Op-ed: New Republicans show ignorance on global warming

Public statements show complete lack of understanding, or worse, a deliberate attempt to mislead the American public

Things are heating up all over, but it's warmest of all in the hall of Congress, where incoming Republicans have added to global warming with their hot-air rhetoric on climate change.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Nearly every day scientists release new reports  adding to the huge mountain of scientific evidence that the Earth is growing warmer at a rate that is causing serious problems for humanity.

Here in the Colorado high country, we’re already living with the legacy of warming, as pine beetles have altered the forest landscape on an almost unimaginable scale in just a few short years. Other studies show how quickly glaciers are melting away, how parts of the planet — including the desert Southwest — will probably face intensified cycles of drought in coming decades.

All of this apparently is voodoo to some of the newly elected Republican members of Congress, who dismiss the science without even making an attempt to understand it. Here’s what incoming Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt had to say:

“There isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth.”

And incoming Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican added this:

“It’s a bigger issue, we need to watch ’em. Not only because it may or may not be true, but they’re making up their facts to fit their conclusions. They’ve already caught ’em doing this.”

This is the general tone of the some of the discourse in what is supposed to be our highest deliberative body. The Union of Concerned Scientists recently issued a statement on the election, describing the political climate:

“Party leaders and rank-and-file members could help improve public understanding of climate science by discouraging baseless attacks on climate research and climate scientists. Such harassment wastes scientists’ time, squanders congressional resources, and distracts members from dealing with the consequences of climate change that are already happening. The public would be better served by policymakers who focus on the merits of various energy and climate policy proposals.”

Beyond that, the Republican leadership has even announced it will try to turn back the clock on the small bit of progress that has been made in addressing climate change by challenging the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Other Republicans, including Rep. Darrell Issa, of California, have said they want to hold hearings and call climate scientists to testify about the worn-out issue of hacked e-mails that supposedly cast doubt on some scientific global warming findings in the UK.

Those hearings should be held. Allowing some of the brightest and most dedicated scientists in the world to speak in Congress would shine a bright spotlight on the ignorance and deliberate lies being used by so-called political leaders to try and confuse the American public.

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5 thoughts on “Op-ed: New Republicans show ignorance on global warming

  1. Bob – you are a great photographer…sometimes a good writer too – however your drone like believe in the GW hoax – tips your hand…

    You’ve seen (read?) the recent data from England. Scientists joining the world wide hoax – in order to get FUNDING for their special interest pet projects…

    The process of climate change our planet has been (and is) going through will continue for thousands of years more..It’s an ongoing process…sometimes warmer…sometimes colder…

    Where is your study of the amount of heat, light, radiation that his coming from the Sun – over thousands of years…think the Suns output is linear?

    Or forgot – that doesn’t jive with your current belief system….

    Time to wake up Bob.

    1. Wow, a global conspiracy to perpetuate the global warming ‘hoax.’

      How original … where’s the proof? There’s certainly plenty of empirical, peer-reviewed scientific evidence showing that greenhouse gases are heating the planet well beyond the influence of natural factors.

  2. I think the most disgusting quote on climate change came from David Koch when he told New York Magazine that global warming could be “good for the planet,” as it will will prolong the growing season. Can people honestly think that?!?!

    1. Hola Emily – there’s a great list of quotes floating around out there. The depth of the ignorance is breathtaking. You should look at the Jone 2010 issue of Nat Geo w a cover story on Greenland. Definitely a faction in that country that is “pro” global warming.

  3. I am dismayed by the stubborn ignorance of GW deniers. Rand Paul’s assertion against climate change science: “…they’re making up their facts to fit their conclusions” applies even more to deniers. They cherry pick their “information” to support their preformed conclusions and turn their heads to the increasing body of evidence that states otherwise.

    Rush Limbaugh in the early 90’s trumpeted his attack on the environmentalists by declaring that volcanoes spewed more greenhouse gas than human industry, implying that basically the earth “can handle it.” His statement was not even close to true, yet today more Americans listen to this demagogue than they do to our best scientific minds.

    The enormous sums of money behind the political attacks on the science has poisoned the dialogue and infused the debate with misinformation and disinformation. The grant money backing the science cannot match the attacks blow-for-blow. It’s an unfortunate reality.

    America deserves better. If we cannot value intellect and science over demagoguery, our country faces dark times ahead.

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