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Congress: Stop Denying An Inconvenient Truth

June 17th, 2011

(This blog by film producer Lawrence Bender was first posted on Huffington Post. Bender produced Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, among other films by Tarantino.)

Lawrence Bender, Film Producer

Wednesday night, I was honored at the National Wildlife Federation’s Voices for Wildlife gala.

I salute the National Wildlife Federation for its 75 years of tireless effort to help save our wildlife, their habitat, and to fight global warming. They worked with Vice President Gore’s Climate Project, an effort to train thousands to share his message with the public. Since 2006, fellow activists have delivered more than 70,000 presentations reaching a global audience of more than 7.3 million people. The message was clear: the urgency and solvability of climate change is real.

I’m particularly proud to have worked alongside NWF to carry this message to youth through An Inconvenient Truth in the Classroom and a corresponding website, Climate Classroom, designed for teens. Today’s kids will inherit the climate crisis — we must equip them with the knowledge to solve it.

Sadly, the message of An Inconvenient Truth still rings true today: Climate change is real and urgent. It should be addressed now.

Yet Congress is in denial.

The signals become more compelling with each passing day. The film predicted some of the extreme weather events that have become all too common this year across the country. Communities have been battered by: severe flooding, heat waves, fires, droughts, rainfalls, tornadoes and hurricanes. And we are barely into hurricane season.

The climate is sending us a message. Congress seems deaf.

Big Energy, the polluters, spent $1 billion over the past two years on campaigns and slick, high-priced lobbying to perpetuate America’s addictive over-reliance on fossil fuels. Now they are pushing for a 2,000-mile, $14 billion pipeline to splice through five states and ship Canadian crude oil, one of the highest carbon dirty fuels on earth, to Gulf refineries.

Last year, Congress debated, dawdled and dithered. This year is more of the same. The bottom line remains that Congress has still not passed legislation to curb carbon pollution and boost renewable energy solutions.

If inaction weren’t enough of an insult, now some in Congress are trying to disable the Environmental Protection Agency and undermine the Clean Air Act, one of America’s most important public health and environmental laws. And in the never-ending wrangling about cutting the deficit and debt, let’s not forget the apparently sacred tax subsidies Congress gives oil companies, while legislators slash investments in clean energy.

Congress seems immune.

People want action. A May poll conducted by George Mason University found broad public support: 91 percent of Americans say developing sources of clean energy should be a priority for the president and Congress, including 85 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents, and 97 percent of Democrats.

Hello, Congress — the solution is clear: conserve energy, invest in renewable energy, end oil subsidies, and pass climate legislation on a federal level! An Inconvenient Truth brought home the climate change message to millions around the world, but not to Congress. Apparently, Congress thinks it’s inconvenient to act.

So now that fundraising season is in full swing, let’s give our elected leaders an inconvenient truth of their own: Every single one of us must send the strongest message possible to our politicians… that there won’t be a single drop of contribution made until you are certain they will take strong, decisive legislative action to confront the climate crisis.


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