The Wonk Room at Think Progress has been taking a look at Republican Senate candidates on the issue of climate change, and it should come as no surprise that when it comes to Republicans and science, never the twain shall meet.
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, only one — Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware — 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. If Castle loses his primary on Tuesday to Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell, the GOP slate will be unanimous in opposition to a green economy.
Castle, of course, was teabagged out his race, leaving the Republicans in unanimous opposition to reality. The Wonk Room's Brad Johnson has compiled the statements of GOP Senate nominees, so for those that care about the actual science of scientific issues, let's compare some of those statements with those of actual scientists.
- Sharron Angle, Republican Senate nominee from Nevada:
I don't, however, buy into the whole ... man-caused global warming, man-caused climate change mantra of the left. I believe that there's not sound science to back that up.
As part of its most comprehensive study of climate change to date, the National Research Council today issued three reports emphasizing why 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. The reports by the Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, are part of a congressionally requested suite of five studies known as America's Climate Choices....
The compelling case that climate change is occurring and is caused in large part by human activities is based on a strong, credible body of evidence, says Advancing the Science of Climate Change, one of the new reports. While noting that there is always more to learn and that the scientific process is never "closed," the report emphasizes that multiple lines of evidence support scientific understanding of climate change. The core phenomenon, scientific questions, and hypotheses have been examined thoroughly and have stood firm in the face of serious debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations.
"Climate change is occurring, 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," the report concludes. It calls for a new era of climate change science where an emphasis is placed on "fundamental, use-inspired" research, which not only improves understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change but also is useful to decision makers at the local, regional, national, and international levels acting to limit and adapt to climate change. Seven cross-cutting research themes are identified to support this more comprehensive and integrative scientific enterprise.
- Ken Buck, Republican Senate nominee from Colorado:
I’ll tell you, I have looked at global warming, now climate change, from both sides. While I think the earth is warming, I don’t think that man-made causes are the primary factor. I am one of those people that Al Gore refers to as a skeptic.
(At about the 24:00 mark of this video.)
The Earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system-including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons-are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century. Global average surface temperatures increased on average by about 0.6¡C over the period 1956-2006. As of 2006, eleven of the previous twelve years were warmer than any others since 1850. The observed rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice is expected to continue and lead to the disappearance of summertime ice within this century. Evidence from most oceans and all continents except Antarctica shows warming attributable to human activities.
- Linda McMahon, Republican Senate nominee from Connecticut:
I think there's evidence to the positive and to the contrary about global warming.
The 2009 State of the Climate report released today draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.
- Marco Rubio, Republican Senate nominee from Florida:
In an interview with the Tribune on that subject Friday, Rubio called Crist "a believer in man-made global warming."
"I don't think there's the scientific evidence to justify it," Rubio said.
Asked whether he accepts the scientific evidence that the global climate is undergoing change, he responded, "The climate is always changing. The climate is never static. The question is whether it's caused by man-made activity and whether it justifies economically destructive government regulation."
The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.
- Rand Paul, Republican Senate nominee from Kentucky:
Now Osama bin Laden had a quote yesterday. He’s says he’s after the climate change as well. It’s a bigger issue, we need to watch ‘em. Not only because it may or may not be true, but they’re making up their facts to fit their conclusions. They’ve already caught ‘em doing this.
(At the 2:56 mark of this video)
Pennsylvania State University has completed the second half of a two-part investigation of Michael Mann's role in the so-called "Climategate" affair. The 2-month inquiry has found that Mann is innocent of the remaining charge of scientific misconduct that had been raised by e-mails uncovered in November....
A previous investigation found him innocent of suppressing data, deleting e-mails, and misusing confidential information.
In addition, insofar as we have been able to consider accusations
of dishonesty—for example, Professor Jones’s alleged attempt to "hide the decline"— we consider that there is no case to answer. Within our limited inquiry and the evidence we took, the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact. We have found no reason in this unfortunate episode to challenge the scientific consensus as expressed by Professor Beddington, that "global warming is happening [and] that it is induced by human activity".
- Pat Toomey, Republican Senate nominee from Pennsylvania:
There is much debate in the scientific community as to the precise sources of global warming.
Careful and comprehensive scientific assessments have clearly demonstrated that the Earth’s climate system is changing rapidly in response to growing atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases and absorbing aerosol particles (IPCC, 2007). There is very little room for doubt that observed climate trends are due to human activities. The threats are serious and action is urgently needed to mitigate the risks of climate change.
- Roy Blunt, Republican Senate nominee from Missouri:
There isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth.
Indeed, strong observational evidence and results from modeling studies indicate that, at least over the last 50 years, human activities are a major contributor to climate change.
Direct human impact is through changes in the concentration of certain trace gases such as carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and water vapor, known collectively as greenhouse gases.
- Dino Rossi, Republican Senate nominee from Washington:
I believe the Earth is warming. There is still debate in the scientific community about the level of human impact on climate change, which is why I think the more important question is what we are actually going to do in order to reduce carbon emissions. Promoting new technology and providing incentives to cut emissions is the best way to accomplish that goal.
The city of Seattle admits that personal efforts to be efficient have had far more impact on greenhouse gas reduction than government regulations. My approach is to allow individuals to make choices.
The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.
- Carly Fiorina, Republican Senate nominee from California:
Q: Is climate change real?
Fiorina: I’m not sure. I think we should have the confidence and courage to test the science.
(At 0:08 of this video)
Joint statement by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Meteorological Society, American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Biologists, American Statistical Association, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Botanical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Society of Systematic Biologists, Soil Science Society of America, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research:
Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. These conclusions are based on multiple independent lines of evidence, and contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science. Moreover, there is strong evidence that ongoing climate change will have broad impacts on society, including the global economy and on the environment.
This would be funny if it weren't so dangerous. This isn't a debate between Republicans and Democrats about what to do about climate change, it's a debate between Republicans and reality about the very existence of climate change. And it's clear that no amount of science will convince Republicans of something they just don't want to believe. The question is whether the voters want to listen to the scientists or to those whose beliefs are not based on anything remotely rational or factual. And it's only the future of the world as we know it that's at stake.