The climate zombie caucus of the 112th Congress

One year ago, the right-wing media machine smeared climate scientists with the “Climategate” conspiracy theory, even as the climate itself continued to get hotter and more destructive.

Although the National Academies of Science says “the U.S. should act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a national strategy to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change,” the Republican Party is now dominated by fossil-funded ideologues who repeat zombie myths about global warming. An exclusive survey by Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson, with research support by Daily Kos blogger RL Miller, has identified the members of Congress that are on record challenging the scientific consensus:

Oregon California Idaho Nevada Utah Arizona Montana Wyoming Colorado New Mexico North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisconsin Illinois Kentucky Tennessee Mississippi Alabama Georgia Florida South Carolina North Carolina Virginia Maryland Michigan Michigan Indiana West Virginia Pennsylvania New York New Jersey Massachusetts New Hampshire Alaska New Jersey New Hampshire Massachusetts

Click the map to see the 112th Congress climate deniers in each state.

In January, 2011, the 112th Congress will open session, with a huge contingent of Republicans who have explicitly rejected the threat of manmade global warming pollution. These climate zombies express the classic variants of global warming denial: that the planet is not warming, that cold weather refutes concerns about global warming, that man’s influence is unclear, that climate scientists are engaged in a hoax, scam, or corrupt conspiracy, and that limiting greenhouse pollution would have no impact on global temperatures. Of special note are the conspiracy theorists who argue that hacked emails from climate scientists prove corruption, calling for kangaroo trials against practicing researchers.

Well over half (55 percent) of the incoming Republican caucus are climate zombies. Thirty-five of the 46 (76 percent) Republicans in the U.S. Senate next year publicly question the science of global warming. Of the 240 Republicans elected to the House of Representatives, 125 (52 percent) publicly question the science.

Of the freshmen Republicans “” marked in boldface below “” 36 of 85 in the House and 11 of 13 in the Senate have publicly questioned the science. There are no freshmen Republicans, in the House or Senate, who publicly accept the scientific consensus that greenhouse pollution is an immediate threat.

Nearly all the rest of the Republicans in the 112th Caucus either signed the “No Climate Tax” pledge from the climate-denier Koch Industries front group Americans For Prosperity, the “No Cap-And-Tax” Tea Party pledge, or co-sponsored a resolution to overturn the EPA’s scientific finding that greenhouse pollution threatens the American public’s health and welfare.


Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
John Barrasso (R-WY)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Scott Brown (R-MA)
Dan Coats (R-IN)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Bob Corker (R-TN)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
John Ensign (R-NV)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
John Hoeven (R-ND)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
John McCain (R-AZ)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Rob Portman (R-OH)
Jim Risch (R-ID)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John Thune (R-SD)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)


Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
Todd Akin (R-MO)
Rodney Alexander (R-LA)
Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)
Joe Barton (R-TX)
Charlie Bass (R-NH)
Judy Biggert (R-IL)
Brian Bilbray (R-CA)
Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Diane Black (R-TN)
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
John Boehner (R-OH)
Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Mo Brooks (R-AL)
Paul Broun (R-GA)
Larry Bucshon (R-IN)
Michael Burgess (R-TX)
Dan Burton (R-IN)
Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Dave Camp (R-MI)
John Campbell (R-CA)
John Carter (R-TX)
Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
Tom Cole (R-OK)
Mike Conaway (R-TX)
Chip Cravaack (R-MN)
John Culberson (R-TX)
Jeff Denham (R-CA)
Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Robert Dold (R-IL)
John Duncan (R-TN)
Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)
Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Bill Flores (R-TX)
Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
Bob Gibbs (R-OH)
Phil Gingrey (R-GA)
Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Trey Gowdy (R-SC)
Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
Mike Grimm (R-NY)
Ralph Hall (R-TX)
Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
Doc Hastings (R-WA)
Nan Hayworth (R-NY)
Wally Herger (R-CA)
Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)
Bill Huizenga (R-MI)
Randy Hultgren (R-IL)
Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Robert Hurt (R-VA)
Darryl Issa (R-CA)
Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
Steve King (R-IA)
Jack Kingston (R-GA)
Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
James Lankford (R-OK)
Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
Dan Lungren (R-CA)
Don Manzullo (R-IL)
Mike McCaul (R-TX)
Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Thad McCotter (R-MI)
Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
David McKinley (R-WV)
Candice Miller (R-MI)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)
Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Kristi Noem (R-SD)
Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Pete Olson (R-TX)
Ron Paul (R-TX)
Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Mike Pence (R-IN)
Ted Poe (R-TX)
Bill Posey (R-FL)
Tom Price (R-GA)
Ben Quayle (R-AZ)
Denny Rehberg (R-MT)
Scott Rigell (R-VA)
Cathy Rodgers (R-WA)
Phil Roe (R-TN)
Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Todd Rokita (R-IN)
Peter Roskam (R-IL)
Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Bobby Schilling (R-IL)
Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Pete Sessions (R-TX)
John Shimkus (R-IL)
Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Steve Southerland (R-FL)
Cliff Stearns (R-FL)
Steve Stivers (R-OH)
John Sullivan (R-OK)
Lee Terry (R-NE)
Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
Fred Upton (R-MI)
Rick Walberg (R-MI)
Greg Walden (R-OR)
Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Allen West (R-FL)
Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)
Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
Rob Wittman (R-VA)
Rob Woodall (R-GA)
Don Young (R-AK)
Todd Young (R-IN)

Read the full report: The Climate Zombie Caucus Of The 112th Congress.

45 Responses to The climate zombie caucus of the 112th Congress

  1. Jeff Huggins says:

    Political Dead End

    This is a political dead end for Republicans. The next election is two years from now, and in the meantime, important things will become increasingly clear:

    * The symptoms of climate change will increasingly appear, and more people will connect them, at least in part, to the trends and forces of climate change.

    * More and more scientists will speak out, more and more clearly and loudly.

    * Increasing numbers of people (us!) will be increasingly willing to talk to our friends, relatives, and strangers on the street about the problem. We have been WAY too shy so far.

    * The evidence will become ever-stronger and harder to ignore.

    * An increasing number of the (few) responsible and savvy politicians FROM the right, or from the center, will speak out on the reality of climate change and the need to do something about it.

    * More and more corporate leaders will speak out, especially from corporations that stand to benefit or at least that don’t stand to lose much.

    * California will make progress and show that facing and addressing climate change can create all sorts of benefits.

    * Americans, and businesses in America that don’t have to do directly with fossil fuels, will increasingly become anxious and aggravated over the fact that the U.S. will increasingly fall behind China and Europe and Japan in clean energy technologies, scale, and progress.

    * Soon — perhaps with some reminding — growing numbers of politicians and business leaders will realize that “being on the side of” ExxonMobil, the oil biggies, and the coal biggies is simply self-defeating and not good for their own self-interests. People and many organizations will increasingly see that there is a choice: Hitching their own future to the stubborn and losing aims of ExxonMobil and the fossil fuel fools, or hitching their future to the future.

    In the end, it usually turns out to be true that hitching your own future to the future works out better than hitching it to the past!

    (I’m told that philosophers are still working on the proof of this, but there’s good reason to believe that it’s probably correct, usually.)

    So, the recent (and now past) election was “as good as it will ever get” for Repubs and TeaBags when it comes to the political wisdom and viability of denying climate change and delaying action. Continuing to do so will only satisfy the people they’ve already got on the extreme side of the spectrum, but it will increasingly turn off more and more centrists, more and more savvy business folks who aren’t in the fossil fuel industry, and more and more independents. So it’s a losing proposition from now on, politically. Indeed, the Repubs should be trying to change their tune asap, and they should be hoping that, by two years from now, their constituents and themselves will have forgotten that they ever denied climate change in the first place.

    Indeed, perhaps the best thing that could happen to Repubs and TeaBags regarding climate change would be for them to “discover” or “realize” or “find” — or invent — A REASON to finally agree that climate change is real and that we need to address it — in other words, a “reason” to change their stance but in a way that saves face and convinces their constituents and themselves. In short, they need to find an excuse to change their minds.

    Yet, this mainly applies IF they can manage to see the wisdom and the practicality of the principle mentioned above, that:

    “In the end, it usually turns out to be true that hitching your own future to the future works out better than hitching it to the past!”

    Many of the Repubs may still be doubting this, and indeed many of them may not even know what it means. After all, I’ve used a four-syllable word in the sentence, and it’s a complicated one: ‘usually’. Four-syllable words, and especially ones that begin with the letter ‘u’, are hard. Most Repubs understand ‘umbrella’ — three syllables. But many of them start to get totally confused with something like ‘Ulysses’, which is still only three syllables. Anyhow, the philosophers and linguists are still trying to figure it all out.

    So, perhaps, can someone here think of how to state the principle without such complex and technical terms?



  2. Esop says:

    Indeed, it is very likely that 2011 and especially 2012 will bring severe climate related events that will hurt the GOP’s chances at the 2012 elections if they stay on the current dead end track of science denial.

  3. Leif says:

    Here is my attempt Jeff: Although there is a three syllable word. Points should be given for brevity, you think?

    Survival is a human right!

  4. Jeff Huggins:

    A diehard Teapartier who’s capable of rational thought and long-term planning for the good of the country? That’ll be a rare one!

    So, perhaps, can someone here think of how to state the principle without such complex and technical terms?

    ‘Koch has no future.’

    That, I think, they’ll understand.


  5. George Ennis says:

    I disagree when we says these deniers are “challenging the scientific consensus”.

    “Challenging” suggests they are offering a plausible alternative scientific narrative and lends a certain respectability, legitimacy and credence to such people when in fact they deserve nothing of the kind. They are are not challenging. They are simply ignoring the scientific consensus or keeping themselves willfully ignorant of the facts.

    I would concede that they are however “challenged” by the reality of climate change.

  6. Andy says:

    After reading many of the statements, it’s pretty clear that most of these legislators are using climategate and tiny flaws in the data as an excuse to state that knowledge is incomplete or in a state of flux and therefore they don’t support global warming legislation.

    The work of the climate deniers/doubters is clear in their statements.

    These flimsy sheets that hide their inaction need to be torn away.

  7. Bob Potter says:

    I believe many of the winning GOP candidates for Congress received nearly a free ride on the climate issue. It didn’t appear that DEM candidates or the public really pushed them very hard, at least as I recall. It’s good to have the information on the Climate Zombie Caucus in this post to see how clueless and dangerous most members of Congress are, but we can’t stop now. At every forum where elected officials, especially Congressmen/women, speak we must contiue to ask the Climate Questions. Push, push, push. Get them on record again and again. Many of these events are covered for local TV and newspapers. If there is to be any hope for any progress in 2012 then these Zombies must be totally and completely boxed in….and hope the DEM candidates are strong enough next time to nail them for it. This is especially important as some incumbents may conveniently change their mind as the next election heats up, saying “new” science has convinced them to be more open minded, etc. This is something we all can and must do.

  8. Andy says:

    Here maybe a way of putting these folks on the defensive.

    Ocean acidity is a problem that the denial machine hasn’t spoken of very much. There is a window of opportunity to get out in front on this issue.

    If states begin addressing this through their permitting agencies then it will quickly become clear that yes, carbon dioxide emissions are a problem. Like any other pollutant, it should be controlled and reduced. The chemistry and physics is way easier for the public to understand. The impact and cause are much easier to understand. I don’t know many folks who think making the ocean acid is a good thing.

    If this issue can be discussed rationally, then the climate issue will be able to ride on its coattails.

  9. Sasparilla says:


    Because of the way things are set up right now (the Dems will still be perceived to have most responsibility between now and 2012 whether they can do anything or not), the price of gasoline and where its headed (and what that will do to our recovering economy), we’ll be lucky if the Republicans don’t sweep everything in 2012, regardless of what happens with the climate.

    I think we’ll probably have to wait until the economy is totally in their hands and it gets worse before we can reasonably start looking forward to booting them out again (2016?).

    Although there will undoubtedly be more climate related events during the next couple of years, unless they are truly affecting some portion of the US in a painful, obvious way (like on the level of the ocean flooding Miami permanently, which won’t happen in that time frame or drought’s wiping out huge chunks of the US harvest and causing mass starvation several years in a row) that can’t be passed off as just variability of the weather, I just don’t see the GOP being hurt (we’ve already got Lake Meade, early springs, late falls, rising temps, insects wiping out forests caused by climate change and the GOP has only gotten stronger – you only have to look around to see the evidence of climate change).

    The GOP doesn’t want to see climate change, gets paid alot not to see it (and that won’t stop, it might get worse since those forces have been emboldened) and its exactly the message their “customers” / political base want to hear – i.e. that’s not real, you don’t need to change, its all a conspiracy, lets wait on that. Easy solution, they do something similar for oil – drill baby drill (easy solution), sure to be back in 2012. So what if its completely disingenuous? It sells and they win. Their marketing is near perfect for what they want to do. The results are at the top of this page.

    I think we’ll have to wait till the GOP has total or almost total national political responsibility and things get worse again to reverse this tide that’s started. Then, if we’re lucky and we get supermajorities in both houses, we’ll get to wait and see if the Dems can come through or if they’ll just talk a good game, take our votes and stand on the end of their dinkys (like they did these last 2 years) while we ring our hands.

  10. Peter M says:

    None from here in Connecticut

    Are we just more enlightened? In the last election both the GOP Senatorial Candidate and the Gubernatorial Candidate where skeptics-

    they lost. As did all the GOP Challengers for the 5 house seats (I am not sure of their beliefs regarding AGW)however.

  11. Barry says:

    I mostly agree with you Jeff (#1). However I think the emphasis is slightly, but crucially, off.

    You say: “In short, they need to find an excuse to change their minds.”

    “Changing their minds” is equivalent to admitting they were wrong. That isn’t going to happen because their resistence is mostly based on value system and world view.

    Instead they need to find a new SOLUTION to the climate threat can fit into their world views (cultural values). I don’t think it is about changing the “minds”…it is about discovering a path forward that enforces and enhances their fundamental value system. Clearly the existing options being proposed failed that test for increasing majority of GOP voters.

    When I read the linked GOP comments I see a number of cultural values and world views being defended against the solutions they feel are being pushed on them which violate those values.

    People will ignore data that doesn’t fit their cultural world view. They just will. We all do it.

    Many GOP statements, even the extreme ones highlighted in the excellent wonk room research show a desire to to do the “right thing”. And many even say that yes climate is changing and if science is right we should do “something” about it.

    The key thing now is to forge a solution that works with the GOP voters fundamental values. Almost all GOP voters want security just like almost all DEM voters do.

    Once a solution to climate change appears that fits with GOP voter value system then the objections to the science will disappear for them quickly.

    The quotes of GOP give a lot of clear hints about what the essentials might be, such as keeping the money away from “big government”…at least federal government. Also not having to accept “lifestyle” changes dictated by distant liberal elites. And not having their money go off to someone else in another state. They want local control of solutions and their hard-earned dollars. We all do.

    A group inside GOP needs to emerge with a carbon pricing policy that works for their core values. And we enviros and liberals need to create an open atmosphere of respect for a new way forward instead of waiting for them to admit they were “wrong” and we were “right”.

    I’m interested and hopeful to hear what new policy ideas built around GOP values will emerge. And I’m open to the idea that these ideas might be the best way forward and GOP could be the ones that will lead America forward in solving the climate threats we all face together.

  12. toby says:

    These are like the Appeasers in British politics before 1939, or the Isolationists in American politics before Pearl Harbor.

    While they may seem powerful and dominant, time will expose them, and their days are numbered. What will cause their demise? A major climate-driven catastrophe (a few Katrina-like events), possibly. Or maybe just the inexorable ratcheting up of the temperature year on year.

    How long will it take? That is the main concern. By the time the mass of public opinion turns on these dissemblers, it may be too late, just as Britain escaped defeat so narrowly in 1940.

    At least, Appeasement had a viable argument behind it i.e. that Hitler could be bound by International agreements. That logic could only be exposed with time, and was exploited by a cunning dictator. Similarly, isolationism had a viable argument to the effect that America could remain free, even if the rest of the world was taken over by tyranny.

    But the climate deniers have no such excuses. The science is clear, the data is there, anyone who opened their mind could see what is happening. History will judge these men and women harshly, as harshly as they deserve. I just hope that history matters at that time.

  13. Bob Lang says:

    Given the uninformed US electorate, greenhouse gas emissions in the US will increase until alternative sources of energy become cheaper than subsidized fossil fuel.

    That’s the reality, like it or not.

  14. They remind me of a bunch of adolescents who think they know more than their parents.
    But they’re on the record, and the next generation will judge them appropriately.

  15. catman306 says:


    “Survival is a human right” only 26 Google hits (one is yours) about 10 distinct references.

    Another progressive idea whose time has come.

  16. J A Turner says:

    Prediction: Once reality sets in and it becomes untenable for the R’s to keep on denying the obvious facts, the R’s will put on a convincing display of righteous indignation at having been “misled” on the subject, suitable scapegoats will be sacrificed, and then they’ll come up with pretexts for funnelling fresh billions of taxpayer dollars to their best buddies in the coal, oil and nuclear businesses to smooth their transition to the low-carbon economy.

  17. Leif says:

    Catman306: If you can make something out of it, go for it.. I am currently ~$35 bucks in the hole on Domain Names. “,” Coming up for auction soon, ‘” and “”
    I have to cool it for a bit.

  18. Mark says:

    My God, Texas is a den of idiots. What karmic wrong did I do to end up here?

    I’m ready to be part of the brain drain to the west coast.

  19. cervantes says:

    Hey, it’s kind of on the chilly side in Connecticut tonight, so obviously the whole global warming thing is a hoax. It’s incontrovertible.

  20. Peter M says:

    yes Cervantes- #14 it is cold here tonight In Connecticut

    global warming is obviously not really happening

  21. mike roddy says:

    Andy, the deniers lie about ocean acidification, too. And we don’t know if eventually proving them wrong will matter, since it’s that much more time in the trough to help their rich friends. They know how to spin anything.

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    The Normandy Invasion For U.S. Climate Change

    Consequently, should California persist in its plan to implement cap and trade by 2012, you can bet on Congress passing meaningful climate legislation by 2011, implementing a federal mechanism that will set a price on carbon.

  23. Prokaryotes says:

    How to Govern With a Deeply Divided Congress

    With a Democratic president, a Republican House and a closely divided Senate, it may seem nearly impossible to take on the challenges of this moment, from the deficit to energy independence, climate change and entitlement reform. But it’s not.

    I have often talked about the need for health-care providers to adopt best practices and evidence-based approaches to ensure the delivery of better care. The same could be said of the Obama administration and Congress. We know what the best practices are. We just need to use them.

    Tom Daschle, a former senator from South Dakota, is a senior policy adviser to the law firm DLA Piper. He is the author of “Getting It Done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care Reform.”

    Let’s start wishcasting for a miracle!

  24. Prokaryotes says:

    Congressman Boehlert’s Stunning Degree of Climate Change Policy Cluelessness

    While many in politics – and not just of my party – refuse to accept the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change, leaders of some of our nation’s most prominent businesses have taken a different approach. They formed the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. This was no collection of mom-and-pop shops operated by “tree huggers” sympathetic to any environmental cause but, rather, a step by hard-nosed, profit-driven capitalists. General Electric, Alcoa, Duke Energy, DuPont, Dow Chemical, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler signed on. USCAP, persuaded by scientific facts, called on the president and Congress to act, saying “in our view, the climate change challenge will create more economic opportunities than risks for the U.S. economy.”

    There is a natural aversion to more government regulation.

    Natural aversion?

  25. Jim Groom says:

    Out here in California we just managed to defeat Prop 23, the roll-back on green, that big oil poured millions into passing. Even so, when I clicked on the map above I found that all those deniers had an R after their name. What a surprise! I belive that this fact alone indicates a rather freightening problem and disconnect within the ranks of the voters. They obviously want progress on the lower emissions front, but continue to elect trolls for representatives. I guess we should stop patting ourselves on the back and recognize the truth of the situation.

  26. KeenOn350 says:

    Lief (3:18pm)

    Survival is a human right? – sorry, but I don’t think so.

    We in CanUSA are much too concerned with our “rights” as citizens. Everybody stands on their rights – but no-one wants the responsibilities that go along with the “rights”.

    There is no right to clean air – just a responsibility to keep it clean.
    There is no right to clean water – just a responsibility to keep it clean.

    …you can add a large number of items here…

    In the developed world, we have been so spoiled that we think such things are our “rights” – however, there are no “rights” pertaining to the natural world.

    Air, water, food supply; floods, droughts, storms – they pay no attention to constitutions, or charters of rights.

  27. Leif says:

    KeenOn350, #25: I agree with all you say, but that don’t make it right.

    If humanity cannot clam “survival” as a human right, I guess air, water, dirt, and all the rest are just goods to be sold to the highest bidder. Clean or otherwise?

    The typical tactic for Corporations in my experience is for corporations to rape and pillage first, then get the politicians to tax the people to clean the mess who then hirer the corporations to do the jobs who then employ cheep labor to clean the problem and then sell the cleaned resources back to the people. Corporations make money on each transaction; humanity gets the smelly end of the stick.
    I think it is called “Business as usual” and most corporations like it like that!
    Fear Corporate Greed!

    So I say again…
    Survival is a HUMAN RIGHT!
    For humanity to survive we all require CLEAN air, water, dirt, seas, and functioning ecosystems.
    Humanity does NOT require marauding Corporations in spite of what they try to make us believe…

  28. Tim says:

    The majority of Republicans do not accept the theory of evolution, and as strong as the science of global warming is, it is not nearly as incontrovertible as the data that supports the theory of evolution. I wish I could be more optimistic about the ratcheting up of the symptoms of climate change being sufficient to bring these people around, but the denial of evolution is strong evidence that the entire concept of “evidence” is not really a very important determinant of many, perhaps most, of these people’s beliefs.

  29. Anne says:

    Excellent post — one of the best; I’ve been reading RLMiller on Daily Kos for some time now, she does her homework and consistently publishes informative and insightful material.

    This piece is especially useful, encyclopedic really, and shows the extent to which ideological thinking (or should I say, lack of logical thinking) drives the climate policy debates on Capitol Hill. It’s somehow popular to be denier, somehow “cool” to use the whole concocted “climategate” fiasco as a defense for a head-in-the-sand attitude. The main question we need to answer is: WHY?

    If I had unlimited time and resources, I’d hire a virtual army of sophisticated pollsters, sociologists, psychologists, etc. and have them engage each one of these Members of Congress in exploring what is behind these false beliefs, and then slowly begin to ask them about climate impacts happening to their own constituents. I recall beginning a similar project to this one, but focused on geographic-specific climate impacts in the districts of these elected officials. One example comes to mind — a Rep. in Georgia bragged on his official House website that his environmental policy consisted of fishing while exercising his second amendment rights (one should always carry a gun, he advises, when out in nature).

    A read of the most recent and comprehensive impacts report issued by the White House, and reports of the IPCC, were warning that temperature increases in this region could threaten many fish populations, especially freshwater fish in lakes and streams. So — after all the fish are dead and gone and this Member of Congress can no longer enjoy his favorite “environmental” passion — will he finally put two and two together and become a “believer” in climate change? Or will he simply continue on the path of denial and blame it on some other cause, regardless of the scientific evidence?

    I think that is where we need to turn our attention — to point out to these men and women (by the way — what is the percentage of women-to-men among climate zombies…hmmmmm) that climate disruption is a threat to their own voting constituents, and that, after awhile — after umteen floods or prolonged droughts or disappearing species or failed crops — these voters will hold their elected officials accountable for dealing with this problem. But, by then, it will be much more difficult, and expensive, to solve.

    Everyone who has a brain and looks at the full set of issues with an honest heart and a good eye for the truth knows that humans have perturbed our climate system in ways that will come back and bite us. But the other side, the side that wishes to hide from this “inconvenient truth,” is winning, or so it seems they are. I think it’s because people are often just too wimpy, too selfish, too frightened, and too ignorant to face the facts. What we may need, I feel, is a deeper look into the human soul to help us understand better the motives for denialism, combined with compassion for the denialists so we can help them overcome their inner demons when it comes to having the courage to face up to the real threat we all face, together. You know, after all the fish are dead and gone.

  30. A face in the clouds says:

    Joe, been noticing in recent weeks that most of my comments have been sent to moderation and some never saw the light of day. HuffPost has been doing the same thing. Is there a problem? Thanks.

    [JR: I just couldn’t make sense of your last comment.]

  31. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I regret to inform you, comrades, but no climate disaster,no matter how great, will de-rail the denialist industry. They will simply say that it is natural change, continue to assert, risibly, that CO2 is ‘plant food’, and the Dunning-Krugerites (the real ‘living dead’) will mumble their agreement. I’m afraid that the fundamental mistake that rational and humane people make is to assume that those on the other side ie the ‘Forces of Darkness’, are like them. On the contrary, they are like another species, and for all intents and purposes, they are, Homo destructans. Rational argument is superfluous. Their belief patterns are religious in structure and intensity. To concur with the science, no matter how grave the evidence, would be, for these creatures, an act of apostasy or blasphemy. Salvation can only come from ignoring them, doing our best in our daily lives and hoping against hope that China, where rationality rules in politics and policy, can save humanity’s bacon. I’m afraid that the days of the USA ‘leading’ the world are over, unless it is on the path to perdition.

  32. J. Bob says:

    #23 Prokaryotes

    Be careful what you whish for you just may get it. Healthcare as with anything else, is no free lunch.

  33. Bob Lang says:

    I applaud Tim #29 and Mumblebrain #32 for their insightful comments, but let’s not forget that these members of Congress were elected democratically, albeit with the help of special-interest funding.

    What does that say about the electorate?

    Contrast that with the German electorate where 86% of the public believes that fossil fuels have to be eliminated entirely and more than half of households are willing to pay more for energy to get the job done. More or less the same story in China.

  34. Ben Lieberman says:

    Thanks for the effort to collect the information: this is essential material. I think it will be useful to also post it to a separate dedicated website.

  35. with the doves says:

    This will only be a political dead end for the GOP if the, uh, other party makes its position really clear. Then, people will say, you know, maybe the Dems were right. But if, as is too common, Dems keep their heads down and engage in conflict-avoidance, they won’t be in a position to take political advantage.

  36. Bill W says:

    @Bob Lang at #34 (11:09 am), meanwhile, much of the US electorate would rather watch “Jackass”, or get all their news from a certain cable TV/radio personality who is one. An awful lot of our entertainment glorifies stupidity and ignorance, and I think that has a lot to do with rejection of policies that have been marked as coming from “elites”.

  37. john atcheson says:

    #36 is right. Arguments and alternative frames only work if they are used, used well, and used often.

    I don’t see the Dems willing to do that.

    In the end, reason will not sway the true believers — this country has abandoned reason, and replaced it with ontological and teleological nonsense.

  38. Barry says:

    I agree strongly with Bob Lang (#34). The GOP were democratically elected by a huge segment of American citizens who are increasingly opposed to “climate change”.

    The reason “why” isn’t because they are stupid. It is because they have core values that are in conflict with the SOLUTIONS proposed for climate change.

    I think people are approaching this the wrong way with these folks. More data is not guaranteed to change these voters minds. The data is overwhelming already. It is everywhere to read if you are even a little bit open to it. Nasty climate changes are already happening all over.

    If people feel their core values are threatened by SOLUTIONS to climate change, then even gigantic climate disasters are not guaranteed to cause them to abandon their values. It is just as likely that scared people in that values-bind will react in unpredictable ways that can involve violence and scapegoats. It has happened all the time in human history.

    We need to find a SOLUTION to climate change that fits USA conservative value system. Then they will embrace the science, believe me.

    When we start looking at solutions that sound like “Liberty and Personal Responsibility Tax Refund” that emphasizes “State’s rights and control” we will start to find common ground.

    Imagine if Sarah Pallin toured the nation calling attention to a major threat in the future that required liberals to make more changes to their cherished lifestyles and pay more than conservatives. Liberal’s money would go to the biggest global corporations via a scheme that was far too complex for individuals to understand. The whole thing required faith in the people defining the problem and faith in global corporations to do the right thing. And it required things like organic farming to ramp down and industrial logging to increase. I’m pretty sure most liberals would grasp whatever threads of “values support” they could.

  39. David B. Benson says:

    J A Turner — Nuclear is low carbon; not to be lumped with coal & gas.

  40. David B. Benson says:

    Nature has the only vote.

  41. sandshoe says:

    g’day from australia, i like your blog, thanks, it’s very informative :)

    your list now invites strategic deployment of candidates to those electorates that have been targeted by the self-proclaimed climate-change denialists. the message…

    genuine climate-change denialists do not exist. those flying under the “denialist” will banner use ‘anything’ to object to change, to protect their buddies…big CO2 polluters. there are cleaner innovations, cleaner companies, waiting to ramp up operations to reduce pollution while maintaining quality services, but…dirty polluter companies are blocking the playing field – via their dirty political mates – the ‘dirty denialists’.

    the only thing that delays united global action to radically reduce CO2 pollution is the inevitable “loss of profits” for the dirtiest companies on earth. and who are their political representatives? the dirty denialists.

    the message…the dirty denialists are purposely lying to block clean companies taking their market share. dirty companies and dirty denialists should be the key phrases used because they oppose clean companies and clean air. it is not cool or trendy to be a dirty denialist – instead it highlights your selfishness and greed.

  42. David B. Benson says:

    See no science.

    Hear no science.

    Speak no science.

  43. sandshoe says:

    #34 Bob Lang mentions the high level of commitment in germany to pay a bit more to support a transition to renewable energy technologies…abandoning dirty fossil fuels.

    if the usa again…fails to restrict CO2 polluters in the usa (via whatever mechanism chosen) then it will be justifiable for other nations to consider trade sanctions against the usa – in protest for actions counteractive to the global good – because minimising global warming requires everyone’s cooperation to be successful.

    whilst the usa offers dirty CO2 polluters a safe haven on the planet – the reductions other nations are “paying” for…will be for nothing. that’s good reason to be pi#!ed of at a trading partner…

    as to australia – pathetically our political reps followed the lead from the usa…protecting the big CO2 polluters. that will change, with carbon caps and trades commencing in 2013. our dirty companies will have a clear choice, reduce their CO2 emissions under their cap, or purchase offsets, or pay the fine for polluting.

    if china begins carbon reductions before the usa – they might decide not to do business with nations who are not trying to alleviate the problem. maybe australia will get a better price for wheat with sanctions against the usa? food for thought for the self-professed…climate-change denialists.

  44. Stephen Watson says:

    There is no problem with lack of information or anything like that. Anyone with acess to the web can find plenty of information and as someone in a position of political influence you can probably get an audience with the National Academy or whoever you need. Information is not the problem

    The problem is that to mitigate climate change we need to reduce CO2 emissions. Drastically. However you slice it with talk of “green technologies” and innovation, the bottom line is that it means we have to cut back on the insane amount of (most fossil fuel derived) energy that we use every day. Cutting back to that degree will require changes in legislation, travel patterns, availability of goods, food production, transportation. It will change our way of life in fairly dramatic fashion.

    If you want to carry on flying, driving, shopping and living the high life you are not going to want that to happen so you will ignore anything that indicates that as a possible future if logical lines of thought were followed.

    The Rebublicans are not alone in thinking like this. At the moment most governments of the world believe we can mitigate climate change with clever technology and “green growth”. Millions have a very comfortable lifestyle that they don’t want to lose.