One of the greatest crises of our time is climate change, which threatens to create food shortages (as the Russians learned this summer), change geography, eradicate entire eco-systems and even wipe out cities and towns in coastal areas. (NOTE: If you are an anti-science know-nothing, don’t bother to comment. The clear scientific consensus indicates a warming climate caused by human activity.)
But we’ve reached the odd and depressing point in American politics where not a single Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate supports aggressive action to mitigate climate change. The last science literate, Delaware Congressman Mike Castle, was defeated by tea party favorite Christine O’Donnell.
The blog Think Progress did a survey of GOP Senate candidates, and it found that even those who had previously supported policies that would curb carbon emissions have backed away, fearing a backlash from their know-nothing constituents.
Many others have simply chosen to be ignorant anti-science flat-earthers. Alaska’s Joe Miller, who defeated incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary, is an example of the latter category. He told an Alaska newspaper,
“We haven’t heard there’s man-made global warming.” [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 8/23/10]
Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson is in the more sophisticated category, too smart to deny the science outright but unwilling to buck a tide of flat-earth voters and selfish businesses that don’t want to change their ways. This was Isakson’s response, according to Think Progress:
Science has shown us that there has been a gradual warming of the earth over the last 50 years. What is not as clear is whether the cause for this warming is man-made emissions, a cyclical warming of the planet, or a combination of both. Given the uncertainty in the science behind climate change, I believe that we should take proactive steps, both personally and as a nation, to reduce our emissions. footprint.
Interestingly, though, Isakson doesn’t support any “proactive measures” to combat climate change.
The current GOP represents a step backward from the Bush administration, which acknowledged the threat of climate change. In 2007, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the US was “a major emitter” and was not “above the international community on the issue.” She also said that “all nations should tackle” the “growing problem” of climate change. (h/t The New Civil Rights Movement)