Former vice president and environmental advocate Al Gore blasted the choice of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to give the Republican response to the State of the Union address as “dangerous” and “pitiful.”
Speaking at a town hall-style Q&A session … broadcast on SiriusXM radio Thursday, Gore took the Republican Party to task for having Rubio, who has stated his disbelief in man-made climate change many times in the past, respond to President Barack Obama’s address.
“For them to put on a response to this constitutionally mandated State of the Union address and have it come from somebody who says that global warming isn’t real is pitiful really,” said Gore, responding to a question from host Ari Rabin-Havt on how the American people should contrast Obama’s call for action to combat climate change with Rubio’s response.
“Both of our major political parties [need] to operate on the basis of fact and not be told what’s acceptable to believe by big polluters,” Gore said. “It is extremely dangerous.” […]
“The solution to climate change is energy policy and the opportunities of energy policy so vastly outweigh the downsides that you’re expressing concern about. And I will spend a lot of time trying to persuade you and other colleagues of this. You want to do business and do it well in America? We have got to get into the energy race… I will be a passionate advocate about this, but not based on ideology, based on facts, based on science.”
— Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in response to Senator John Barrasso’s (R-WY) question concerning the economic effects of climate change legislation.
Among the truly bizarre aspects of this situation, one stands out: thanks in part to a long-term climate-change-denial campaign, well-funded by the giant energy companies, the subject has become ‘political.’ The idea that it is a liberal or left-wing ‘issue,’ rather than a global reality that must be dealt with, is now deeply embedded. And yet there may never have been a more basic conservative issue (at least in the older sense of the term): the preserving, above all else, of what is already most valuable in our lives. And what qualifies more for that than the health of the planet on which humanity ‘grew up’? The phrase ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ seems to catch something of the essence of this post-election moment — and it has special meaning when the fiddlers turn out to be slipping matches to the arsonists.
The Senate hearing on climate science this Wednesday, unsurprisingly enough, appears to have changed little with respect to the politics of climate change on Capitol Hill. Indeed, a significant portion of the discussion was dominated by debate over Dr. John Christy’s particular brand of denialism, a well-trod debate.
Nonetheless, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) was more than surprised when informed by Senator Barbara Boxer that roughly 98 percent of climate scientists, contra Christy, accepted that anthropogenic warming was real and serious — he was outraged:
Sessions: Madam Chairman, I am offended by that, I’m offended by that — I didn’t say anything about the scientists. I said the data shows [sic] it is not warming to the degree that a lot of people predicted, not close to that much…
Boxer: The conclusion that you’re coming to is shared by 1-2 percent of the scientists. You shouldn’t be offended by that. That’s the fact.
Sessions: I don’t believe that’s correct.
While these denialists debated the Committee’s Democrats on the role of climate change in fueling the current devastating drought, the best available science suggested that the current troubles are some of the earliest signs of a “dust-bowlification” of the United States as a consequence of global warming.
Virginia’s legislature commissioned a $50,000 study to determine the impacts of climate change on the state’s shores. To greenlight the project, they omitted words like “climate change” and “sea level rise” from the study’s description itself. According to the House of Delegates sponsor of the study, these are “liberal code words,” even though they are noncontroversial in the climate science community.
Instead of using climate change, sea level rise, and global warming, the study uses terms like “coastal resiliency” and “recurrent flooding.” Republican State Delegate Chris Stolle, who steered the legislation, cut “sea level rise” from the draft. Stolle has also said the “jury’s still out” on humans’ impact on global warming:
State Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who insisted on changing the “sea level rise” study in the General Assembly to one on “recurrent flooding,” said he wants to get political speech out of the mix altogether.
He said “sea level rise” is a “left-wing term” that conjures up animosities on the right. So why bring it into the equation?
“What people care about is the floodwater coming through their door,” Stolle said. “Let’s focus on that. Let’s study that. So that’s what I wanted us to call it.”
What we knew about climate change in 1982. Fantastic video by Peter Sinclair, who runs Climate Crocks - a fantastic blog that debunks climate deniers. I love when he calls out newspapers and journalists on their bullshit reporting.
Anyway, this video shows that the core problem of climate change - the effects of manmade CO2 - hasn’t changed much since the 1950s (or earlier).
Excellent video. If you don’t have time to watch it now, then save it for later.
He looked like a former linebacker, tall and solidly built. After stowing his wife’s luggage in the overhead, he squeezed past me, sat down and looked straight at the astronomy textbook I was reading. “You’re a scientist?” he asked. “Are you involved in that big controversy over climate?”
I looked into his face and could see he wasn’t angry or hostile or combative. He seemed like a good guy and, by the way his wife gently rolled her eyes, I could see he liked to talk. So I took a chance and replied.
What followed was a long conversation, 30,000 feet above the American West, about a great and dangerous gap. On the one hand we spoke of science and what it looks like on the ground to those who practice it. On the other hand we waded knee-deep into the wreckage that is science in the sphere of politics.
From my seatmate’s perspective the field of climate studies must be awash in controversy. Was the planet warming, or not?
Big news! For weeks, the Discovery Channel refused to show the stunning conclusions of its own Frozen Planet documentary series that showed the devastating effects that climate change has had on the North and South Poles — and the danger it portends for the rest of the planet.
It’s another sign that something different is happening all over the world. Every day, people are taking a stand on local, state and national issues that matter to them, and they’re winning.
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