Last updated on November 16, 2020
From The Intercept:
IF SEN. DAVID PERDUE wins reelection in Georgia’s runoff in January, the Republican Party will almost certainly maintain its Senate majority. Perdue, an outspoken climate denier, urged President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords; voted against a Senate resolution that affirmed that climate change is real and that human activities contribute to it; and dismissed the Green New Deal as a “socialist wish list.” The one-term senator, who is a first cousin of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and golfing buddy of Trump, also vowed to protect the coal industry and was endorsed by the Koch-affiliated Super PAC, Americans for Prosperity. If Perdue wins, the potential for the Biden administration to respond to the global climate crisis will be greatly diminished.
But even while Perdue publicly rejects the scientific consensus about climate change, the Georgia senator and former CEO of Dollar General is part of a gated beachfront community that has taken the global phenomenon and its consequences extremely seriously. Perdue owns a more than 9,000 square-foot mansion with six bathrooms, arched doorways, and a pool on Sea Island, a gated community on St. Simons Island, the wealthiest ZIP code in the state. Over the past few years, as sea-level rise has accelerated, the Sea Island Company, which owns the island resort, has constructed an elaborate and expensive system of jetties and sea walls in an effort to protect the lavish homes there. According to his federal disclosure forms, Perdue’s net worth is somewhere between $13.7 million and $39.8 million.
Although it is just steps from the water in an area of Sea Island known as Ocean Forest, Perdue’s home — and the entire community — has been protected from the ravages of the quickly changing climate, giving the senator the privilege of dismissing the phenomenon even as his home is carefully girded against it. The Sea Island Company has built a sea wall, as well as three jetties, that combat beach erosion. And the company regularly collects massive amounts of sand from the southern jetty and redistributes it to other beaches along the island.
Jeff Schoenberg, chair of Georgia’s chapter of the Sierra Club, America’s oldest grassroots environmental organisation, told The Independent: “We're not surprised David Perdue is again putting himself above Georgians.“After all, this is the same person who was all too happy to hide the Covid crisis from us while he was busy lining his pockets. Enough is enough. Georgians deserve a senator that doesn't put their personal interests above our own.”
The sea level is up to 11 inches higher than in 1950 off Georgia, leaving coastal real estate increasingly vulnerable to tidal flooding with some 40,000 homes worth $13bn at risk, according to a 2018 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
And climate change is not only impacting the peach state’s coastline. The last federal National Climate Assessment found that in the southeast “increasing temperatures, extreme heat events, heavy precipitation, and decreased water availability continue to have numerous consequences for human health, the built environment, and the natural world”.
Ossoff, the CEO of a small London-based documentary production company called “Insight: The World Investigates,” like a lot of other Democrats, addresses climate change through the lens of jobs and the economy. He's said Georgia needs to rebuild from the “wreckage” caused by the coronavirus pandemic and has promised to reverse the Trump administration's rollbacks of fuel economy standards and clean air and water regulations, and then work to strengthen those rules.
Ossoff's climate message has a chance of resonating because of Georgia's changing demographics, as more Blacks and young people have moved to the Atlanta region, bringing with them more liberal viewpoints.
Craig Auster, senior director of political affairs for the League of Conservation Voters, said Ossoff, who has the LCV Action Fund endorsement, “is really committed to climate change issues and moving toward clean energy.”
The conservation voters group gives Perdue a lifetime environmental voting score of 3 percent, and Auster said, “There are very few issues where he has done the right thing. Sen. Perdue has spent his time in D.C. pretty consistently voting against our environment and against climate action.”
Fellow Climate Hawks, we have to turn out the base to help Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock (D. GA) win both these races in order to get a Senate Majority to address climate change. Ossoff and Warnock have been running together as the dynamic duo. Now Perdue and U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler (R. GA) are trying to run as the ticket that will stop President-Elect Joe Biden from doingn anything about climate change:
After running different styles of campaigns, Perdue and Loeffler are heading into the January 5 runoffs with a new tactic to try to keep the Senate in GOP hands: joining forces and presenting themselves to Georgia voters as a unity ticket.
The senators are walking a fine line with their message, careful not to contradict President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede defeat. But the subtext is clear: Joe Biden will be president and advance a progressive agenda — but only if Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win the two Georgia Senate seats that would give their party control of the Senate.
“We have a battle on our hands right now, folks. It’s going to be a long one. We are the firewall. Not just for the Senate, but the future of our country,” Loeffler told a packed crowd at the Black Diamond Grill, appearing with Perdue and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. “We will be your voice in Washington if you’re our voice on January 5.”
The unified front by the two senators is an attempt to stir up the Republican base after Trump's shocking defeat in this historically conservative state. It carries some risks, particularly for Perdue, who has worked harder than Loeffler to appeal to swing voters.
Perdue said he expects the election to be about base turnout.
The runoff elections are on January 5th. We need to our base to vote Democrat all the way on the ballot. Click below to donate and get involved with Ossoff and Warnock’s campaigns and these Georgia Democratic groups:
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