 election, they shut down Ed Markey's Committee. But Ed Markey remains the leading environmentalist in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Who speaks for the trees? Ed Markey does.
Ed Markey is the Democratic nominee for the open U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. He is my colleague and my friend. The U.S. Senate desperately needs someone like Ed Markey. As does America. As does Planet Earth.
Please show your support for Ed Markey today. Or at least tomorrow. Definitely before Wednesday -- that will be too late.