Perry Just Another Climate Denier

The past week has confirmed that climate paralysis reigns in the GOP. Michele Bachmann has been relishing her first place finish in the Iowa Straw Poll, but Ron Paul came in just 152 votes behind her. That counts as a toss-up in my book, and I can’t decide which one is worse: Bachmann who denies climate exists, or Paul who acknowledges that climate change might be real but doesn’t believe government should do anything about it.

The new golden boy of the race, Governor Rick Perry, shares Bachmann’s refusal to accept the reality of global warming. But unlike Bachmann, he stands a good chance of winning the party’s nomination. And that could have major implications for our country’s energy future.

Believe it or not, a Republican president doesn’t necessarily spell the end of climate action. Most major pieces of environmental legislation have passed when a Republican sat in the Oval Office: President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act, President Ford signed the Safe Drinking Water Act, and President H. W. Bush signed the Clean Air Act Amendments (which launched a cap-and-trade program to reduce acid rain pollution).

A GOP candidate or president with a moderate stance on climate change could move America down the road to reducing carbon pollution. But one who doesn’t even acknowledge the problem will make our nation’s eventual response cost too much and come too late. Unfortunately, Perry is squarely in the denial camp.

As Dylan Matthews points out in a piece in the Washington Post, Perry wrote in his requisite campaign book that “we have been experiencing a cooling trend, that the complexities of the global atmosphere have often eluded the most sophisticated scientists, and that draconian policies with dire economic effects based on so-called science may not stand the test of time.”

Last week PolitiFact.com examined a similar claim when Tim Pawlenty told the Miami Herald that climate science is “in dispute.” PolitiFact.com puts politicians’ statements through its so-called Truth-o-Meter, and most of the time the needle points somewhere in between True and False. For Pawlenty’s claim—and by extension Perry’s—the needle rested squarely on False.

This is Flat Earth territory. This is “I choose not to believe in gravity” wackiness.

I can find common ground with a GOP leader who acknowledges scientific data since, while we might have different views about the policies we need to address the problem, at least we can agree on the facts. But I can’t imagine that someone who so willfully ignores the evidence can successfully govern a country.

Perry has pronounced that he will not watch Al Gore’s slide show on climate change. What if he someday he decides he will not hear the security briefings from the CIA? What if he decides to stop listening to the people at the Federal Reserve? Is that any way to lead the nation? We don’t get to pick the facts of our times, but we do get to choose how we confront them.

There is something I share with Perry: a belief in prayer. But even here, Perry takes the easy way out. During his famous prayer vigil a few weeks ago, Perry called on the audience to pray for victims of the droughts plaguing the country – which is ironic since scientists tie global warming to increased frequency and severity of droughts. I am happy to join in that prayer, but my work doesn’t end there. I also do my part to solve the problem intensifying those droughts: climate change.

I believe God hears our prayers, but expects us to do our part.  My brother just had a stroke at the age of 28. My family and all our friends prayed as hard as we could that he would recover. But we also made sure he got to the hospital and did what the doctors told him.

Ignoring climate change doesn’t make it go away. And it is unlikely that resorting only to prayer without actions will work either. We need leaders—of either party—who can acknowledge what science tells us and meet in the middle to craft smart policy to deal with it. The GOP has a history of doing that on environmental matters. Someone just has to remind their party frontrunners of that fact.

Tags: Rick Perry, 2012 elections (all tags)

Comments

3 Comments

My observation

I recall a news article where the report about polar bears drowning in the middle of the arctic, was introduced as 'polar bear gate' ... to me by a bush republican.

 

They said that the study that found polar bears were being killed by loss of arctic ice, going beyond their limit to swim - and drowning in the middle of the arctic sea - was influenced by this unethical practice.  The grant, however, was funded and applied for - before someone discovered and took pictures of the polar bear corpses floating at sea .. one after another after another.  The photographer was hassled by these bush republicans for taking the photographs. But they were real.

 

Today on the news , I learned that Greenland is losing its ice cover at an unprecedented - record rate. 2010 was the biggest flow year ever . So much so that , in fact, Alcoa is considering putting an aluminum processing plant on the edge of the ice sheet - almost a billion dollar facility - just because it will be cheap power to be powered by the runoff water using a hydroelectric turbine.

 

 

January – July 2011 map of temperature anomalies shows that anomalous warm temperatures were present over much of the world, with the exception of cooler-than-average conditions across the northwestern United States, southwestern Canada, most of Australia, part of southwestern Russia, northern Kazakhstan, eastern Mongolia, southern China, and large parts of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean -The combined global average land and ocean surface temperature for January–July period was the 11th warmest such period on record. This value is 0.51°C (0.92°F) above the 20th century average. Separately, the average worldwide land surface temperature ranked as the 8th warmest on record, while the worldwide average ocean surface temperature ranked as the 11th warmest January–July on record.

 

 

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/

 

Now, what happens during global warming is that it's going to be a nonlinear pattern of weird weather until disaster strikes.  It's like the man says: You can be scared. Or you can be ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Trey Rentz 2011-08-18 09:48AM | 0 recs
PS. The photographer was cleared

He was just taking photographs and saw all the dead polar bears floating in the arctic sea, and ultimately he was cleared. Bush Republicans like to take short term controversies like that, and turn them into talking points.

 

They are also the ones that love to put people on as "experts" who couldn't think their way out of a paper bag if you put it on their head. Their version of "expert" is just someone who can say something outrageous.

 

Ya know?

 

by Trey Rentz 2011-08-18 09:50AM | 0 recs
Ron Paul came in just 152 votes behind her

Ron Paul came in just 152 votes behind her. rudraksha

by Sudhansu Nayak 2011-08-25 06:06AM | 0 recs

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