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Senator Stabenow isn’t a climate denier, but she is in denial about her role in perpetuating the Climate Crisis

November 5, 2019

Last month, US Senator Debbie Stabenow released a report entitled, The Climate Crisis and Michigan

While Debbie Stabenow is no climate denier, her recent report reflects a sentiment that the Michigan business community is poised to lead the way to sustainability.

In fact, much of the report is dedicated to how Michigan’s economy is impacted by climate change and how the business community can save us. On page 7, Stabenow notes that transportation in the US is responsible for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions. However, the Senator from Michigan goes on to say that the auto capital of the world “is transforming our transportation fleet.” This is a joke, the auto industry is NOT committed to transforming transportation. Transforming transportation would require that Michigan create a highly efficient mass transit system, which the auto companies will never do.

In the area of renewable energy, Stabenow says that the utility companies have ambitious goals for long-term carbon-reduction. This is also not true and what plans they do have are no where near enough to avoid disaster.

More importantly, under the section on energy, there is NOT ONE WORD about the Enbridge Corporation and Line 5. There is no commitment to ending Line 5, despite the fact that large portions of the population in Michigan don’t want it, including the indigenous communities, which have been leading the fight to shut down Line 5. How can you publish a report on climate change in Michigan and not talk about Enbridge or Line 5?

On the matter of agriculture and climate change, again Stabenow recognizes that the way we grow food contributes significantly to climate change. However, her solution is to allow commercial farmers to engage in “voluntary sustainability practices.” There is no mention that Michigan-based agriculture is primarily a mono-crop system of food production, which is not only problematic for climate, but it perpetuates the need for pesticides. Stabenow also doesn’t advocate for eating within our bioregion. A great deal of what is grown in Michigan travels long distances before it is consumed. We know that the average food items travels 1,000 miles before it is purchased, which means that food-based transportation is completely dependent on fossil fuels.

Essentially what the report on the Climate Crisis in Michigan, a report produced by Stabenow’s staff, does is to reassure the business community that their collective voluntary efforts will not be interfered with and that Michigan’s economy is what is important, without actually having to make any serious changes about capitalism. This report is essentially saying that with some mild adjusts, capitalism will be able to save us.

In addition, it should be mentioned that Senator Stabenow will not endorse the Green New Deal. In a recent MLive article it states: 

Senator Stabenow stated there are good ideas in “The Green New Deal,” a nonbinding resolution introduced in the U.S. House that commits to climate actions supported by progressive Democrats, but she is more focused on specific policies and legislation.

Lastly, Senator Stabenow has consistently voted to approve the US military budget every year since she has been in the Senate. Supporting a bloated US military budget is incompatible with drastically reducing carbon emission, especially since the US military is one of the largest consumers of fossil fuels

We should not be fooled by this recent report from Senator Stabenow on the Climate Crisis. While the Michigan Senator doesn’t deny the existence of Climate Change, she is clearly in denial about her role in perpetuating the climate crisis. This is also just one more example of why we shouldn’t rely on politicians, but put our faith in social movements to make substantive and lasting change.

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