John Podesta, CEO of the Center for American Progress, told Climate Progress that climate change deniers are the “Know Nothings” of this generation. The former Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton was referencing the American nativist political group in the mid 1800’s that spread irrational fear about immigrants.
“I’d call them the know nothings of the 21st Century – the people who are really just denying reality,” he said in an interview at the National Clean Energy Summit. Watch it:
Podesta has pushed hard to keep climate change action at the forefront of policy, a key reason he launched this blog five years ago. He called on President Obama to step up and fight the “damaging initiatives from House Republicans,” asking: “At the end of the day, does he beat back this assault on the science?”
I think it’s really quite critical. It’s one of the most important issues that the country will face and the world will change… I think one of the reasons that you saw a drop in support or some questioning of whether this should be a priority … people stopped talking, they stopped educating, they stopped making this a high-priority issue. The press stopped dealing with it… So we need to be constantly educating on this issue.
While the President has indicated he will stand behind the EPA’s decision to regulate carbon emissions and other pollutants, he has given the issue very little rhetorical support, allowing leading Republicans to hijack the “debate.” His most high-profile stance on climate came in a recent interview with a child reporter from Scholastic News, in which he explained the basic science and said that it’s “going to be something that we’re really going to have to focus on.”
If Obama is to help make the “Know Nothing” climate deniers a relic of history like the last Know Nothing party, he needs to talk about the issue in much higher-profile setting.
- Energy Secretary Steven Chu: It ‘Saddens Me’ That Political Leaders Don’t Understand Climate Science
- Biden: ‘If We Don’t Develop Renewable Energy, We Will Make the Biggest Mistake in this Nation’s History’
- Navy Secretary Ray Mabus: ‘Our Responsibilities Have to be Tied in to the Effects of Climate Change’