Many Faces of Republican Global Warming Denial

Global WarmingNPR put together a very useful table, Where Presidential Candidates Stand On Climate Change. What I find most interesting about it is that there aren’t that many Republican candidates who reject global warming outright. There are only four who absolutely reject it: Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump. The table claims that Ted Cruz’s position on global warming is “complicated.” But that’s not really true. At least as a presidential candidate, he’s full-tilt global warming denial.

But if you drill down further, you see that actually no one in the Republican field believes in global warming. It really comes down to the Three Stages of Global Warming Denial. It’s pretty hard to say that there is no global warming and not come off as a complete idiot. Just look at the list above. Two more candidates believe global warming is real but not caused by humans: Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. I actually think this is an even worse position to hold. It says that global warming is happening but we have no idea why. It doesn’t make much sense. But this is stage two.

But if you look at people who are willing to do something about global warming, that leaves only two. First there is Lindsey Graham, who has not put forward any plan, which shows just how important he thinks it is. And then there is Bobby Jindal. He has put forward a plan, but it is primarily to make things far worse:

Jindal has unveiled a detailed plan that would repeal the Obama administration’s power plant proposal and try to overturn the 2007 Supreme Court decision providing a basis for regulating greenhouse gases. Instead, he proposes small-scale changes such as better managing national forests to prevent wildfires and improving airlines’ fuel efficiency through better air traffic control.

But note that neither of these guys is a top tier candidate. In fact, Jindal isn’t even running anymore. If you look at the top tier, there are only three candidates who have ever called for anything at all to be done about global warming: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich. I don’t think any of them have been willing to say that during the course of the campaign. It’s sad. If one of them actually came out with a plan, it would be a typical Republican plan like Jindal’s that would make the situation worse.

It’s also interesting to note that every one of the Republicans is in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. I’ll admit that in the grand scheme of things, that isn’t a terribly important issue. But if you think global warming is a problem, you can’t be for the pipeline.

Meanwhile, all three of the Democratic candidates have actual plans to combat global warming. We don’t even have to discuss whether or not they believe in it. Of course, I suppose the Republicans could argue that they do have a big tent. The Democrats all believe the same thing (also known as the truth). The Republicans are all over the place in their denial. But it is important to remember that. What we are seeing with the Republicans is what we saw at the end of Terminator 2 where the T-1000 is trying various forms to survive. The Republicans are trying to find a winning strategy for avoiding doing anything about global warming.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

14 thoughts on “Many Faces of Republican Global Warming Denial

  1. It reminds me of the parody commercial from a few years ago:

    Basically, you can get any flavor of denial you want. But that is why the recent accords had to include what the Obama Administration can do on its own because no one in the Republican party wants to accept reality.

    • That’s very good. It just misses being funny because the maker and viewer (me) are too angry. But it is really good.

      I have an article coming out tomorrow on that, which you will give you cause to call me Pollyanna.

      • Oh boy, does this mean I get to be the most cynical person in the room?! Actually I don’t think I could ever see you as Pollyanna. Maybe Anne from Anne of Green Gables.

        • I used to love those books. But I eventually realized that only the first one was very good. Anyway, you can decide tomorrow.

    • Thanks! I think about that a lot. There are just so many examples of people making cosmetic changes that are doomed to failure. So I’m sure I’ve used that analogy many times before. This is a perfect example of our broken copyright system. That film should be in the public domain by now (24 years old!) and I should be able to embed 15 seconds so that everyone would know what I’m talking about.

      • Something I was thinking about — sneaking into movies, which I did a lot when I saw more movies. (Plan your schedule at the multiplex, pay for one film, see three.) Technically, that would be intellectual property shoplifting, right? It actually harms theaters/studios more than that 15 second clip. But I suppose movie sneaking is up to enforcement by theater employees, and they aren’t paid well enough to care (unless the manager’s watching!)

        • I’m not sure how movie theaters are charged. It could be relative to sales. Regardless, I’m sure their real money comes from the $15 popcorn. Regardless, I’m sure the production companies would claim that they are losing out big time. They always do. That’s what leads to their ridiculous estimates of how much money they lose as though poor kids sneaking in would get an extra paper route to afford those other movies. The truth is, most people who do that probably wouldn’t pay for the first film if they didn’t think they’d have a good chance of seeing the second and third film. But these kind of considerations are anathema to the production companies because they can only lose money; there is never a dime of cost do to extra sales that go along with the theft.

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