What Does Henry Waxman Know About Climate That Made Him Quit?

Congressman Henry Waxman receiving environmntal award at 2013 Earth Day Celebration, Manhattan Beach (c) Joe Galliani

Congressman Henry Waxman receiving environmental award at 2013 Earth Day Celebration, Manhattan Beach (c) Joe Galliani

When the one guy in all of Congress who understands the latest science on climate change best, the guy who has the most experience and knowledge of the environment and how to get life-changing legislation passed like the clean air act, the clean water act, the laws that forced our government to acknowledge AIDS, not to mention having kicked the tobacco industry’s ass – when that guy announces he’s sticking a fork in it and he’s done – then you have to ask yourself this question –

What does Henry Waxman know about what’s coming next and what our government intends to do about it that made him throw in the towel and quit?

If he thought he had passed the carbon tax or climate bill torch to someone else he was confident would bring it across the finish line he would have said so.

If he thought we were already in great shape and had the plans in place to prevent or respond to the worst of what’s coming he would have mentioned that too.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence at all that Waxman’s announcement came during the same week as the President’s decidedly weak on climate SOTU or the same week the State Department’s report on the XL pipeline’s impact on climate was released.  There are no coincidences when a 20 term Congressmen picks his adios announcement day.

Congressman Waxman in a Tesla, contemplating how fast he could drive away from DC in one of these EVs. (c) Joe Galliani

Congressman Waxman with 66 District Assemblyman Al Muratuschi, in a Tesla Roadster, contemplating how fast he could drive away from DC in one of these EVs. (c) Joe Galliani

I think Henry called “No mas!” because he knows the politics has terminally trumped the science and that there will be no adequate response on climate from our United States government – either from the Congress or from the White House which gave lip service to Waxman but not the kind of support he needed – the kind Obama is happy to approve if it means killing Osama Bin Laden, but not if it means killing his relationship with the fossil fuel industry.

Waxman knows that the Canadian tar sands are game over for the climate. He knows that fracking California just helps put the unneeded nail in the coffin and that our current national orgy of oil production is the climate’s Sodom and Gomorrah.

Waxman knows that the White House isn’t listening to Michael Mann or James Hanson – let alone Al Gore or Bill McKibben. The same way they wouldn’t listen to Steven Chu after they picked him to be their energy expert.

How many times do they have to piss on your leg while telling you it’s raining before you get it?

I think Henry got it and now he won’t be taking it any more.

If I’m wrong then you’ll see Waxman take the lead in the climate hawk community and come out swinging on climate the day his term ends.  If that happens I’ll welcome it and work side by side with him.  350.org would be a good place for him to land.  Plenty of heavy lifting left to do, Henry.

But personally I think at age 74 Henry’s had it.  He doesn’t see any signs that we’re going to go Fossil Free and 100% Renewable Energy in time to prevent a 2+ degree rise in global temperatures and the destiny that brings with it.  And that absence of hope comes from a career in DC and being able to smell the crazy juice being guzzled down by the corporate right and their shameless suckups and sycophants.  

Fair enough, Henry.  Go in peace.  But your friendly neighborhood Greenuis still has plenty of juju and mojo to keep me going for whatever comes next.  I’m in it till I see how it all ends.  

And I’m ALL in.

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2 thoughts on “What Does Henry Waxman Know About Climate That Made Him Quit?

  1. Fabulous blog, Joe! I think you’re right. Congressman Waxman has simply HAD it. Henry Waxman honors truth and has always acted upon that truth. And he has consistently been a Man of Action. But there comes a time when a person grows hoarse from shouting into the wind. Perhaps he is simply sick and tired of the struggle or perhaps Mr. Waxman has something else in mind. Something else where his powerful voice can be better heard above the shrieks and moans of the prevailing winds. Time, as the saying goes, will tell.

    • My hope is that he decides he can be more effective unchained from the constraints of today’s Congress-held-hostage and working with Al Gore or Bill McKibben or Tom Steyer. We need Waxman in the thick of it and not on the sidelines. Not while we still have our one in a million shot. We can’t let the bastards drive our best into the sea. We cannot allow our version of this Wonderful Life to end with Mr. Potter and his bank foreclosing on Jimmy Stewart and his family.

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