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