“You can’t preach temperance from a barstool.”

By Dan Drollette Jr | May 17, 2019

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Some of the most interesting things being said about climate change are not actually coming from any of the current presidential candidates, who number 23 (and counting) on the Democratic side, and two on the Republican side.

While he may not be running for president, seventy-something year-old Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass), has been coming up with some memorable lines while pounding the trail to drum up public support for the Green New Deal—which he co-sponsored with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

Markey certainly has taken the effort to promote the Green New Deal resolution to heart, much like his campaign in the 1980s to draw attention to the Nuclear Freeze resolution—which he introduced to the US House of Representatives in 1982. The New Yorker’s James Carroll, for one, sees a lot of parallels between the Green New Deal resolution now and the Nuclear Freeze resolution then, as well as many parallels between brand-new representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the young Ed Markey of the 1980s. (See Carroll’s article, “Why Ed Markey, The Co-Sponsor of the Green New Deal, May Be Hopeful For Its Chances.”)

If nothing else, having been around this turf before, Markey knows how to phrase things to capture the interest of a crowd—a vital skill when it comes to something as arcane as a House resolution. And he’s come up with some memorable lines. According to The Harvard Gazette, when giving a speech at Harvard University on the future of energy, Markey noted that when it comes to cutting carbon emissions, you can’t tell other countries to do what you are not willing to do yourself. He summed it up as: “Most of the carbon dioxide [already in the atmosphere] is red, white, and blue carbon dioxide… They look at us and say, ‘Where’s your plan? What are you going to do?’ … You can’t preach temperance from a barstool.”

Does ‘net zero’ mean zero cows?


Publication Name: The Harvard Gazette
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