National Journal: “The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones.”

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"National Journal: “The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones.”"

Indeed, it is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is “no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of.”

It will be difficult for the world to move meaningfully against climate disruption if the United States does not. And it will be almost impossible for the U.S. to act if one party not only rejects the most common solution proposed for the problem (cap-and-trade) but repudiates even the idea that there is a problem to be solved. The GOP’s stiffening rejection of climate science sets the stage for much heated argument but little action as the world inexorably warms — and the dangers that Hague identified creep closer.

That’s from an excellent National Journal piece, “GOP Gives Climate Science A Cold Shoulder.”  It’s rare for a straight political commentator like Ron Brownstein to write a piece that isn’t just political theater but actually gets the importance of being wrong on this most important of issues.

Hague is the UK’s conservative Foreign Secretary William Hague, who said in a must-read speech last week, “You cannot have food, water, or energy security without climate security.” The point is, only U.S. conservatives are this uniquely self-destructive, embracing a position that will destroy food security, water security, and energy security for the nation and the world.

Think Progress has a couple of recent instances of this, with videos, starting with the most famous one-time witchcraft dabbler on the planet:

CNN’s Jim Acosta had the opportunity to interview GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell yesterday, weeks after the tea party favorite swore off national media appearances. O’Donnell gave Acosta the GOP line on tax cuts, health care, and national security, and joined the rest of the Republican Party’s candidates for U.S. Senate who question the science that global warming is manmade:

ACOSTA: Global warming, is it manmade? Does human activity contribute to global warming?

O’DONNELL: I don’t have an opinion on that. I would have to look at a specific piece of legislation when it comes to cap and trade, the bill that has been pout there supposedly out there to combat climate change. I’m opposed to cap and trade because of the economic consequences. What it will do to the individual household, skyrocketing our utility bills beyond what we can afford, and it doesn’t address the real issue it was intended to address.


The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson notes, “In May, 2010, the National Academies of Science reported to Congress that ‘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’ because global warming is ’caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for “” and in many cases is already affecting “” a broad range of human and natural systems.'”

That’s a TP cross-post.  Here’s another one.

OR Gov Candidate Chris Dudley: ‘I Don’t Know’ If Global Warming Is Man-Made

Like Christine O’Donnell and other know-nothing Tea Party candidates, Chris Dudley “” the Republican nominee for Oregon’s governor “” doesn’t know and doesn’t care if global warming is caused by fossil fuel pollution. Toeing the party line, Dudley opposes the Western Climate Initiative global warming agreement as a “cap-tax-trade” system that would “do damage to the economy and job creation.” He even bashed a weatherization initiative as a boondoggle. “Climate change is probably caused by a variety of factors,” Dudley said in a September interview with the Oregonian, “but that debate is beside the point.” In a gubernatorial debate on September 30, Dudley finally admitted he doesn’t know if pollution is causing global warming:

My thought on global warming is this: that global warming exists, man contributes to it, how much, I don’t know. I don’t know how much is man made and how much is natural.


In contrast, Democratic candidate John Kitzhaber is clear: “I do believe climate change is human-caused, and it poses an enormous threat to our country and to our nation.” While Dudley has been silent, Kitzhaber has issued a strategic roadmap for green economic empowerment in Oregon.

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76 Responses to National Journal: “The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones.”

  1. mike roddy says:

    Excellent and important piece, with two quibbles: Brownstein, formerly of the LA Times, is actually an excellent reporter, and has always understood more than the political angles. The LA Times, in fact, is much better than the New York Times when it comes to serious issues, especially in science and environmental reporting. Compare Margot Roosevelt to John Tierney, for example.

    The other quibble is with the description of Republicans as being self destructive. Commenters here often say that their absurd position on AGW will doom them. In my opinion, they are acting rationally within their sick value system. By becoming lockstep skeptics, GOP candidates ensure financial support from oil and coal and other major sectors such as utilities and banking. This enables them to cling to their seats in Congress, where they can enjoy the lifestyle plus perks, often including juicy jobs as lobbyists after they leave office.

    One result has been that America’s dysfunctional political system is now viewed with sadness and disbelief by the rest of the world. They, too, observe the Republican party “discipline” on global warming positions enforced by oil soaked hillbillies like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.

    I don’t know how we solve this except by recruiting scientists from our great universities to go forth in public en masse, and forcefully express the horror that these awful Republican “leaders” are unleashing on the world. We are going to have to ask our smartest people to change-to go public, and to speak in clear language to the American people, asking them to demand a rational energy policy. If this is done repeatedly and in detail, the absurd claims of the deniers will evaporate in the minds of a lot more Americans, and we will have a chance.

  2. Scrooge says:

    IMO just on the national security side of the issue this could be dangerous. If the rest of the world decided to punish us economically they could do so. The mideast would still sell us oil but they already hate is now.

  3. Peter M says:

    The GOP is totally rejecting climate science- but they do so with much peril- it will come back to haunt them politically for a long time -if not forever. Like The word ‘Depression’ and ‘Hoover’ haunted the republicans in the past- the word ‘Denier’ will as well.

  4. The Republican Party won’t be so important if it weren’t such a major party. The UK also has the UKIP (which has His Moncktonship among its ranks), but they don’t matter that much, because few people even care a hoot about them.

    So the question is, why are the Republicans still allowed to be such a major force in politics?

    frank

  5. Tim L. says:

    Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s dangerous.

  6. This is a necessary position because the GOP puts corporations before humankind.
    Just thinking about how disruptive it will be to adapt to a sustainable business model sans fossil fuels gives me a headache, but for the GOP, their heads explode.

  7. Ken Johnson says:

    I think the GOP’s “absolutist rejection of climate science” can be more accurately characterized as an “absolutist rejection of cap-and-trade”. There might be some basis of dialog between progressives and conservatives if both sides would avoid construing “climate science” as a euphemism for “cap-and-trade”.

  8. caerbannog says:


    Ken Johnson says:
    I think the GOP’s “absolutist rejection of climate science” can be more accurately characterized as an “absolutist rejection of cap-and-trade”.

    Can you name some leading GOP politicians who have made any kind of effort to educate the GOP rank-and-file about the science supporting global-warming? (With supporting references, of course). Can you name even *one* GOP politician who has publicly come out in support of the National Academy of Sciences on this issue?

  9. Doug Bostrom says:

    Does anybody really believe the core leadership of the GOP has an actual problem with science?

    This is all about the GOP clawing its way back into power using whatever means are necessary, most particularly in this case tapping into soft money. Meanwhile, soft money is gushing like a freshly tapped naturally flowing well because the inflection point of C02 regulation is imminent.

    You dance with them as brung you.

    This “rejection” of science is all about castrating the EPA.

  10. pete best says:

    blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100058265/us-physics-professor-global-warming-is-the-greatest-and-most-successful-pseudoscientific-fraud-i-have-seen-in-my-long-life/

    Somehow this needs to be answered regardless. This physics guys is obviosuly disilusioned by the current state of mega science and sees things Moncktons way. Shame really that before he resigned he did not get some other peoples opinion on the subject matter.

    The right will love this and it requires being answered.

    [JR: It’s been answered hundreds of times. That’s what the scientific literature and major scientific reviews are for. As Kuhn says, emeritus professors INSIDE a field are the last to get it. This guy isn’t even in a field remotely related to climate science. To call the National Academy of Sciences and every major scientific organization in this country including the APS part of a fraud shows a catastrophic lack of understanding of climate science.]

  11. Ron Broberg says:

    Can you name some leading GOP politicians who have made any kind of effort to educate the GOP rank-and-file about the science supporting global-warming? (With supporting references, of course). Can you name even *one* GOP politician who has publicly come out in support of the National Academy of Sciences on this issue?

    Sen. John McCain before his 2008 run for President. Of course, that John McCain bears little resemblance to the John McCain during his 2008 run or afterwards.

    Supporting reference:
    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/McCainLetter.pdf

  12. Lewis C says:

    Beam me at 3 –

    With respect, your post doesn’t address the fact that around the world corporations and their political servants face exactly the same calculation. Elsewhere, it is recognized that action on climate is essential; within America, it is not.

    The GOP conduct is thus national rather than specifically corporate in origin. America, with its wealth due in large part to the petro-dollar’s dynamics, faces a unique loss of hegemony through commensurate global action on climate.

    Cap, Allocate & Trade within America is a small concern compared to the real fear – that of the necessary global regime of Cap, Allocate & Trade under which US fossil usage will fall rapidly, and will require the buying in emissions permits from other nations’ surpluses to avoid US fossil fuel usage falling precipitously.

    Denying the problem exists is merely the chosen tactic to block the treaty and avoid facing this reality for as long as possible. Obama’s total lack of effort on public education, (quite apart from his disabling the senate bill’s negotiation) indicates a degree of tacit participation in this conduct.

    One of its many disadvantages of the GOP’s outright denial tactic is that it precludes the essential public discussion of creative options by which America’s position might be ameliorated. The eminently affordable grant-funding of its share of global afforestation for charcoal sequestration, by which US historical emissions could be steadily recovered, is just one of those creative options that could transform America’s liability for its problematic carbon debt.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  13. Berbalang says:

    Ken Johnson @ 4: At this point the GOP has emotionally invested so much in rejecting Climate Science that it has become central to their worldview and anything that contradicts it must be rejected, even if that involves rejecting all rational thought. In fact it would be a good tactic against teabaggers to put them in situations where they will have to do so publicly.

    A bit off subject, but I got to thinking about the 10:10 video and got to remembering the Dirty Tracks used in the Nixon Campaigns. There do seem to be some interesting parallels with recent events like the 10:10 video and the so-called “climategate” emails. I am wondering how many of Donald Segretti’s students are involved in climate denial movement.

  14. fj2 says:

    We are definitely in a period of climate insecurity with the significant probability that waves of catastrophic climate events will ultimately disable normal functioning of this country.

  15. mike roddy says:

    Lewis C, good one.

  16. Mike says:

    Just as we are the only developed country where creationism is taken seriously. We decided not to fix our schools and now the world will pay the price.

  17. Craig says:

    “The deniers are discrediting themselves” is a very interesting post from Greenfyre’s blog.

    http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/the-deniers-are-discrediting-themselves/

    Is it possible that much of the conservative movement might forever discredit itself for continuing to deny climate change and obstruct any meaningful action?

    I certainly hope so. My gut feeling however is that most will never be held accountable. And besides, I’m more worried about preserving a livable climate than burying movement conservatism (although maybe the former isn’t possible unless the latter first happens).

  18. richard pauli says:

    Mike Roddy – good comment on the reasons for Republican unification.

    The PR danger for the Repubs is that after the rest of the world admits human causes for global warming… then the unified Republicans will have to shoulder direct blame for any subsequent damage. i.e. the PR logic will be that since the early accepters wanted to start mitigation, hence the later deniers have directly caused more of a problem.

    Or put another way, if we have sounded the fire alarm and sent out the response, and the house burns down anyway — then those who last blocked and obstructed are the ones to blame.

    It will be interesting to see the Republican party’s expression of this twisted thinking – because they are now tasked with an even greater challenge in opinion manipulation.

    They must feel very confident.

  19. Sasparilla says:

    Excellent comment Mike Roddy (#1).

    The National Journal article really lays it out well, totally tragic.

    Its very hard to see how the GOP will get itself out of the corner they’ve boxed themselves into on this issue (cheering themselves on as they do so). But the Koch’s and their ilk are happy as can be as they help make this happen – and doom modern civilization in the process.

  20. Catchblue22 says:

    Those who can make people believe absurdities can make them commit atrocities.
    Voltaire

    Every time I think of the Tea Party, I think of this quote.

  21. BBHY says:

    Even George W. Bush campaigned on reducing CO2 back in 2000. He immediately changed his mind once he was elec, err selected by the Supreme Republi, err Court.

    So that was probably just a throw away, say-anything-to-get-elected campaign promise. But still, the Tea-publicans have now veered very, very sharply to the right since Obama.

  22. Raul M. says:

    Main stay of opinion was that mankind couldn’t
    change the environment that much to make so
    much difference, Now it’s don’t talk about it.
    Glad many still find a way to face reality.

  23. Bill Waterhouse says:

    Why has the GOP become so resolutely and uniformly anti-science? Why is the U.S. political system unique among democracies in having such a powerful anti-science party? Is it an unhappy combination of corporate-funded political campaigns, know-nothing populism, weak secondary education, and a dumbed-down, celebrity-obsessed mass media? Looking for an expert on comparative world political institutions to explain how we got into this mess and how we can get out of it.

  24. peter whitehead says:

    One of your problems is that the Centre of Gravity for US politics is far to the right of, for example, the UK.

    Hague is a UK Conservative – but the bulk of the UK Conservatives are roughly in the same place as liberal Democrats – they totally support the National Health Service. At the rightwrd end of the UK Conservatives, and in UKIP (tiny minority party), you find people like the GOP. THe nearest thing to the Tea party is the far-right BNP who hate Muslims, immigrants, the ‘political liberal elite’ etc.

    However, the UK has a Liberal Democrat Party (left of the Conservatives) and a Labour Party (democratic socialist).

    So the current UK system has a Conservative/LibDem coalition government with an official Opposition Labour Party. UKIP and the BNP have NO Members of Parliament.

    Broadly speaking, the Tea Party would regard just about ALL British politicians as extreme left-wingers!

  25. gus says:

    The GOP has essentially become the Insane Clown Posse.

  26. fj2 says:

    #23. Bill Waterhouse, “. . . to explain how we got into this mess . . . ”

    You may start with Bill McKibben’s “Eaarth” page 55 (of today’s 10/10/10 event):

    ” . . . the existing fossil fuel infrastructure, from power plants and supertankers to oil furnaces and SUVs, is worth at least $10 trillion, and scheduled to operate anywhere from ten to fifty more years before its capital costs can be paid off. If we shut it down early, merely to save the planet someone will have to eat that cost . . . “

  27. Barry says:

    Anti-climate-science tactic works for the GOP because Americans are more desperate to believe that there isn’t a problem than are citizens of any other nation.

    The reason is simple: Americans, both collectively and individually, have done the most climate damage. And Americans continue to wallow at the bottom of the list of people doing something about their daily damage.

    The GOP are preaching to the choir.

    The quote I always think of is Upton Sinclair’s lament that it is very hard to get a person to believe something if their job requires they don’t believe it.

    Accepting climate science for Americans means accepting that they are uniquely guilty of a planetary disaster…and that they need to act like adults and do something exceptional about it as a result.

    Layer on top of that the fact that selling fossil fuels, especially oil, is like printing money. The 8 largest corporations in the world by profits are oil companies. They are fully integrated into the American society and politics. We are the main addicts, spending our remaining treasure and military capabilities on buying oil from others.

    It is a unprecedented cash cow that the people who profit from it will fight to keep milking.

    America is unique in its historical levels of climate damage…so it sadly makes sense that America would be unique in its response to the science pointing the finger at the problem.

  28. Steve Bloom says:

    Re the Hal Lewis APS resignation mentioned by Pete Best in #10, what we have here is a long-retired physicist well into his 80s who has never worked on climate and who holds what can be fairly described as crackpot views of the science and badly warped views of the politics:

    I think it behooves us to be careful about how we state the science. I know of nobody who denies that the Earth has been warming for thousands of years without our help (and specifically since the Little Ice Age a few hundred years ago), and is most likely to continue to do so in its own sweet time. The important question is how much warming does the future hold, is it good or bad, and if bad is it too much for normal adaptation to handle. The real answer to the first is that no one knows, the real answer to the second is more likely good than bad (people and plants die from cold, not warmth), and the answer to the third is almost certainly not. And nobody doubts that CO2 in the atmosphere has been increasing for the better part of a century, but the disobedient temperature seems not to care very much. And nobody denies that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, along with other gases like water vapor, but despite the claims of those who are profiting by this craze, no one knows whether the temperature affects the CO2 or vice versa. The weight of the evidence is the former.

    So the tragedy is that the serious questions are quantitative, and it’s easy to fool people with slogans. If you say that the Earth is warming you are telling the truth, but not the whole truth, and if you say it is due to the burning of fossil fuels you are on thin ice. If you say that the Earth is warming and therefore catastrophe lies ahead, you are pulling an ordinary bait and switch scam. If you are a demagogue, of course, these distinctions don’t bother you — you have little interest in that quaint concept called truth.

    So it isn’t simple, and the catastrophe mongers are playing a very lucrative game.

    To borrow Al Gore’s phrase, every bit of that is wrong. Note that he even contradicts himself on the recent global temperature rise. People who play this fast and loose with the science and the politics deserve no attention.

  29. Esop says:

    #27 (Steve): Absolutely correct. What is interesting is that Hal Lewis resigning is now front page news in Norwegian media under the title “Global Warming: The greatest scam in history”. Needless to mention, large sections of the Norwegian media has made the flip from rather reasonable to EXTREMELY denialist friendly over the past year.
    The story is naturally on fire in the denialosphere as well. There is a very good reason for this: divert attention from the Wegman investigation at all cost. The Wegman case could prove extremely damaging for the bizarre cult of science denial. The timing of the Hal Lewis resigning is a textbook example of wagging the dog.

  30. fj2 says:

    ” . . . now the military worries about ‘a string of bad events, of landslides, tornadoes, and hurricanes.'” Eaarth, page 84, last paragraph

  31. Heard Joe speak at climate rally in DC. Thanks for educating us about the need for us to wake up to the political realities. It is indeed frustrating to see how GOP is in the pockets of climate denial machine. All the more reason for all of us who care about the planet to do everything we can to stop them from gaining more power on Nov. 2 midterms.

  32. The part of this article that most concerns me is the headline: “The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones.”

    If true, and it seems so from my reading of newspapers, then global disaster must follow unless the GOP can be rendered harmless in some miraculous way and Obama and his congressional friends can keep the flame of de-carbonization alive until the U.S. comes to its senses.

  33. Steve Bloom says:

    Leif, blockquoting generally means that someone is being quoted. Also, I would have thought the bit where I described the quoted views as “crackpot” would have been hard to miss.

    But on your response, while I agree with everything you listed, it misses the key point that it’s not, as the old phrase goes, so much the heat as the humidity (or the lack thereof), notwithstanding that the heat is plenty bad. I don’t recall Joe ever having blogged on this but, consistent with predictions, as the atmosphere warms, it expands, and as it expands the entire circulation shifts poleward. (Personally I find this effect panic-inducing, but others seem to disagree.) In addition, as Joe has blogged on numerous occasions, the hydrologic cycle accelerates. Put them together and you get this (title/abstract):

    Recent decline in the global land evapotranspiration trend due to limited moisture supply

    More than half of the solar energy absorbed by land surfaces is currently used to evaporate water. Climate change is expected to intensify the hydrological cycle and to alter evapotranspiration, with implications for ecosystem services and feedback to regional and global climate. Evapotranspiration changes may already be under way, but direct observational constraints are lacking at the global scale. Until such evidence is available, changes in the water cycle on land — a key diagnostic criterion of the effects of climate change and variability — remain uncertain. Here we provide a data-driven estimate of global land evapotranspiration from 1982 to 2008, compiled using a global monitoring network, meteorological and remote-sensing observations, and a machine-learning algorithm. In addition, we have assessed evapotranspiration variations over the same time period using an ensemble of process-based land-surface models. Our results suggest that global annual evapotranspiration increased on average by 7.1 ± 1.0 millimetres per year per decade from 1982 to 1997. After that, coincident with the last major El Niño event in 1998, the global evapotranspiration increase seems to have ceased until 2008. This change was driven primarily by moisture limitation in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly Africa and Australia. In these regions, microwave satellite observations indicate that soil moisture decreased from 1998 to 2008. Hence, increasing soil-moisture limitations on evapotranspiration largely explain the recent decline of the global land-evapotranspiration trend. Whether the changing behaviour of evapotranspiration is representative of natural climate variability or reflects a more permanent reorganization of the land water cycle is a key question for earth system science.

    This press release has a bit more.

  34. J Bowers says:

    Joe, you mention William Hague, but please don’t go expecting too much from the latest government here.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/oct/10/david-cameron-solar-panels
    “David Cameron in U-turn over solar panels:
    Conservative leader had promised to increase payments to early adopters but the move has now been ruled out”

  35. Spaceman Spiff says:

    Sigh. Just replace the words “climate science” with “evolutionary biology”, or indeed with just the word “science”, and the story reads just about the same.

  36. Gerald Einem says:

    I am appalled when denial blogs show such a rudimentary knowledge of basic science and especially climate science.Please stay off ths blog until you educete yourself.

  37. Joe says:

    This is why I really hope other countries make acknowledgement of the reality of climate change so obvious that they embarrass and shame the GOP into changing their position. If other countries take the lead (it’s already happening for sure), so that every other political group in the world accepts the science (may be we are there now), GOP politicians and American conservatives will eventually be forced to change through peer pressure. (who will be the first Republican to admit they were wrong on this?)

  38. Lewis C says:

    JBowers at 34 –

    It is worth putting your link in context rather than accepting its relevance as a blanket critique.

    As you’ll know, the coalition government in the UK is beset by a truly massive inherited debt which it has chosen to try to cut, rather than risk taking on additional borrowing and thereby losing international markets’ confidence of the ability to repay, which would lead to economically ruinous rates of interest and, potentially, to economic collapse.

    Thus government departments have been told to prepare for 25% annual budget cuts on average during the next four years. Under this requirement, it is scarcely surprising that the more expensive of non-fossil energy options for the UK, such as house-scale solar, are going to face reduced support.

    On the other hand, some more appropriate options for the UK, such as biomass, are to receive increased support under the launch next spring of the ‘Renewable Heat Initiative’.

    It is also worth noting that all renewable energy options share the same fundamental shortcoming as energy efficiency options, namely that without a global cap on emissions any fossil fuels displaced by them will be bought and burnt elsewhere. Thus what matters as the critical priority is the government’s efforts towards achieving that binding global cap.

    In this regard they have clearly broken fresh ground since taking office. Mr Hague’s unprecedentedly blunt speech to the CFR, warning both of the self harm of the US policy of inaction, and of Europe’s rising interdependence with Asia, was one example of that. Mr Huhne’s initiation of French and German support for raising the EU target from 20% to 30% off 1990 by 2020 was another, and has already been productive in raising diplomatic co-operation with developing countries on the issue of climate.

    If the coalition government was maintaining the support of household solar you mention, but was following the Whitehouse’s example of using a high-profile push for renewable energy as a distraction from its persistent inaction on the vital national and global climate legislation, I would be among the first to criticize it as a greenwashing fraud.

    Given that UK policy is now very disinct from that of the US, as long as it remains one of the most constructive governments on the planet, I suggest that it warrants our support and encouragement, as well as vigilant monitoring.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  39. Chris Winter says:

    Joe,

    Since you’re now covering gubernatorial races, have a look at Paul LePage, Republican candidate in Maine. He’s declared climate change a “scam.” A 22 September Rasmussen poll puts him in the lead, but Grist says (1 October) that he’s now neck and neck with the Democrat.

    See also the Lewiston Sun-Journal:

    http://www.sunjournal.com/state/story/917686

  40. Chris Winter says:

    RE: the quote from the Hal Lewis resignation letter that Steve Bloom provided.

    “…people and plants die from cold, not warmth…”

    Just this one bit is so absurd that I hardly know how to address it. Surely Lewis has heard about the 2003 heat wave in Europe. It probably slipped his mind.

    Too much has slipped his mind.

  41. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #29: I’m sorry to hear that, Esop. It would seem that the tendency to dislike scientists and environmentalists isn’t limited to the English-speaking press.

  42. Mike wrote in 16:

    Just as we are the only developed country where creationism is taken seriously. We decided not to fix our schools and now the world will pay the price.

    Well, there are a few places where creationism seems to be gaining a foothold.

    Like Australia:

    CREATIONISM and intelligent design will be taught in Queensland state schools for the first time as part of the new national curriculum.

    In Queensland schools, creationism will be offered for discussion in the subject of ancient history, under the topic of “controversies”.

    Creationism to be taught in Queensland classrooms
    By Carly Hennessy, The Sunday Mail (Qld), May 30, 2010
    http://www.news.com.au/national/creationism-to-be-taught-in-queensland-classrooms/story-e6frfkvr-1225873019548

    … Northern Ireland:

    Last month Nelson McCausland, DUP assembly member and Northern Ireland culture minister, wrote to the trustees of National Museums Northern Ireland about how “to ensure that museums are reflective of the views, beliefs and cultural traditions” of the region. This included a more specific stipulation – referring explicitly to the Ulster Museum, the letter called for alternative views of the origin of the universe to be accommodated. In other words, creationism was to be incorporated into the museum’s natural history displays. That an elected minister should make such a suggestion is a development that should be taken seriously….

    While the allegedly level-headed British have derided Kentucky’s Creation Museum, where dinosaurs are shown with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the idea of incorporating creationism into our heritage sites is now getting a foothold here.

    Creationist claims in Northern Ireland
    Sophia Deboick, guardian.co.uk, Saturday 19 June 2010
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/jun/19/creationism-northern-ireland

    … Scotland:

    Dr Noble denied the theory of intelligent design – that a universal engineer, or god, created the initial spark of life then used physical laws and natural selection to develop it – was religious.

    “I think people are afraid of this debate because they sense it’s religion from the back door. They see it as an invasion of science with religion, but it most certainly is not that,” he said.

    However, critics dismissed intelligent design as “a front for creationism”.

    Would you Adam and Eve it? Top scientists tell Scottish pupils: the Bible is true
    EXCLUSIVE: Chris Watt, 10 Oct 2010
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/education/would-you-adam-and-eve-it-top-scientists-tell-scottish-pupils-the-bible-is-true-1.1060545?localLinksEnabled=false

    Oh, and England of course:

    MORE than half of Britons believe beliefs such as creationism should be taught alongside evolution in school science lessons, a survey reveals.

    And almost one in ten say they do not think evolution should be taught in science classes at all, according to the British Council’s poll.

    The survey, which questioned nearly 1,000 Britons as part of a worldwide study of 10,000 people, found that three-quarters of those polled believe children should be taught the theories of evolution in science lessons.

    Teach creationism in schools, say parents
    Published Date: 26 October 2009
    By Alison Kershaw
    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/uk/Teach-creationism-in-schools-say.5764829.jp

    Been bit of a problem there for a while now, actually. Peter Vardy’s academies — which taught creationism as an alternative to evolution — were even getting state funding for a time. But beyond Australia, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England I don’t know too many places. Then again, I only speak English and you might want to take that into account.

    However, if you are concerned about creationism in the UK there is a place to visit:

    British Centre for Science Education
    http://www.bcseweb.org.uk

  43. Penelope Milstein says:

    Thank you Mr Romm, for Climate Progress I enjoy reading it very much- from as far as Australia.

    I understand difficult battles, having campaigned in Australia for climate action, however the situation unfolding in America beggars belief.

    Those Republicans who deny the science, ignore the evidence and risk the futures of their fellow countrymen are simply immoral people. On the whole the situation reflects appallingly on your nation and particularly on your Republicans.

  44. Leif says:

    Steve Bloom,@33: I apologize for being so obtuse. Senior moment.

  45. Steve Bloom says:

    Further to #33 on evapotranspiration, see this article (covered her last week, although not in its own post) on new results finding a substantial increase in river discharge globally, which serves to fill in the observational gap in the evapotranspiration paper.

  46. Roger says:

    Well, a bit OT, but we shouldn’t let 10.10.10 end without saying a brief word about the amazing 7000+ worldwide climate actions that 350.org orchestrated today.

    One of the best was undoubtedly the White House Work Party in DC at which climate heroes Jim Hansen, Rick Piltz and CP,s own JR spoke so well, among others. Our event’s main messages were directed at our main man, namely:

    1. Promote green energy policies that put Americans to work.

    2. Support sound, science-based policies to get to 350 ppm.

    3. Push for energy policies that consider climate justice.

    4. Lead by example, showing Americans the enlightened path forward to a sustainable future, and explaining to them the urgent need to act NOW!

    All CP readers can advance the cause by calling the White House comment line at 202-456-1111, M-F, 9-5, then telling the volunteer operators what you think the president should do, drawing from the above, etc.

    Warm regards,

    Roger

  47. Heraclitus says:

    J Bowers, Cameron may be wavering but at least Tim Yeo (Conservative MP and chair of the Energy and Climate Change committee) is getting the rhetoric right and fighting his corner. In the Guardian he compares cutting investment in low-carbon technology to cutting the budget for spitfires in 1939.

    “Cutting spending on low carbon technologies now, would be like cutting the budget for Spitfires in 1939. The UK was running an even bigger deficit in the 1930s, but we would never have won the battle of Britain if spending on defence had been sacrificed. Of course, today we are not faced with imminent invasion, but in many ways the destabilisation of the global climate also poses a grave threat to our long term national security. In future, climate change could jeopardise our food security, cause unprecedented mass migration and conceivably even spark wars. It would be folly, and something of a false economy, to cut investment on green infrastructure now.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/10/environment-adviser-green-funding-cuts

  48. Lewis C says:

    Heraclitus at 45 –

    Tim Yeo’s comments are quite an indicator of how far formerly bland conservative MPs are moving. Your quote includes one of very few printed references to “the destabilization of the global climate” that I’ve seen – way ahead even of Holdren’s language in recommending the term “climate disruption.”

    The spitfire analogy is spot on too – though it perhaps has more resonance in Britain than elsewhere – few people abroad may have realized that without the investment in that aeroplane, the battle of Britain with the German Luftwaffe for air supremacy would not have been won, the invasion of Britain would would have been certain, and there’d have been no safe haven for US forces to prepare to help put down nazism in Europe.

    The fact that a first large batch of spitfires was ordered off the drawing board, without any years of prototype testing, shows just what can be done when imminent peril is recognized.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  49. William P says:

    The governing and first principle of the Republican Party today is enhancement and protection of corporations.

    Don’t be fooled by their statements about Muslim take over of America, anti-abortion, stands against gay marriage, etc. These hot button issues are not really principles of the Party, but simply to gain voters. The Republican cable channel, Fox “News” and other right wing media is their ancillary arm for accomplishing this.

    Given that the concept of global warming may pose a threat to oil, coal and other corporations, the Party automatically takes the position it either does not exist, or global warming is no threat to the US.

  50. Colorado Bob says:

    Harold Lewis has the denier email chain working over time.

    America has 2 men in their 80’s workin’ in Europe right now. Sowing the same seeds we know here so well. These people are very good at dropping rocks in the pond over there, and having the waves wash in here.

  51. perceptiventity says:

    Monkton as a congressional witness and an “expert” on science is invited by a republican Sensenbrenner…

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/104594179.HTML

  52. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    In my opinion fj2 #26 has it correct. The amount of money involved in the fossil fuels industry is unprecedented, and the psychopaths of big business and Rightwing politics care far, far,more about money than life. In Australia the decidely illiberal ‘Liberal’ Party, and the bucolic boofheads of the ‘National’ Party are very nearly as fanatical as the US Republicans. They have a number of Rightwing ‘think-tanks’, financed by Big Business at their service and the Murdoch media pathocracy is 110% behind denialism, with not only staggering bias (which it displays regarding every issue) but a cynical hypocrisy that still staggers, as it asserts that its total bias is ‘even-handedness’. You know-‘Fair and Balanced’.
    We’ll never get anywhere until we realise and acknowledge that the denialists are not rational human beings capable of being persuaded by argument and facts. These are deranged ideological zealots, most intellectually incapable of thinking through the issue, who despise climate scientists and climate realists with fanatical hatred. We’ve seen nothing yet in regard to witch-hunts, inquisitions and pogroms against climate science-nothing.

  53. David Ferrell says:

    Lewis C –

    Thanks for the illuminating comments (#12, #38, and #46) above. Your position as a citizen of the relatively advanced UK, where democracy and capitalism are not interpreted in the laissez-faire sense of meaning that “anything goes” but are balanced by a degree of cooperation and social responsibility, gives you an educated and informed perspective on the deteriorating situation in the USA that is very valuable. It’s a great relief for me to be able to link to this website and find a sanitizing, objective perspective like yours from “across the pond,” as we say.

    Myself having Scottish ancestors going back a thousand years and more, I can sympathize with your views. It’s as if my ancestral blood has been roused by the nuttiness of so much that is going on in the USA right now. This Country is headed toward status as a third-rate power, and rightly deserves to be marginalized, if not declared an outlaw nation—a rogue state. The USA is close to the point where a U.N. takeover would be appropriate, however impractical at this time. If Republicans score major gains in the upcoming election, I’ll be openly in favor of it. Then we’ll see how much “freedom of speech” there is in the USA. The politically-motivated persecution of noted climate scientists for their research, writing, and publication already tells us about the threatened status of “freedom” in America, and not just academic freedom, doesn’t it? The United States of America today, on the brink of domination by lunatics on the extreme Right, is close to where Germany was under Hitler in 1936. I’m not in favor of a policy of appeasement.

    In this connection, I would like to direct your attention to a devastating ClimateProgress commentary post by FedUpWithDenial at

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/10/01/bill-mckibben-days-that-suck/#comment-299205

    which is relevant to this discussion and (in its own way) resonates with and affirms with many of the points you made in your comments above. Check it out. (That particular page also has one of your comments, but it’s earlier in the sequence.)
    _____________________________

    BTW, I just posted a reply on your comment #18 at the page

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/10/06/energy-global-warming-news-wind-farms-extend-growing-season-japan-vows-climate-bill-river-flows-rise/

    Since your comment had been posted several days ago, I thought I’d mention that I answered it as you might not otherwise see it at this point. My comment is #25 in the sequence.

    Regards,
    David

  54. fj2 says:

    Governance seriously addressing climate change is just too important not to happen and The New Yorker has a detailed article on the first major try.

    It seems that Lindsey Graham acted in good faith despite considerable pressure as did Joseph Lieberman, John Kerry, and President Barack Obama. Mistakes were made and the president could have tried harder. And it appears to have been a very difficult complex effort where a lot had to be given away in a dense political environment where lobbying forces had tripled.

    As the World Burns
    How the Senate and the White House missed their best chance to deal with climate change.

    by Ryan Lizza

    October 11, 2010

    The New Yorker

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/11/101011fa_fact_lizza

  55. fj2 says:

    From Popular Science

    How Modified Worms and Goats Can Mass-Produce Nature’s Toughest Fiber http://bit.ly/9sjzhE

    “Darwin’s bark spider makes the largest webs in the world, spinning silk that is 10 times stronger than Kevlar.”

  56. fj2 says:

    More from Popular Science

    Carbon Is So Hot Right Now: Chemistry Nobel Awarded for Carbon-Bonding Technique http://bit.ly/d9dAQQ

    First graphene, now this: Carbon is just the hottest element on the block these days. The 2010 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has just been awarded to three chemists who have come up with a technique that allows them to build carbon-based molecules as complex as those found in nature.

  57. fj2 says:

    PopSci PopSci
    U.S. Military Aims to Use 50 Percent Renewable Energy Within Ten Years http://bit.ly/dm5cF0

    Yes!!!

    The U.S. military has proven one of the fiercest proponents of renewable energy, and for totally practical reasons — most importantly cost and safety. Now, military higher-ups plan to rely on renewable energy resources for 50 percent of their power by 2020, which could help worldwide advancement of those technologies immeasurably. One company of Marines saddled with tons of solar power tech, is kickstarting this revolution.

    The military is not a new player on the renewable energy scene; the Navy has previously pledged to have a “Green Strike Group” by 2012, was the biggest purchaser of electric cars in the country, and is working on “zero-footprint” camps. These aren’t ideological choices — renewable energy and many of its applications are simply better than fossil fuels in many ways.

  58. fj2 says:

    PopSci PopSci
    Powder-Powered Electric-Assist Bike Runs on Water and Magic Metallic Dust http://bit.ly/a7AamS

  59. Mark says:

    “The American way of life is not negotiable”

    attributed to George H.W. Bush.

    [JR: That, of course, is precisely why we need aggressive climate action. There is no graver threat to the American way of life — or anyone else’s way of life — than destroying our climate.]

  60. CW says:

    This post raises a very good point that should be taken further. Some important inconsistencies to promote in hopes of reaching as many swing voters as possible:

    =====================================

    1) Republicans on the science : officially reject

    Rest of the world`s conservatives? Officially accept (with some pockets of skepticism)

    State and municipal conservatives? Many accept

    Large fraction of religious organisations? Officially accept

    Many Christian churches & organisations? Officially accept

    Many large businesses and business leaders? Officially accept

    Military leaders? Officially accept

    2) Republicans on cap and trade for GHGs : officially reject

    Republicans on cap and trade for other substances? Proponents & initiators

    Rest of the world`s conservatives? Positive to mixed acceptance

    Many large businesses and business leaders? Officially accept & large fraction would prefer a tax on GHGs as simpler

    Large proportion of world`s economists? Accept (along with general concept of pricing emissions)

    =====================================

    I could go on but the idea is just to expand on the idea of Republicans as isolated/extremists/loners/etc. This more comprehensive comparison needs to be done as being at odds with just one or two other groups on the science of climate change can look like they`re taking a courageous stand of principle against others, but if you start to show just how isolated they are in a broader social context, Republican legitimacy can be put under greater threat. And remember, given the tendancy towards authoritative and dogmatic thinking of them and their followers or potential followers, it is a lack of social authority and legitimacy which will work more against them than logic, facts and science. Similarly, the point that they`re not against cap and trade for other substances is also an important challenge to their false brand of consistent, principled and clear minded authority.

    Finally, in line with the above, the more that you can get some important “unusual suspects” against the Republican stance here the better. We need “Joe the plummers” but in reverse on the Republicans on these issues. Firemen, military men, businessmen, cops, emergency workers, farmers, cowboys, etc. Somebody should do a master table and begin campaigns to work on the rows where the numbers are lower or less well known.

  61. paulm says:

    If the US military knows what is in store due to climate change, should they step in and suspend democracy to address the issue?

  62. paulm says:

    THe UK foreign affairs has a YouTube channel which is pretty impressive….
    See the UK Scientific adviser on CC…

    “…2c is problematic, 4c is catastrophic!”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfK4HRNJSrY&feature=channel

  63. paulm says:

    great clip Beam me up!

  64. fj2 says:

    #63 paulm, “US military . . . suspend democracy to address the issue ”

    Why on eaarth should that be even considered?

    The US military needs only act rationally and with extreme urgency on the emergency at hand. Democracy is a human-centric political system as will be the most effective response to the crisis with intense investment and restoration of natural systems where humanity is the most important component.

  65. fj2 says:

    A Green Military
    Robert de Neufville, Big Think, Oct 9, 2010

    “. . . energy efficient technologies simply make a lot of sense.

    . . . while gas costs the military just $1 a gallon it can cost over $400 a gallon to get that gas to some forward bases.”

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/24418

  66. paulm wrote in 63:

    If the US military knows what is in store due to climate change, should they step in and suspend democracy to address the issue?

    Concern trolling?

  67. Raul M. says:

    Not sure if founders of democratic republic
    believed that the average person was not
    intelligent enough or knowledgeable enough
    to understand the US Constitution at it’s
    founding, but there could be ample of
    events shown that say the public doesn’t
    understand the basic rights of Nature.

  68. Dan says:

    As a Canadian, I can say this with certainty: If the GOP is the world’s leading climate denial political party, then Canada’s Conservative Party (federal level) is a close second (they are all drunk on Alberta tar sands).

  69. fj2 says:

    The military could be there to provide the infrastructure, coordination, guidance, resources, information, security, and logistics for action on the largest possible scale and its nature will change dramatically to meet the challenge to channel the extraordinary capabilities of human potential.

    It is the people of this planet who must come together and win the war against climate change and our self-destructive follies.

    Most effectively, it will be a war of the most extraordinary benevolence, Genesis-like, and regenerative.

    . . . or, the machines could take over Matrix-like and figure out that they can get the most from us by keeping everyone happy.

  70. Tim says:

    @ #71

    But here’s what is really mind-boggling about the GOP: the US imports oil – more than any other nation on the planet – it should be political suicide to pursue policies that don’t curb oil imports. At least there is a shortsighted logic to Canadian conservatives being climate deniers.

  71. Leif says:

    The roll of the Military going forward? I am glad to see this intriguing question addressed by the commentators on CP.

    There are some facts that need to be aired to proceed in my view. First, the US military budget is huge not only compared to our GDP but is almost larger than all the rest of the worlds military combined. ~$650 billion dollars a year. That money currently must come from a functioning(?) economy, largely, indirectly, supported by the fossil industry. The military also supports many high wage jobs in the private sector as well as provides spinoff technology that enhances the nations GDP.

    This presents a quandary for the military as the realization of the National Security issues inherent in Climatic Disruption will force the military to chose sides. Do they defend the Nation and its people from potentualy the biggest threat to the security of the nation we have ever faced? Perhaps using some of their resources greening the Nation and by extension the world. Does the Military clamp down on the “denier speak” that is only making the overall problem worse and preventing meaningful mitigation? Does the military side with the Fossil Industry to prevent immediate disruption to its cash flow? (Damn the people and the world but also the Nation that they have sworn to protect.) Can a volunteer army be convinced to support or fight for an army that disregards the well being of their families? Could a Green Army be a viable option to get the unemployed dead-end youth off the streets and quickly trained into a meaningful future? With universal health care by the by. Could a Green Army salvage our world standing by in fact improving the lives of others as opposed to blowing villagers up with death from the skies operated from afar. Might our defense dollars be better spent on a Green Army than a Bang, your are dead Army? The questions go on…

  72. fj2 says:

    Just like Microsoft had to reinvent itself to meet the challenges provided by the internet the military will have to reinvent itself to meet the challenges present by rapidly accelerating environmental devastation caused by climate change which is scientifically irrefutable.

    It will be called on to do so since it is best suited to take immediate and effective action during such a daunting crisis. Those resources applied to conventional war machinery no longer required in a high priority war against climate change will migrated and reassigned to the extreme effort for methods and machinery of climate change mitigation, environmental regeneration, and the tremendous human-capital investment necessary to meet the challenge. Additional resources will be provided as required. This will be the extraordinary opportunity for the military to prove its long-term positive worth in the ultimate effort that will not only save civilization but elevate the very nature of civilization completely consistent with goals and values detailed and intended by the founding fathers of this nation.

    Subverting suitable action is subverting national security and the well-being of the people of this country and the world.

  73. peter whitehead says:

    Sadly maintaining the ‘American way of life’is very problematic. If every human lived like an ‘average’ American, we’d need 5 planets to get the resources. If every human lived like an ‘average’ European we’d need 3 planets. Not sure where we go from there.