Good news! GOP admits defeat on climate change
Well, not quite. If only it were so simple. Still, it’s a start. Friday’s Washington Post features a remarkable op-ed by former House Science Committee chairman Sherwood Boehlert, a Republican who represented New York’s 24th congressional district for over two decades before retiring in 2007. In the article he states:
Why do so many Republican senators and representatives think they are right and the world’s top scientific academies and scientists are wrong? I would like to be able to chalk it up to lack of information or misinformation.
In a trio of reports released in May, the prestigious and nonpartisan National Academy concluded that “a strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.” Our nation’s most authoritative and respected scientific body couldn’t make it any clearer or more conclusive.
Boehlert’s op-ed piece ran the same week Rep. Bob Inglis, a S. Carolina Republican defeated in his party’s primary earlier this year by a Tea Party candidate, criticized fellow GOPers for doubting climate change science.
“Tom Friedman gave me this great analogy yesterday,” Inglis said. “Your child is sick. Ninety-eight 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.’”
I’m not holding my breath that other members of his party will also come to their senses but at least we know that two Republicans are not in total denial when it comes to the reality of human-caused climate change.
Meanwhile, US climate scientists are fighting back after a difficult year of (mostly unfounded) attacks on climate science and the scientists themselves. Today a new web site was launched called the Climate Science Rapid Response that aims to close the gap between scientific knowledge and public understanding of global warming. Already, Grist is reporting that they tried out the new web site to question claims that infamous climate skeptic Bjorn Lomborg had made downplaying (once again) the significance of climate change impacts.
The scientists who responded to Grist’s inquiry – the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology’s Ken Caldeira, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Josh Willis, and Rutgers University’s Alan Robock – independently confirmed that Lomborg had misrepresented the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report. They also found that he had mischaracterized the work of the world scientific community when he argued that those who call for the immediate reduction of global warming pollution are relying on “fears of a supposedly imminent apocalypse.”
All in all, a pretty good day for climate science.