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?"Secretary of State John Kerry said in his speech yesterday:
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 KerrySecretary 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.
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.