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The GOP has a hot air problem on climate changeThe Guardian has an excellent piece on the glaring inconsistencies between the Republicans' hysteria about the debt as a threat to future generations and their dismissal of the threats Climate Change will pose to future generations.

The GOP has a hot air problem on climate change

If US conservatives are truly worried about debt for future generations, they can start by acknowledging climate change

By Justin Talbot Zorn and Zach Hindin

The 201 House conservatives who voted against raising the debt limit on Tuesday offered a familiar rationale: "It's time to stop kicking the can down the road."

By raising the debt ceiling, conservatives argue, Congress punted on addressing the obligations it's passing down to children and grandchildren and will, in the years ahead, put the nation at risk of a crisis in which global markets lose faith in America's financial commitments.

In a political system blinkered by short-term electoral deadlines and a 24-hour media blitz, it's refreshing to hear politicians consider their long-range responsibilities. There's just one problem: debt crisis projections are shaky at best. If Republicans want to look out for the grandkids, they can start by acknowledging the one catastrophe about which projections are unequivocal: climate change.

Where concern about a debt crisis is speculative at best, projections about catastrophic climate change are corroborated by the strongest expert consensus imaginable. As James Hansen pointed out in The New York Times last May, "Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action."
At their root, conservatives' debt hysteria and climate change denialism are both born of a basic distrust of government. That distrust may not be without its merits, but mistaking science for propaganda certainly is. Unlike debt, global climate change spells existential threats to life on earth: droughts, extreme storms, catastrophic floods, forced human migration, disrupted food supply, species extinction. Some inheritance for the grandkids.
If Republicans were really worried about increased spending in the future then they'd be aware that delaying responding to Climate Change will make the costs of doing so in the future exponentially higher.      

But this is what passes for the Right's discourse on Climate Change.

CHRIS WALLACE: "President Obama today in drought ridden California Friday proposing a one billion dollar to fund to research and help communities deal with the effects of Climate Change. The president’s case (giggling) may seem a bit hard to make when the eastern half of the country is in the grips of a brutal winter, but as you heard the President say Climate Change accounts for everything from drought to flood! George do you buy it?

GEORGE WILL: “No, and neither does science! But I'm one of those called deniers.  (giggles) When a politician on a subject implicating science, hard science, economic science, social science says the debate is over, you may be sure of two things. The debate is raging and he’s losing it.” (more giggling)

CHRIS WALLACE (making a face) "Maybe you know because I don't, when did Global Warming become Climate Change?"

KIM STRASSEL: “(giggles) It became climate change when you couldn't prove that there was much global warming anymore. You know as the temperature didn't change. So suddenly we needed to have this catch all term - that was responsible...that meant any change in the weather supported somehow the theory."

Secretary of State John Kerry said in his speech yesterday:
Secretary of State John Kerry
On Climate Change

First and foremost, we should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact. Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits. There are people who say, “Oh, it’s too expensive, we can’t do this.” No. No, folks. We certainly should not allow more time to be wasted by those who want to sit around debating whose responsibility it is to deal with this threat, while we come closer and closer to the point of no return.

I have to tell you, this is really not a normal kind of difference of opinion between people. Sometimes you can have a reasonable argument and a reasonable disagreement over an opinion you may have. This is not opinion. This is about facts. This is about science. The science is unequivocal. And those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand.

Now, President and I – Obama and I believe very deeply that we do not have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society. One of the arguments that we do hear is that it’s going to be too expensive to be able to address climate change. I have to tell you, that assertion could not be less grounded in fact. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. Serious analysts understand that the costs of doing nothing far outweigh the costs of investing in solutions now. You do not need a degree in economics or a graduate degree in business in order to understand that the cost of flooding, the cost of drought, the cost of famine, the cost of health care, the cost of addressing this challenge is simply far less – the costs of addressing this challenge are far less than the costs of doing nothing.

Secretary Kerry is correct.  By not spending billions now to ameliorate Climate Change now we are very likely to impose future costs in the trillions of dollars if we keep kicking the can down the road. Instead today's Conservatives remain captives of Big Oil as they turn their backs on fiscal prudence over the long term.

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:49 PM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Climate Hawks, and Climate Change SOS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Letting things slide is irresponsible (9+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 01:48:39 PM PST

  •  We need to ask Republican voters every day: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, Matt Z, sajiocity

    What will YOU drink when Republican Big Business pollutes every river and fracks chemicals into YOUR aquifer?  What will you breathe when OUR air kills 9 year olds with cancer like the air in China already has, where our fine Republican Big Business is in bed with real Communists to dominate all power and wealth?  What will YOU eat when pesticides and herbicides kill the last bees, poison the land and water, and pollute every bit of food churned out by tax supported industrial farming that's clearly meant to drive small, often organic farmers out of business?  What will YOU do when Republican Big Business turns all YOUR schools, jails and courts into "profit centers" and YOU find out you don't have enough money to save yourself from unjust, unfair laws that already, today are locking up people if they can't pay a fine, no matter how small?  How much will YOU earn and what will YOU do when Republicans manage to abolish the minimum wage, Social Security and Unemployment Insurance, as many of them say they want to do?  When Republican Big Business leaders like the Koch brothers, Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch and the like own every form of media AND the internet, as the Time-Warner/Comcast merger clearly forecasts, will YOU have freedom to say what you like?  Will you even be able to afford the prices their monopolies set? Republicans talking about enslaving future generations with debt--that is exactly what Republican Big Business has been doing to YOU all along.  It's their PLAN.  And like Republicans like to say, let the buyer beware, and if he/she who is buying their tripe doesn't take care of their own interest, then too bad, they got exactly what they deserve.  Unfortunately, we all drink the same water, breathe the same air and eat the same food.  And we will all go the way of the dodo bird and passenger  pigeon, both species exploited to oblivion for profit, if we don't wake up and realize what is being done to us, and by us due to our indifference.

    These Republicans have filibustered more . . . while accomplishing less . . . (and) while attempting to block more nominees than any other Congress in the history of our republic--Jon Stewart

    by monkeybrainpolitics on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:18:08 PM PST

    •  Republicans obstruct routine government actions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, sajiocity

      that are welcomed by most citizens as a knee jerk way to conform to their rigid ideology.  Government = BAD!  

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:25:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BRILLIANT! Thanks, MPB (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Coaster

      I'm going to make this up into a bullet-pointed sheet and just have it ready the next time some asshole tries to make yet another lame argument for how and why it isn't happening. It seems as if facts (charts, graphs, the overwhelming number of real scientists who acknowledge it, etc.) never seem to resonate as much as how the personal affects them. (Sort of like those in the GOP who suddenly found it was ok to be gay once they discovered it in their children.)

      "Takes more than guns to kill a man" Joe Hill

      by sajiocity on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 04:02:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They don't care because they're evil. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 02:38:56 PM PST

  •  It's not about the debt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, sajiocity

    It's about cutting programs Republicans don't like.

    The debt "crisis" is merely a means to that end.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 03:18:11 PM PST

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