Rick Santorum
(Caricature by DonkeyHotey)
Several GOP presidential candidates have been reversing their previous public stances on climate change so they can gather up the all-important ignoramus vote in the Republican primaries. But Rick Santorum doesn't have to. He himself has been an ignoramus on the subject all along, perhaps the most anti-environmental candidate in the field, which is saying a mouth full.

When you're already hip-deep in in craziness, how can you distinguish yourself? Double-down, of course. Here's Santorum Wednesday on Rush Limbaugh's radio show:

There’s a variety of factors that contribute to the earth warming and cooling, and to me this is an opportunity for the left to create—it’s a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the earth is gonna cool and warm. It’s been on a warming trend so they said, “Oh, let’s take advantage of that and say that we need the government to come in and regulate your life some more because it’s getting warmer,” just like they did in the seventies when it was getting cool, they needed the government to come in and regulate your life because it’s getting cooler. It’s just an excuse for more government control of your life, and I’ve never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative.

Next thing you know Santorum will be quoting the late Petr Beckmann, an electrical engineering professor who taught at my alma mater and called environmentalists "watermelons," that is, green on the outside and red on the inside. Calling for policies that might give us a chance to put on the brakes before we reach the tipping point of runaway global warming is the province of green stalinists, it would seem.

As Santorum knows but isn't about to say while trolling for votes in the intellectual backwoods of America, "junk science" in the field of anthropogenic climate change is the kind that has been paid for by the Koch Brothers and Big Energy ever since James Hansen first raised the alarm more than two decades ago. At first, its progenitors denied even the theory of greenhouse-gas warming, then they denied it was happening, then they denied people were causing it, then they denied it was happening at a scale worthy of note, then they denied anything could (or should) be done about it. Santorum remains trapped in the early versions of denial like a bug in amber, having apparently not been effectively schooled about the latest version.

While the nuances and extent of the impacts are, of course, still being studied, there simply is no debate among scientists over whether or not human-caused climate change is real. It is. And as my colleague Laurence Lewis stated it bluntly and accurately this week, it's the most important issue humanity has ever faced. Not all the mutterings of GOP climate denialists, in Congress or on the presidential campaign trail, can alter that fact.

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