Adam Frank muses on Reading the Signs: the Midterm Campaigns' Missing Debates and concludes that "you would have to work pretty hard to find a candidate making climate and its consequences a major talking point of their campaign":
But what happens when we refuse to read the signs, even when they are dropped in our laps as they were this summer? If we can't recognize these markers for what they are and formulate the will to action, or at very least the will take up the discussion, then we are condemning ourselves to a tradition of failed vision and failed will.
Despite those gloomy words, climate is being discussed a little, mostly in the context of ridiculing extremists in the Republican party such as Sharron Angle, Ron Johnson, and Christine O'Donnell. It's not enough. I'm writing this series to help generate that discussion.
All four Arkansas candidates -- Rick Crawford (AR-01), Karl Rove protege Tim Griffin (AR-02), Steve Womack (AR-03), and Tea Party endorsed Beth Ann Rankin -- have taken the Americans For Prosperity/Koch brothers pledge and thus presumed to deny climate science even if they don't say so. I don't see any information on gubernatorial candidate James Keet.
John Boozman (AR-Sen), also a AFP/Koch pledge taker, doubts climate science:
Well I think that we’ve got perhaps climate change going on. The question is what’s causing it. Is man causing it, or, you know, is this a cycle that happens throughout the years, throughout the ages. And you can look back some of the previous times when there was no industrialization, you had these different ages, ice ages, and things warming and things. That’s the question.
Semi-final score: five climate zombies, one unknown.
Bill Brady (IL-Gov), when asked in a debate about human-caused global warming, responded: "No, I don't accept that premise, and it is wrong."
Incumbent Peter Roskam of IL-06, derided as Rubberstamp Roskam for his Bush-era ways, tries to paint himself as merely opposing cap and trade, not science...but in 2006, he called global warming junk science (pdf).
Mark Weiman (IL-07) believes that the science is still in dispute, Joe Walsh (IL-08) believes that the science is far from settled, and Robert Dold (IL-10) believes that the science has been put in question. By a strange coincidence, all three candidates
got talking points from the Koch brothers signed the AFP/Koch "no climate tax" pledge. For variety's sake, fellow pledge-signer candidate Joel Pollak (IL-09) rails against "vastly exaggerated claims" in which "science is forced to fit the ideology." Incumbent Don Manzullo (IL-16) believes that there's too much controversy on global warming, and Bobby Schilling (IL-17) doesn't believe in climate change.
Although I don't have specific statements denying the reality of climate change from candidates Isaac Hayes (IL-02), David Ratowitz (IL-05), Adam Kinzinger (IL-11), and Mark Kirk (IL-Sen), I'm considering them probable deniers because they also signed the AFP/Koch pledge. I don't have information on perennial candidates/lost causes Ray Wardingley (IL-01), Mike Bendas (IL-03), and Israel Vasquez (IL-04), nor on incumbents (Tim Johnson (IL-15) and Aaron Schock (IL-18); Johnson's district includes Mattoon, which until recently was to be the home of a showcase carbon capture & storage project.
Only Judy Biggert (IL-13) believes that the science is sound.
Illinois also has its fair share of Night of the Living Braindead Republicans. Candidate Teri Davis Newman (IL-12) believes that global warming is a hoax and the United States should leave the United Nations. Candidate Randy Hultgren (IL-14) states:
The greatest impact on our climate clearly is the sun, and we have very little impact on the sun and how much energy and temperature the sun is sending to the earth. We have seen clearly over thousands of years that at different times more energy has come through and different times less energy has come through, and that variation has impacted climate change. Over the thousands of years that’s been recorded we’ve had both colder times and warmer times. It happens to be that we’ve recently come out of a warmer time and now actually we’re headed in to a little bit of a colder time, the impact of the sun is much different than impact that we could have had.
Saving the um, best for last, incumbent John Shimkus (IL-19) queries:
Are we a carbon-starved planet?
If we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?
Semi-final score: 11 confirmed and 4 presumed climate zombies, 5 without sufficient information, 1 sane person.
Great Lakes voters have already elected their fair share of climate zombies. Dave Camp (MI-04) dithers about "a great deal of uncertainty with regard to the scientific evidence regarding climate change," while incumbent Tim Walberg (MI-07) is quite sure we've gone through similar cycles in the past. Mike Rogers (MI-08) wants to investigate "alarming reports of altered data" taken from the manufactured "climategate" scandal. Candice Miller (MI-10) knows that climate has always changed, and Thad McCotter (MI-11) believes it's wrong to look at selected periods of time to prove a manmade global warming.
Likewise, climate zombies are candidates for Congress. Bill Huizenga (MI-02) decries "global warming doomsayers" being driven by "irrational fascism." Andrew Raczkowski (MI-09) believes that the jury is still out. I'm considering Don Ukrainec (MI-14) a denier based on his response to a VoteSmart questionnaire: THE "GREEN" AGENDA IS A JOKE AND CANNOT SUSTAIN OUR LIFESTYLE (caps in original). Rob Steele (MI-15) sneers at Al Gore when asked about warming.
I presume candidates Dan Benishek (MI-01), Justin Amash (MI-03), and John Kupiec (MI-05) are climate zombies because they've signed the AFP/Koch no climate tax pledge, as has incumbent Fred Upton (MI-06). I have no information regarding candidate Don Volaric (MI-12). Candidate John Hauler responded to a questionnaire that he supports environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change, but has otherwise been silent. And Rick Snyder (MI-Gov) apparently favors a renewable energy standard but hasn't said anything specifically regarding climate.
Semi-final score: 9 confirmed and 4 presumed climate zombies, 3 without sufficient information.
In a state with four Republican incumbents, I didn't expect much. I don't have any information on Dave Heineman (NE-Gov). Lee Terry (NE-02) sees a vigorous debate about the anthropologic [sic] impact on our climate. Uh, Rep. Terry? It's not primitive cultures that are the problem. Adrian Smith (NE-03) signed the AFP/Koch pledge and paints himself as a conservative.
Is Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), who believes that "reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critically important to our environmental health as well as societal well being," a believer in climate science? He sits on the Agriculture Committee and really likes corn ethanol. A cycnic might conclude that he only talks about greenhouse gas emissions to give cover for his ethanolism. In the interests of fairness, I'll consider him an unknown.
Semi-final score: one confirmed and one presumed climate zombie, two unknowns.
John Hoeven, candidate for Senate, concedes that "the science shows there's warming but there's differing opinions regarding what's causing it" (at 105:45). The views of candidate Rick Berg (ND-AL) are so well hidden that even ClimacsBlog, a North Dakota-centric climate blog, isn't sure, but he's signed the AFP/Koch pledge.
Semi-final score: one confirmed and one presumed climate zombie.
I've now tracked all Republicans running for House, Senate, and Governor in 30 states, and have found a grand total of seven, almost all incumbents, who admit that human-caused climate change is occurring in some fashion. If they take control of Congress next month, expect the planet to resemble the end of a George A. Romero movie.