The beginning of the repeal process for the Clean Power Plan has taken center stage in the theater of the absurd that is denial-land. In case non-climate wonks in your life need an accessible analogy, David Roberts at Vox wrote a great piece exploring how the CPP repeal runs parallel to the GOP’s Obamacare mess. Specifically, Roberts argues, both measures are “what moderate, business-friendly policy looks like.” This means that the GOP have only political “bad-faith bullshit” reasons to oppose them, leaving the party struggling with nothing to offer as a replacement.
Like Obamacare, Trump seem to be completely ignorant of what repeal and replace entails. Case in point: E&E reports that a big ceremony for the CPP repeal was originally in the works. But that plan was scrapped, according to sources, in part because Trump is unaware of the years of litigation ahead and “thinks it's already done."
Now you may be totally shocked to hear that the president is ignorant of the fundamentals of governing. After all, he hired the best people, and gets the best advice, right?
It appears the president has been following an “action plan” laid out by coal baron Bob Murray, according to what Murray told E&E and, according to Murray, has already gone through about half of Murray’s wishlist. Murray, by the way, talked with Scott Pruitt in 2015 about the CPP, then appeared on Pruitt’s private schedule back in March. Clearly they weren’t discussing the current state of science, as Murray was on PBS Tuesday making all sorts of claims about how carbon dioxide isn’t a pollutant and it hasn’t warmed for 19 years.
Given Murray’s ominous influence and sub-par science, it’s a good thing that the Government Accountability Office announced yesterday it would look into whether Trump/Pruitt’s EPA has violated scientific integrity standards, specifically the reports of a political hack in a position to review grants with an eye to the “double c-word.”
The GAO review is encouraging, though we wish there was a similar sort of review that could be done for Americans’ science smarts writ large. Apparently, plenty of us still have some scientifically dubious beliefs. On WUWT, Anthony Watts points to a Chapman University survey with the headline: “Alarmists still aren’t convincing – more Americans believe ‘paranormal’ more than fear global warming.” According to the survey, 52 percent of Americans believe spirits can haunt places, while only 48 percent fear climate change.
It’s weird that Watts pointed this out for what is basically a laugh line, given that climate change fears appear equal to the fears of medical bills, the US entering another war and North Korea using nukes. So while slightly more people may believe in ghosts as opposed to the anthropocene, another way to see the study is that “alarmists” have effectively made climate change as scary as nuclear war.
Ghost stories may be scary, but the denier takeover of our government is more than just superstition and imagination. It’s real, it’s happening, and it’s completely expected. For the GOP, blind opposition to a centrist Obama policy with no better ideas is business as usual and for Pruitt, following orders from Murray and the fossil fuel industry is par for the course.
Now there is a scary pair’a’normal activities.