Category Archives: Climate Science
In the past month we have seen an almost unprecedented call for cuts to science and innovation programs from the new House GOP freshmen. They are young and spunky, and misguided. There’s been calls to cripple the NIH, demands to defund our IPCC involvement (even though they can’t get the numbers right), and even hamstring the DOE’s Office of Science (the largest supporter of basic physical science research in the US). It’s a bit like putting one big tinfoil hat on the Capitol dome.
Behold, however! I have looked into the future of our Fine Nation should the GOP freshmen and Tea Partiers get their way! Should these esteemed Congresspersons push this through, not only will we no longer lead the way in innovation and intellectual currency, not only will we be forced to buy alternative energy technologies from countries like China, and not only will our children fall even farther behind in STEM education . . . it might look something like this:
Most of all we won’t have them tar-feathered eggheads from up thar’ on Harvard Square tellin’ me and mah chillunz what this’n here Earth is all about and that we came from a damned monkey! Space is for the aliens, human mankind wasn’t meant to fly thar in a damned rocket tube! Let’s just call global warming what it is – SUMMERTIME and git back to stewin’ up that squirrel stew!
Watch out y’all!
GOP Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) is disgusted with his party’s attitudes toward climate science, and he isn’t gonna take it anymore. This is big news coming from the Republican party. The only problem is that Rep. Inglis was defeated in a primary battle months ago and is closer to packing up his office than he is to passing any climate legislation. What’s worse is that this statement came during a ceremonial farewell speech of sorts in a House subcommittee meeting on climate change, not during the campaign. Here’s the highlights of the transcript:
Your child is sick — this is what Tom Friedman gave me this great analogy yesterday — Your child is sick. 98 doctors say treat him this way. Two say no, this other way is the way to go. I’ll go with the two. You’re taking a big risk with those kids. Because 98 of the doctors say, “Do this thing,” two say, “Do the other.” So, it’s on the record.
And we’re here with important decision to be made. And I would also suggest to my Free Enterprise colleagues — especially conservatives here — whether you think it’s all a bunch of hooey, what we’ve talked about in this committee, the Chinese don’t. And they plan on eating our lunch in this next century. They plan on innovating around these problems, and selling to us, and the rest of the world, the technology that’ll lead the 21st century. So we may just press the pause button here for several years, but China is pressing the fast-forward button . . .
They plan on leading the future. So whether you — if you’re a free enterprise conservative here — just think: it’s a bunch of hooey, this science is a bunch of hooey. But if you miss the commercial opportunity, you’ve really missed something . . . I’d encourage scientists who are listening out there to get ready for the hearings that are coming up in the next Congress. Those will be difficult hearings for climate scientists. But, I would encourage you to welcome those as fabulous opportunities to teach.
It’s clearly a tragedy that not only did a statement like this come far too late to make a difference, but the man who made it was essentially run out of his party’s tent on a rail – a rail one can only assume was excavated from an abandoned coal mine in West Virginia.
I think that here are some real positives to be taken from this swan song, though. First, this is a GOP member who maintained a 93% rating from the American Conservative Union. There are likely many more bona fide members of the Republican party out there who strongly support climate science consensus, although hopefully they will not also need to be on their deathbed to make it known. There are considerate, intelligent conservatives in our nation who see this as a serious threat to our national well-being, do not pander to the extremes of their party, and want to take action (or at least support scientists).
Furthermore, the approach that Rep. Inglis takes with this statement is not as a simple appeal for science, or as a doomsday scenario on the effects of climate change. He actually suggests his critics go ahead and dismiss the science for a moment, to focus only on the “Free Enterprise” and economic aspects of this battle. He explains (correctly) that China is not waiting around for us to take the lead in green technology and the energy economy of the future. They are building a building in a week while we are still arguing about the blueprints, so to speak. China is a nation that spends $12 million an hour on green energy, and Rep. Inglis is right that they will eat our lunch and then sell it back to us.
Taken together, I think that statements such as this one should help shape the future of climate science policy, at least in front of a split Congress. Rep. Inglis’ final warning to climate scientists is a prescient one, and the battles in GOP-led committees are sure to be comically frustrating for defenders of sound science. And although I wouldn’t support playing the “pretend the climate science is hooey for a moment” game that Rep. Inglis invokes, shaping scientific arguments with elements of free enterprise and a healthy dose of Chinese economic alarm-ringing shows promise. Of course we don’t know how this statement will resonate with the surviving GOP members (my guess is about the same as a fart resonates in church). But this man is a staunch conservative, and it got to him.
So there’s hope, and climate scientists should have much more than their bar graphs ready.
(above video from Think Progress)