Press: The party of climate change denial

Press: The party of climate change denial
© Greg Nash

Mercifully, we have reached the end of the 2014 midterm election cycle. Voters will decide today and, win or lose, we will all live with the results. But one issue was noticeably missing from the campaign trail.

In almost every House and Senate race, Democrats talked about jobs, education, voter rights and women’s rights. Republicans concentrated on finding every way possible to tie their opponent to President Obama. But, at least in the races I followed, seldom was heard a word about the most critical issue of all: climate change.

ADVERTISEMENT
The failure of Congress to focus on global warming is all the more serious in light of the latest warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In its report, just released this weekend, more than 800 scientists from 80 countries conclude that climate change is already here; its impacts are “severe,” “pervasive” and perhaps “irreversible”; it’s almost entirely man’s fault; and protecting us from climate change will require reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the end of the century.

The effects of climate change are already visible in disappearing glaciers, the melting of the polar ice caps and rising sea levels, notes the panel. Unless we act now, we will also soon see loss of important crops, risks to human health from new diseases and extinction of many plant and animal species.

So, if there’s one issue that should not be a partisan issue, this is it. After all, we’re talking about saving the planet. Surely Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on that. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Cybersecurity: Bad Russian intel may have swayed Comey's handling of Clinton probe | Apple sees spike in data requests | More subpoenas for Flynn | DOJ's plan for data warrants McCain: Dems killed Lieberman’s FBI shot When education is an ignored national security matter MORE and Barack ObamaBarack ObamaVicente Fox to Trump: You’re president for ‘the wrong reason’ Mnuchin asks Congress for clean debt hike before August Trump still deciding on Paris climate agreement MORE did in 2008. But, sadly, that’s not the case today. Congress remains hopelessly deadlocked on climate change because Republicans, for whatever strange reason — be it ignorance or campaign contributions — either deny it’s happening, deny human activity is responsible or deny it’s serious enough to worry about.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, in fact, stirred up a little trouble back in May when he asserted there was “virtually no Republican” in Washington who accepted the science about climate change. As it turns out, he was right on target. Politifact tested his claim and rated it “Mostly True.” Out of 278 Republicans currently in Congress, they found only eight — or 3 percent — who believe in climate change. For the record, they are Sens. Bob CorkerBob CorkerIs Trump's White House headed into troubled waters? Overnight Tech: FCC won't fine Colbert over Trump joke | Trump budget slashes science funding | Net neutrality comment period opens Clinton administration official knocks 'soap opera' of Trump White House MORE (Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsOvernight Healthcare: CBO fallout | GOP senators distance themselves from House bill | Trump budget chief blasts score | Schumer says House bill belongs 'in the trash' Collins uses CBO score to rip House healthcare bill GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (Maine), Mark KirkMark KirkTaking the easy layup: Why brain cancer patients depend on it The Mideast-focused Senate letter we need to see The way forward on the Iran nuclear deal under President Trump MORE (Ill.), John ThuneJohn ThuneSenate feels pressure for summer healthcare vote Overnight Tech: FCC won't fine Colbert over Trump joke | Trump budget slashes science funding | Net neutrality comment period opens Transportation Department faces cuts under Trump budget MORE (S.D.) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderOvernight Healthcare: CBO fallout | GOP senators distance themselves from House bill | Trump budget chief blasts score | Schumer says House bill belongs 'in the trash' GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill Republicans give Trump's budget the cold shoulder MORE (Tenn.), and Reps. Chris Smith (N.J.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.) and Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney FrelinghuysenGOP lawmaker faces ethics complaint after writing letter to activist’s employer GOP rep goes after activist by writing letter to employer GOP town halls go viral MORE (N.J.). 

Sadly, the other 270 Republicans follow the lead of know-nothing Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioMcConnell on Trump: 'We could do with a little less drama' Taking the easy layup: Why brain cancer patients depend on it Rubio: 'All options should be on table' if Flynn refuses new subpoenas MORE (R-Fla.), who denies any link between human activity and climate change. On May 11, Rubio told ABC’s Jonathan Karl: “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.”

Rubio and his fellow climate change deniers aren’t scientists. They should just shut up, listen to the scientists — all 800 of them — and take action. This is too critical an issue to be playing politics with any longer.

 

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of The Obama Hate Machine.