Thursday, July 30, 2015

All Republican Candidates for President in 2016 Deny Basic Climate Science, Disqualifying Them for the Job

All 17 Republican candidates* for the 2016 presidential nomination deny the most basic climate science. Think about that. Every single Republican candidate for the highest political office in the United States has chosen to deny the very existence of unequivocal science. When they even bother to acknowledge the science at all they state that they have no intention of taking action on it, and in fact are likely to backtrack on action already taken.

Some of the more flagrantly dishonest and delusional candidates go so far as to claim that 100+ years of published science and all the world's climate scientists and organizations - and even physics - is part of a conspiracy to "tax us all into oblivion" or "make Al Gore rich" or "institute the U.N.'s Agenda 21" to "take over the world." [Cue Dr. Evil!]

Yes, these are the people who are running to be our next president. And these are the ones with the most support. It used to be this kind of dishonesty and looney tune conspiracy nonsense would be limited to the "crazies" in the far out wings of the party. Now they are the party. The Republican Party.

By choosing to lie to the American people so egregiously, they disqualify themselves for the job they are seeking. Every single one of them.

Their reasons for denying all of the science are varied. Some are simply indebted to the fossil fuel industry. Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz have all been summoned to a dog-and-pony show put on by the billionaire Koch brothers. The Kochs are infamous for financing much of the climate denial lobbying and misinformation campaigns that create the falsehoods the Republican candidates so often pantomime to the public. These same Kochs, one the former Libertarian nominee for Vice President, also run a network of libertarian and right wing "think tanks" (i.e., lobbying shops) that largely overlap with their climate denial network.

Other Republican candidates almost seem like they want to acknowledge the science but are simply afraid to be honest with their constituents. Ironically, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio's home state of Florida is likely to lose more of its land surface to sea water rise than any other U.S. state in the current century (Bobby Jindal's Louisiana may be a close second.) Other candidates are just plain buffoonish, focusing instead on appealing to the most bigoted wing of the Republican party, a wing that has grown larger as the constituency of the party has grown smaller.

Even if a Republican candidate for president were to acknowledge the science and suggest policy options, a continuing Republican-controlled Congress would not let that candidate achieve any progress with respect to climate.

And progress is necessary. Action is necessary. Last year (2014) had the hottest global warming on record, and 2015 is already poised to surpass it. President Obama has been working hard during the last few years to lead the world into a meaningful global climate change agreement to be signed in December 2015. Other large contributors to climate change like China, India, Brazil, and Europe have, along with the United States, committed to carbon reduction goals. The United States and many other countries in the world have been advancing into renewable technologies that will be, and already are, driving economic development. Even the Vatican has acknowledged the science, as have every other religious, scientific, cultural, political, and community organizations.

To deny a problem, and turn back economic progress - American leadership, innovation, and jobs - based on a political fear of being honest with their own constituents, patently disqualifies any Republican candidate from the presidency.

An Open Letter to the 2016 Presidential Hopefuls re: Climate Change

* Or whatever the number there are at the time you read this since another one seems to announce every few days. Technically, one Republican candidate, Lindsay Graham, does acknowledge climate science. He has been polling last of all the candidates, with less than 1% of the likely Republican voters supporting him. That in itself demonstrates how little regard for science the Republican party exhibits. More information on Republican positions can be found here.