Thursday, May 12, 2005

Republicans Distort the Case for Global Warming

By Jim Witkins

While running for President in 2000, George W. Bush said he believed global warming was "an issue that we need to take very seriously", yet within weeks of his inauguration he declared the science "incomplete" pulling the US out of the Kyoto protocol and embracing the Business As Usual approach to global climate disaster.

After five additional years of scientific inquiry, with nearly unanimous consent among the scientific community that human generated CO2 is rising to unprecedented levels with catastrophic consequences for our environment, have the Republicans taken notice?

Of course not!

In fact their stated goal by Republican strategist, Frank Luntz is, incredibly, to continue to propagate misleading information so that the American public won't form a conclusive opinion that global warming is indeed happening with drastic implications on their lives and future.

Under the heading "Winning the Global Warming Debate", Luntz instructed fellow Republicans, "The scientific debate is closing (against us) but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science." He continues, "Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming in the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly."

Implementing this strategy comes natural to loyal Republicans who are familiar with sticking to their talking points. Earlier in 2005, Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, gave a speech entitled, "An Update on the Science of Climate Change" in which he frequently cited fictional author Michael Crichton as one of his 'authorities' on climate change. The Senator has also used highly inflammatory rhetoric to shout down real scientific evidence, calling global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the American people."

Another trick Republicans are fond of using is quoting compelling new "sound science" that disputes climate crisis data, yet the information is from studies commissioned by the likes of ExxonMobile or General Motors. Not what most of us would call real "sound science".

After weighing the mounting evidence one thing seems crystal clear: the Republican Party has lost any credibility on the issue of climate crisis and should not be trusted to lead America toward a sound policy for dealing with it.

One of their lame excuses against taking action is that it's too expensive or cost prohibitive for American businesses to reduce CO2 emissions. On the contrary, if the government set emission standards, America's industry's would embrace them, since they would level the playing field for all American companies. This would lead to innovation and new technology, which creates jobs and opportunities for new startup companies.

Republicans also have their priorities backwards when it comes to devising energy policy. They routinely give away billion of dollars in subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies, while starving renewable technology like, wind, solar, and hydrogen. Yes, Bush and the Republican party talk about a commitment to new energy technology, yet their actions don't back up their talk. It's laughable to think how little our Republican controlled government has done to promote alternative energy while at the same time spending over $100 billion on a Star Wars Missile defense, which has yet to produce one working missile.

At 33, I'm planning to be around awhile longer (God willing), yet the prospects for a hopeful future keep getting dimmer with Republicans misleading the way. There are no shortage of solutions for reducing our CO2 emissions in conjunction with solving our present and future energy needs. The two problems are intertwined. All it really takes are leaders who are willing to lead, based on real science not "sound science".

This article was in part based on a series of articles about Global Warming Science in the New Yorker.

THE CLIMATE OF MAN—I: Disappearing islands, thawing permafrost, melting polar ice. How the earth is changing. by Elizabeth Kolbert

THE CLIMATE OF MAN—II: The curse of Akkad by Elizabeth Kolbert

Q and A with, Elizabeth Kolbert, the author of the Global Warming series in the New Yorker


Blogger IFK Editor said...

Example of leadership from both Democratic and Republican Mayors...

132 U.S. Mayors Embrace Kyoto Rules, G.E. Heads the Call, Bush Administration Back-Peddling

Wouldn't it be nice if our Federal goverment was this informed.

11:29 AM  

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