Only incredibly stupid human beings refuse to heed experts’ statements that indicate certain impending danger or some other extremely unpleasant situations just because they are not experts themselves. In the month leading up to the terror attacks on 9/11, Republican George W. Bush’s administration was warned more than once that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were planning to hijack commercial airliners and fly them into American buildings. It is old news today, but Bush and company ignored the warnings as a hoax and likely did not want to discuss it because they were not intelligence experts. Not much has changed for Republicans.
Over the past twenty years, at least, climate scientists have perpetually warned that carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels was warming the Earth’s climate and would create devastatingly extreme weather events, severe droughts, flooding, wildfires, melt the polar ice-caps and raise the sea-level. Republicans and their fossil fuel campaign donors claimed the warnings were a hoax perpetrated by liberal scientists, and refuse to even acknowledge man-made climate change or its damage to America because as John Boehner told a group of reporters last week, he would not discuss climate change on the grounds he was not a scientist. Other Republicans have refused to talk about the issue on the same grounds including Florida Governor Rick Scott, “I’m not a scientist,” Marco Rubio, “I’m not a scientist,” and until a month ago, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) said “I’m not sure, I’m not a scientist.” It is true, none of the Republicans are scientists, but they are beholden to the fossil fuel industry and will not discuss climate change because they cannot possibly deny the reality it is genuine and is devastating America.
Actual climate scientists say the tactic is irresponsible, dangerous, and ignores mountains of credible scientific information that is readily available for anyone to see, but by avoiding acknowledging or denying the reality of climate change, Republicans can continue doing the Koch brothers bidding and fight every regulation to stop it. The malice so evident in Republicans sidestepping the issue is not just that they will go to extreme measures to protect the profits of their campaign donors, but that they have utter contempt for the health and safety of the American people.
Thankfully, President Obama heeded the warnings of 97% of scientists and announced he was directing the Environmental Protection Agency to begin imposing regulations to cut coal-fired carbon emissions by 30% by 2030. Predictably, before the President even announced the EPA would begin imposing regulations to cut carbon emissions for Americans’ health and to reduce climate changes’ damage, several Republican states took pre-emptive action to prohibit federal interference in their handiwork to increase carbon emissions driving the devastating effects of global climate change. The Republicans claim the regulations are unfair and will cut into the profits of the fossil fuel industry and hurt electrical power providers too greedy to transition to renewable solar and wind power.
In the House of Representatives, Republicans signaled to the world that not only are they not discussing the veracity of man-made climate change, they signaled to the world they are smarter than climate scientists and officially denied that what 97% of climate scientists say is wrong and that there is no climate change threat. The House just passed, on a strictly party line vote, an amendment sponsored by Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia to prevent funds going to the Defense Department to address how climate change affects national security.
McKinley’s amendment says, “None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order.” McKinley’s amendment is in response to yet another Department of Defense warning that “the threat of climate change impacts a very serious national security vulnerability that will enable further terrorist activity.” The warning was in the very latest Defense Department 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, and accordingly Republicans took action to ensure the threat reaches fruition and America is vulnerable to a “very serious national security threat.”
Republicans are certainly not scientists, but they know man-made climate change is real and that their constituents have been feeling its devastating effects whether they want to discuss it or not. Most of the Republicans’ constituents are not scientists either, but results from a new Yale University poll released three days before President Obama’s announcement on Monday revealed that 65% of Americans support strict regulations on the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from existing coal-fired power plants in order to fight global warming and improve public health.
At this point in the “discussion,” no conscious American can deny man-made climate change is real or that its effects are wreaking havoc across the nation. For dog’s sake, even a 2012 Koch-funded comprehensive study found that “global warming is real, on the high side, and all due to man-made carbon emissions,” and yet they, their conservative think tanks, and Republicans not only refuse to acknowledge or discuss it because they are not scientists, they are actively fighting any attempt to stop it. However, it is the Republicans’ bovine excrement excuse that “I’m not a scientist so I can’t discuss it” that defines them as pure evil and without one shred of regard for national security, the American people, or the welfare of this nation.
The distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences, lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2013 report and the most recent (2014) National Climate Assessment detailing the current and very real effects of climate change, Donald J. Wuebbles said, “I don’t think it proper for any American to use that argument.” According to Wuebbles, the preponderance of climate change reports were written by scientists and other experts specifically so members of Congress could understand climate change and how it affects the country. Apparently, they cannot understand, or see with their own eyes the extreme droughts, flooding, wildfires, increased incidents of childhood asthma, or severe storms, so scientists made that report readily available and accessible for morons just so climate change could be “readily understood by any policymaker.” Wuebbles said, “The assessment represents the latest understanding of the science and is the most comprehensive report ever prepared for the American people on climate change. The report itself was done for Congress under a law passed by Congress.”
The effects of man-made global climate change are beyond refute and even for non-scientists, the increase in extreme weather events such as super-storms, severe flooding, wildfires, and particularly the extreme droughts affecting the entire the Western and Southwestern United States cannot be denied. Still, Republicans are taking pre-emptive action to thwart the President’s efforts to reduce the cause of climate change to protect the fossil fuel industry’s profits; the American people’s health, welfare, food source, and water be damned. It is the ultimate affront to the American people and yet in the Yale poll, 35% oppose any efforts to regulate carbon emissions and it is not because they are not scientists, but because they are bible stupid and too cognitively challenged to comprehend climate change. One wonders if, as they are washed away in floods, driven out of their homes by wildfires, or forced to suck rocks because they lack water, they will still doubt climate change’s reality and refuse to discuss it on the grounds they are not scientists or just die waiting for Jesus to save them.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.