72 Percent of Republican Senators Are Climate Deniers
10 January 2015
I respect Mother Jones even when I don’t agree with it, but this article and its headline lurch away from intelligent debate and dangerously close to being little more than radical linkbait.
If the American Left is sincere about seeking to govern wisely – and we at the Bull Moose work from the assumption that it is – its pundits need to be very more careful about slathering the entire GOP senatorial caucus with the same tar brush. A careful, thoughtful read of the MoJo article and those to which it links makes clear that there are important gradients in the way in which different Republican senators approach the climate issue.
Those approaches range from hard-core deniers (“there is no climate change”) on one end, to the nearly 1/3 of Republican senators who do believe that it is happening and that it is caused by human activity. There are many fine gradations in the middle. For example, some of us believe that regardless of whether the science is clear or not, it makes sense for us to address the effects of climate change, and work on the assumption that it is caused at least in part by human activity by doing what we can to attenuate that change.
No doubt there are more than a few GOP senators who for whatever reason unable to accept the any suggestion that either climate change is happening, or that it is caused by humans. At the same time, painting the entire GOP senatorial caucus as hard-core deniers bought and paid for by Big Carbon obscures significant opportunities to build a majority (and perhaps a supermajority) in the Senate around climate policy. It is juvenile, it is inaccurate, and it shuts down debate, negotiation, and discussion before they are allowed to begin.
What we need is a more intelligent, less polarized discussion about these issues. Climate does not have to become as black-and-white as, say, the issue of abortion. But the longer we make the debate about ideology or partisanship rather than the policy issue, we polarize it and foreclose on even incremental progress.