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The Washington Post has a terrific editorial: Climate change denial becomes harder to justify, referring to both the new America's Climate Choices report, by an institution chartered to provide scientific advice to Congress, and those on one side of the Congressional aisle who ignore climate advice: "it is newsworthy, sadly, because the Republican Party, and therefore the U.S. government, have moved so far from reality and responsibility in their approach to climate change."

The key paragraph:

Every candidate for political office in the next cycle, including for president, should be asked whether they disagree with the scientific consensus of America’s premier scientific advisory group, as reflected in this report; and if so, on what basis they disagree; and if not, what they propose to do about the rising seas, spreading deserts and intensifying storms that, absent a change in policy, loom on America’s horizon.

I'm just thrilled that the WaPo has decided to do my job.

securedownload[1]Last fall, I decided to take a systematic look at all of the Republican candidates running for House, Senate, and governor offices in 2010 - over 500 people. I was perturbed by a possible shift from the GOP paying lip service to climate issues to denying climate science altogether. Those who denied the existence of climate science were nicknamed climate zombies - because stupid has gone viral in the Republican Party. I slogged through obscure local newspapers, listened to barely-audible town halls posted on YouTube, trolled Stormfront and right-wing state blogs, got help from too many people to list on DailyKos and Twitter, and probably spent over a thousand hours on the project. I was inspired by, and coordinated with, ThinkProgress blogger Brad Johnson, who's been chronicling the GOP's deniers for some time as their statements came to light.  Before my project, most compilations of candidates' positions on issues, e.g., VoteSmart, simply asked candidates about their positions on cap and trade and similar policies, but no national effort had been made to track candidates' belief, or lack thereof, in basic science.

The Washington Post noticed my work...sort of.  Andrew Freedman at the Capital Weather Gang blog noted that midterm candidates embrace climate denialism...but also noted that "the views expressed here are the author's alone and do not represent any position of the Washington Post, its news staff or the Capital Weather Gang." The New York Times was even more condescending, noting that I wrote for the even leftier DailyKos - as if that made a difference in what came out of candidates' mouths.

climate_hawkNow, the Washington Post has decided that candidates should be asked whether they agree or disagree with climate science, and if not, why not, and if so, what they propose to do about it.

I suppose this is good news. I'll be watching the esteemed political journalists at the WaPo to see if they follow through on the editorial. It would be nice to see the mainstream media practice journalism on the most important issue facing humanity's next few generations.

Me, I eat climate zombies for breakfast...and I'm hungry again by lunch.

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Mon May 16, 2011 at 09:32 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Amateur Left and Science Matters.

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