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.

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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 McCainSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Republicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown Nunes endures another rough day MORE and Barack ObamaBarack ObamaWhite House staff to skip correspondents' dinner Overnight Energy: Trump signs climate order | Greens vow to fight back GOP lawmakers defend Trump military rules of engagement 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 CorkerSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Senate takes up NATO membership for Montenegro GOP lawmaker: Time to work with Dems on healthcare MORE (Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Overnight Finance: WH wants to slash billions | Border wall funding likely on hold | Wells Fargo to pay 0M over unauthorized accounts | Dems debate revamping consumer board Lawmakers call for pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities MORE (Maine), Mark KirkMark KirkObamaCare repeal bill would defund Planned Parenthood Leaked ObamaCare bill would defund Planned Parenthood GOP senator won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood MORE (Ill.), John ThuneJohn ThuneMcConnell: ObamaCare 'status quo' will stay in place moving forward This week: GOP picks up the pieces after healthcare defeat Lawmakers want infrastructure funded by offshore tax reform MORE (S.D.) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderThe Hill's 12:30 Report Price faces unwanted task of administering ObamaCare Overnight Regulation: Trump's Labor nominee hints at updating overtime rule MORE (Tenn.), and Reps. Chris Smith (N.J.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.) and Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney FrelinghuysenHouse GOP abandons ObamaCare repeal effort in stunning defeat The Hill's 12:30 Report Live coverage: House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (N.J.). 

Sadly, the other 270 Republicans follow the lead of know-nothing Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioRepublicans giving Univision the cold shoulder: report Week ahead: Senate panel to vote on Trump's Labor pick Senators introduce new Iran sanctions 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.