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Will Climate Deniers in Congress Seek to “Outlaw” Global Warming?

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Congress sees no risk from climate changeThe Weekly Mulch from the Media Consortium
by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger (reposted with permission)

Climate Deniers Set to Freeze Progress in Congress

A chill is coming to Washington. A wave of climate change deniers were elected to office this week, and come January, we can expect a freeze in all reasonable and productive discussion about the fate of the planet.

Last year, the political discussion about climate change and carbon regulation was complicated and bogged down, but at least it was happening.

Who are the deniers?

Grist has pulled together a list of the climate deniers headed into power in the Senate. “Overall, the Senate next year will be more hostile to climate action than ever before,” the site’s staff says.

If these climate-denying legislators came from deeply red states, Tuesday’s results might not be so shocking. But many of them represent swing states, or states that might be red in presidential contests, but that have previously elected Democrats to Congress.

Farewell, moderation

These latter states include North Dakota, whose new senator, John Hoeven, made Grist’s list, and Indiana. Also on the list are Marco Rubio, from Florida, Kelly Ayotte, from New Hampshire, and Pat Toomey, from Pennsylvania.

Perhaps most disheartening is the replacement of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) with Senator-Elect Ron Johnson. Johnson is to the right of the independent-minded Feingold on a host of issues, but as Mother JonesAndy Kroll writes, “What landed Johnson in headlines earlier this year was his claim that climate change wasn’t created by humans but instead was the result of ‘sunspot activity.’

The new climate “science”

Sunspot activity is just one explanation that newly elected Republicans have grabbed onto to explain the very real phenomenon of climate change. Care2′s Beth Buczynski has rounded up a few choice quotes from these new leaders:

“With the possible exception of Tiger Woods, nothing has had a worse year than global warming. We have discovered that a good portion of the science used to justify “climate change” was a hoax perpetrated by leftist ideologues with an agenda.” —Todd Young, new congressperson from Indiana

“There isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth.” —Roy Blunt, new senator from Missouri

There are more where these came from.

In denial

What does this shift mean? In short, that the United States and our environmental policies will be limping forward and falling behind the rest of the world as international communities try to deal with climate change. As Brian Merchant writes at AlterNet:

“…the current crop of GOP politicians have adopted a somewhat united ideological front opposing not only climate legislation, but the general notion of climate science itself. Nowhere else in the world has a leading political party availed itself of a position so directly in opposition to science — indeed, today’s GOP is the only party in the world that incorporates climate change denial as part of its political platform.”

On the domestic front, writes The Washington Independent’s Andrew Restuccia, that means that even unambitious legislation, like the renewable energy standard, stands little chance of passing. As it’s currently written, the renewable energy standard would require a certain percentage of the country’s electricity to come from renewable sources. In reality, it would not even push clean energy production to grow faster than market forces alone would. The main purpose of passing a standard would be to signal to clean energy investors that the government supports their work.

In other words, in the current legislative climate, our leaders wouldn’t even get behind legislation that is just a sign of support for clean energy and the jobs it would create.

Zombie Climategate

Instead, the House’s leadership plans on spending its time staging a show trial of climate science. The chief executor of this strategy will be Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is set to become chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Change.org’s Jess Leber explains:

“From his new position, the former car-alarm company owner plans to raise false alarm about climate conspiracy theories. As Nikki Gloudeman wrote, just a few weeks ago Issa vowed to make investigating “Climategate”—the climate pseudo-scandal that’s already died 1,000 deaths—a top oversight priority should he win the committee.”

In theory, Issa would be investigating a series of emails, sent by British climate scientists. Climate skeptics argue the emails prove that scientists are falsifying evidence of climate change. Extensive investigations have already debunked those claims.

In short, environmental leader Bill McKibben had the right idea back in September. Anyone who’s interested in advocating for climate change action in this country would do well to stop trying to convince Congress to do its job. Our leaders won’t be listening.

The best path forward may be to start convincing the American people, in the hope that, two years from now, they’ll vote for candidates who have a clue.

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This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

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Comments

    • Well, there are plenty of idiots about global warming Bob.
      Since you\’ve obviously studied this issue beyond the Fox News disinformation machine, looked at the data, talked with scientists, read the pros and cons with an open mind, I appreciate your articulate analysis.

      You really believe climate science is a “fraud?” – Then you, sir, are the idiot.

      • Yes, it IS a fraud, and is well understood by those with the intellectual honesty to look at the facts.

        Facts like fraud after fraud after fraud: The Hockey Stick, Yamal, Upside-down Tijlander, Graybill, Sheep Mountain, Short Centered Principle Components Analysis, Hide the Decline, Gleickgate, GlacierGate, etc. etc. The reason of course is that your “climate scientists” are not real scientists. Real scientists follow the Scientific Method and allow independent verification of their work. But the IPCC fanatics REFUSE to do so – their data, algorithms, codes, etc are kept secret – because they are engaging in fraud.

        But to the leftists cretins who promote Immminent-Global-Catastrophe-Whose-Only-Solution-Is-State-Socialism, little things like facts, honesty, and the requirements of the Scientific Method are the enemy.

        Which is why engaging in honest debate is beyond them, so instead you claim that those of us who actually understand the issues are the same as Holocaust Deniers. All you have to argue with is hate, lies, and slander.

        Where is the actual scientific evidence that the Earth’s climate is dynamically unstable? Do you even know what is meant by “positive feedback”? Where is the actual scientific evidence that the Earth’s temperature is outside the natural variablity demonstrated during the Holocene? There isn’t any.

        • The irony is you claim some sort of “intelectual” honesty and then speel off one fallacy after another in a desperate attempt to deny the plethora of scientific evidence. Do you have the honesty to look at your preconceived notions? You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about, which is sadly not surprising – but could you really look into the “hockey stick” (as if that where the sole basis of the science) or how the IPCC works (which by your comments exposes total ignorance). Then, almost laughably, you throw off a term like “positive feedback” I guess in an attempt to intimidate someone. You have no idea what you’re talking about or who you’re talking to. You’re knowledge and arguments are weak, despite what you may have read at WattsUpWithThat or heard on Fox News. If you want to engage in a conversation about your questions and concerns about climate science and policy, get off your ridiculous, foolish soapbox. We have no issue with answering questions and addressing doubt – but, based on your comments here, you’re far beyond considerate conversation. You claim you have intellectual honesty – it’s time you show it.

  1. I find in reading those sites that say that climate problems are a myth that their evidence is very sparse and inconclusive. Recently I read Book 1 of the free e-book series “In Search of Utopia” (http://andgulliverreturns.info), it blasts their lack of evidence relative to several myths. The book, actually the last half of the book, takes on the skeptics in global warming, overpopulation, lack of fresh water, lack of food, and other areas where people deny the evidence. I strongly suggest that anyone wanting to see the whole picture read the book, at least the last half. There is also up to date information at:http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462-climate-change-a-guide-for-the-perplexed.html

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