If there was one metaphor for the risk to U.S. leadership at the Aug. 26 G-7 meeting, it came in the form of an empty chair.
Scheduled to sit for a climate meeting, the president was noticeably absent.
In the past, the United States has prided itself on global leadership. Yet, during the defining challenge of our time, none was to be found at this forum, and U.S. leadership has waned since it pulled out of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.
It has become clear that if the United States does not lead on this issue, other nations will.
Intermediate-term solutions to the climate crisis, such as imposing a carbon production tax, are designed to drive innovation and new technology.
From a purely selfish argument, it will be these nations that reap the economic benefits such as offshore wind, energy storage and advanced nuclear power.
This is already happening in the United Kingdom and Germany with the expansion of offshore wind, and in India, with large investments in solar power and with multinational investments in next-generation nuclear power.
But when there is a vacuum in leadership at the top, it can be filled by action at the community level.
Many U.S. cities have individually committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Some states have committed to the Clean Power Plan, even the complete decarbonization of energy production by 2050.
A bill in the U.S. House, The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, is worthy of support. We must be proactive at the state and city level to ensure our communities aren’t empty seats at the table.
Sam Rittenberg Boulevard
Red flag laws
In a recent nationally televised interview, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina assured the citizenry that firearm owners had nothing to fear from proposed red flag laws, which are ostensibly aimed at reducing gun violence.
That’s because U.S. law enforcement and legal authorities entrusted with administering such law would be required to strictly adhere to privacy laws and due process rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
My question for Sen. Graham is, does he make that assertion with the same absolute moral, legal and ethical certitude that was invoked to guarantee the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) could never be used by U.S. law enforcement, intelligence and legal entities to infringe upon the rights of citizens, presidential advisers, Cabinet members or even the president himself by illegally spying on and prosecuting those individuals?
Forgive me, if in light of recent events, I don’t share Graham’s certitude and confidence that our rights under red flag laws would be staunchly protected by those much-vaunted authorities, a significant number of whom Graham has famously and publicly excoriated for alleged FISA-related abuses.
Fed admits to bias
The Federal Reserve is supposed to be an independent body, setting monetary policy to maximize the country’s employment and stabilize prices. Unfortunately, Bill Dudley, the former head of the powerful New York Fed, recently made statements showing the Federal Reserve’s political bias.
President Donald Trump has vociferously urged the Fed to more rapidly lower interest rates to levels that existed during the Obama presidency while Dudley was a voting member of the board.
The president wants the Fed to support the economy while tariffs on China imports are in effect. Dudley recently suggested that the Fed should do what it takes to make sure that President Trump does not get reelected, which is definitely not in the Fed’s mandate.
Strangely, Dudley never spoke up against President Obama and Congress when they were amassing national debt faster and in larger amounts than any dollar consequences of Trump’s tariffs.
Even if our economy lost $500 billion for the next 10 years due to tariffs, that would only amount to $5 trillion.
Somehow the former Fed president has now gotten religion, or could it be that the Federal Reserve truly is a politically biased institution that can pull the economic levers of the country to support whatever direction the members want it to go?
Bishop Gadsden Way
An Aug. 28 Post and Courier letter to the editor bemoaned the political correctness that changed “manhole” to “maintenance hole.” We will know that the apocalypse has arrived when women over 50 begin to refer to “menopause” as “peopleopause.”
FRANK L. CLOUTIER
Coopers Hawk Drive