Dawn of the brain-dead Senate

GOP fills candidate slate with climate zombies who deny science

A comprehensive Wonk Room survey of the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate finds that nearly all dispute the scientific consensus that the United States must act to fight global warming pollution. 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.”

This finding is shared by scientific bodies around the world. However, in the alternate reality of the fossil-fueled right wing, climate science is confused or a conspiracy, and policies to limit pollution would destroy the economy.

Remarkably, of the dozens of Republicans vying for the 37 Senate seats in the 2010 election, none supports climate action. Even former climate advocates Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) now toe the science-doubting party line.

Many of the Senate candidates are signatories of the Koch Industries’ Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks Contract From America. The second plank of the Contract From America is to “Reject Cap & Trade: Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.”

In reality, a carbon cap-and-trade market “” by rewarding work instead of pollution “” would increase jobs, lower electricity bills, restore American competitiveness, and forestall a climate catastrophe.


ALABAMA — Richard ShelbyALASKA — Joe MillerARIZONA — John McCainARKANSAS — John BoozmanCALIFORNIA — Carly FiorinaCOLORADO — Ken BuckCONNECTICUT — Lisa McMahonDELAWARE — Mike Castle and Christine O’DonnellFLORIDA — Marco RubioGEORGIA — Jonny IsaksonHAWAII — Cam CavassoIDAHO — Mike CrapoILLINOIS — Mark KirkINDIANA — Dan CoatsIOWA — Chuck GrassleyKANSAS — Jerry MoranKENTUCKY — Rand PaulLOUISIANA — David VitterMARYLAND — Eric Wargotz, Jim Rutledge, John Kimble, et al.MISSOURI — Roy BluntNEVADA — Sharron AngleNEW HAMPSHIRE — Jim Bender, Gerard Beloin, Bill Binnie, Kelly Ayotte, Dennis Lamare and Ovide LamontagneNEW YORK #1 — Joe DioGuardi, Bruce Blakeman, and David MalpassNEW YORK #2 — Gary Berntsen and Jay TownsendNORTH CAROLINA — Richard BurrNORTH DAKOTA — John HoevenOHIO — Rob PortmanOKLAHOMA — Tom CoburnOREGON — Jim HuffmanPENNSYLVANIA — Pat ToomeySOUTH CAROLINA — Jim DeMintSOUTH DAKOTA — John ThuneUTAH — Mike LeeVERMONT — Len BrittonWASHINGTON — Dino RossiWEST VIRGINIA — John RaeseWISCONSIN — Ron JohnsonOverwhelmingly, the Republican candidates not only oppose action to limit global warming pollution, they question the validity of climate science. Here are a few quotes drawn from the Wonk Room report:

Gov. John Boozman, Arkansas:

“Well I think that we’ve got perhaps climate change going on. The question is what’s causing it. Is man causing it, or, you know, is this a cycle that happens throughout the years, throughout the ages. And you can look back some of the previous times when there was no industrialization, you had these different ages, ice ages, and things warming and things. That’s the question.” [KTHV Little Rock, 3/10]

Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri:

“There isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth.” [Human Events, 4/29/09]

Rep. Rob Portman, Ohio:

“When you analyze all the data, there is a warming trend according to science,” he said. “But the jury is out on the degree of how much is manmade.” [Columbus Dispatch, 7/25/10]

Jim Huffman, Oregon:

He casts doubt on scientists’ findings about global warming. It’s “rooted in some fairly vague science,” he says. “There are a lot of studies out there that offer alternative explanations for global climate variations.” Huffman opposes a cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, largely because it will be too expensive. He argues that it’s more realistic to adapt to climate change than disrupt peoples’ lives trying to prevent it. If some island nations become uninhabitable, he says, “I think that’s a tragedy, but we can adapt to that.”[Portland Tribune, 9/2/10]

To recap: 97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming, but 97% of GOP Senate candidates disagree.

See the comprehensive listing of all 37 races at the Wonk Room. — Brad Johnson

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