GOP takes wrong approach to climate

The idea of a “Green New Deal” has been around for at least 12 years, but never received much attention until it was recently championed by some newly elected congressional Democrats. Once that happened, the reaction was predictable.

Republicans swiftly declared it was the worst idea since putting an egomaniac ... well, in a long time. It was too radical. It would be too expensive. It would cause job losses.

Left unsaid were the facts that doing nothing about the way humanity is changing the Earth’s climate will be more expensive, will cost jobs (and lives), and of course will hit the people who donate millions of dollars to Republicans right in their fossil fuel wallets.

It’s only fair to note that Republicans didn’t just say “No.” They offered plans of their own, although they sounded like satire. President Donald Trump urged automakers to build vehicles with worse mileage performance. He also had his website start selling plastic straws at an inflated price, both to enrich himself and to mock efforts to slightly reduce plastic pollution.

Not to be left out of the GOP “New Brown Deal,” Wisconsin Republicans decided to add $100 a year to the registration fee for hybrid vehicles. (Full disclosure: I bought a used hybrid car several months ago.)

Rather than fund road costs by raising the gasoline tax so all drivers would help pay, or through an additional tax on the commercial trucks that most damage the roads, the GOP chose to put an increased burden on those trying to decrease their personal pollution. Sort of a cigarette-type “sin tax” for going greener.

Where Republicans are concerned, no environmental good deed should go unpunished. So be it. I’ll pay. Unfortunately, if Republicans stay in power, future generations will pay heavily.

Bill Mills

Eau Claire