Climate change is a topic that seems to come up in almost every conversation, especially for presidential hopefuls looking for ways to appeal to potential voters. This is especially true since the sudden popularity of young climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose passionate “How dare you” phrase has gripped extreme environmentalists and whipped them into a frenzy. Now, in a new bid to punish those who don’t conform and continue to endanger the earth, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has introduced legislation to penalize foreign countries as well.
In a press release, Markey said:
“As we fight to enact a Green New Deal here at home, we must use all of the tools of our foreign policy to exchange the behavior of companies and individuals most responsible for exacerbating the climate crisis. Climate change ahs disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable communities around the world, and targeted measures to deter recklessness climate pollution would help ensure that urgent efforts to mitigate climate risk do not worsen global inequality. This legislation would bring us closer to a complete U.S. global strategy that matches the magnitude of the climate crisis.”
Markey’s “Targeting Environmental and Climate Recklessness Act of 2019” aims to ban trade or impose other penalties for not complying with green environmental protections. As co-author of the Green New Deal, along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the senator would like to expand the 2012 Magnitsky Act which allows the U.S. government to ban trade and even seize property from people and entities that are violating human rights. “Because the United States already restricts financial access for foreign individuals and companies involved in unacceptable behavior including cybercrime, corruption, and wildlife trafficking , the same foreign policy tool should be one part of our comprehensive efforts to reduce the existential risk posed by climate change,” the press release stated.
Markey introduced the 19-page legislation on Sept. 27, referring to it as a humanitarian program. The Green New Deal was a complete flop because of its vagueness and high cost. The opposition claim the environment is not in as serious of trouble as the other side warns. Despite other beliefs, Katie Redford, Director of EarthRights International had some strong words:
“The United States is the world’s largest climate offender, and as Senator Markey has recognized, our first priority needs to be addressing our own emissions and providing a just transition to a low-carbon economy. But we also need to make sure that progress here is not undermined by reckless actions of corporations around the world that continue to profit from exacerbating the climate crisis.”
Apparently, the U.S. will now become the world’s watchdog on everything climate, from natural gas to oil rigs and logging in rain forests. Senior Legal Advisor for Global Witness’ Zorka Milin said, “This bill sends a signal to investors that companies that recklessly damage the environment and climate will no longer be welcome in the U.S. financial system.”
True, the bill sends a signal all right, but what kind? Who will be the authority to choose which companies or individuals should be punished? Will this become another political ploy to penalize those whom don’t carry favor with the officials in charge while others can wax the greedy palms to stay in good graces? Time, as they say, will tell.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.