Friday, June 21, 2013

Street Theater for the EPA: President Obama On Trial

Obama spoke strongly about the need to act on climate change during his inaugural and state of the union addresses, but he hasn't taken much action.

On Wednesday, June 19, 2013 in front of the EPA Offices in Philadelphia, we rallied to ask the Obama Administration to issue new rules to limit carbon emissions from new and existing coal-fired power plants. A strong rule for existing coal fired power plants will take more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than the Tar Sands would put in.

As a part of the rally, we presented the street theater production, "President Obama On Trial For Causing a Climate Catastrophe."

 The script was as follows:
COURT CRYER:  Hear Ye!  Hear Ye!  The case of The People of the United States vs. President Barack Obama is now in session. 
JUDGE:  Will the attorney for the prosecution please state your case? 
PROSECUTOR:  Your honor and esteemed members of the jury, The People of the United States bring this action in light of the fact that their elected President, having made fine proclamations, both in his Second Inaugural and his State of the Union Address in 2013, about his intention to rein in Climate Change, has failed to act upon said promises.  He has failed to meet the legal deadline required of him to promulgate a final Carbon Standard.  In fact, he unceremoniously withdrew the Rule he had previously announced.  Yes, yes, it is well known that he DID establish a Mercury Rule, a Mileage Standard Reduction, and recently his administration did state an increased Cost of Carbon Calculation.  However, allowing coal and oil fired power plants to operate at their present level of carbon emissions is unconscionable.  These plants, both existing and on the drawing boards, emit more carbon than even the filthy tar sands that Canadians want to pipe across America.   Their power plant emissions literally make people sick—with lung disease, mercury poisoning, cancers, asthma, and more.  And the carbon dioxide they put into the atmosphere is making our planet sick.  The climate chaos that results from our fevered earth is starting to wreak economic devastation as governments here and around the world try to come up with the funds to pay for the excess wildfires, floods, and submerged subway tunnels as well as food shortages from droughts. Therefore, with great regret (for they hold out great hope for this President), the people are bringing this suit.  The charges are:  Reckless Endangerment and Risking & Causing a Catastrophe. I don't think I need to elaborate on the threat to civilization that will result from a failure to curb our carbon dioxide emissions.  Suffice it to say that the “catastrophe” referred to includes droughts in Russia, in many countries in Africa, and in the Midwest breadbasket of the US; floods in Pakistan, Germany, and the Mississippi River vicinity of the US; record high temperatures in many locales; rising sea levels; melting glaciers and Antarctic ice shelves; the spread of malaria, West Nile virus, and dengue fever; and much more.  A friend of the court brief is also hereby submitted by the People of Bangladesh and the People of the Maldive Islands charging untold millions of counts of Involuntary Manslaughter in the expected deaths of many of their citizens in the widely assumed rise in sea levels of up to several meters by the year 2100.  That summarizes our case, Your Honor. 
JUDGE:  What say you in response to these charges, Mr. President? 
PRES. OBAMA:  Your Honor, inasmuch as I am a Professor of Constitutional Law, I would like to represent myself in this matter, with your indulgence. 
JUDGE:  Certainly, certainly.  How do you plead, Mr. President? 
PRES. OBAMA:  I plead No Contest, Nolo Contendere.  I am not guilty, nor am I innocent.  I admit to using language to obfuscate the issue and hide my lack of action.  I've been told that I have the gift of fine speech-making.  That's how I got where I am. (charming smile)  To expect me to be able to move mountains, though, that's asking a lot.  The coal companies can do it, but I don't know how. Do you have any idea how obstinate those Republicans can be?  And how persuasive the big money from the oil, coal and gas industries?  How am I to move forward to stop climate change when those industries are busy persuading Congress and the American people that we don't have a problem?  The American Legislative Exchange Council and the Koch brothers have a disinformation budget larger than, I don't know, the CIA and the National Security Administration put together, most likely.  And their money is far, far more than the alternative energy budget, which is so small, I can't even find it in the spread-sheets.  My hands are tied.  Sir, I'm glad the People of the United States have brought this suit.  If they win, it will force me to do what I know is right on this Carbon Standard.

No comments:

Post a Comment