The news that Volkswagen intentionally faked emissions testing for years has sparked international outrage and demands for accountability.
But there is an even bigger fraud under way, one with far graver consequences than 11 million diesel cars spewing emissions well above their advertised levels. It’s the false notion that climate change is unrelated to manmade greenhouse gases. This deception is not hidden in a software design. It’s openly proclaimed by power brokers like Oklahoma’s Senator Inhofe, who calls global warming a hoax, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has declared war on the EPA’s attempts to curtail coal-fired-plant emissions. Too many other politicians also fall in line with the vested interests of big donors like the Koch brothers and major oil corporations. Only a few of the Republican presidential contenders even admit that manmade emissions contribute to climate change. Besides denial, their favored response to the biggest challenge facing our planet is to duck the issue altogether.
Meanwhile, more than 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activities are driving climate change. Only in America is such well-established science routinely open to debate. Residents and leaders of most other countries may disagree on what to do about the threat, but at least they acknowledge it exists.
Rising sea levels, more intense storms and droughts, the spread of tropical diseases, famine, and global unrest may escalate beyond control if we don’t act quickly.
Unlike the Volkswagon deception, climate fraud is obvious to all who bother to look. If we reward the deniers with our silence or our votes, we help perpetrate the fraud.
Fortunately, awareness of the danger is finally taking hold in the consciousness of most Americans, if not the leaders of the Republican Party. Let’s harness the outrage and demand for accountability VW so richly deserves, and apply it equally to those who fiddle while our planet burns.