Obama Weighs in on GOP Candidates

President Obama had the opportunity to address his take on the Republican candidates vying for the opportunity to run for President. Particularly he expressed dismay that not one of them acknowledges that climate change is real and something in need of attention. He mentions that much of the world looks to the US to be leaders on issues of science. Sadly that just isn’t the case among these GOP candidates.

Republicans Believe in Global Warming So Shouldn't Their Presidential Candidates?

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
—George Bernard Shaw

Most people would agree that elected officials should generally reflect their constituents because they represent them in government. So the Republican presidential candidates may want to remember that when they find out the results of a recent poll released last week that shows at least 70 percent of Americans now believe that global warming is real and supported by solid evidence. Why should the Republican candidates care? Because the survey found a dramatic decline in the last year alone in self-identified Republicans who doubt the existence of climate change, from 41 percent down to 26 percent.

According to Barry Rabe, professor of public policy and environmental policy at the University of Michigan, and a co-author of the poll:

The big shift here is amongst Republicans, and it is a huge one. Most survey work has found a gaping divide between self-identified Democrats and Republicans on this issue for many years now. This suggests that those differences still persist, but have declined significantly. We did not anticipate this.

This survey is conducted every spring and fall and found the highest number of believers occurred in 2008, but then those numbers started to drop until the last year. Rabe believes it’s due to the extreme weather Americans have been experiencing and those polled did admit that droughts in the country had a large effect on their attitude toward global warming. According to Rabe:

The drought issue is affecting big regions of the country. Drought is not just a narrow, localized issue now. A lot of people live in areas where there is some degree of drought. People are often responding to their perception of weather or weather experience. Rather than look at scientific journals or U.N. reports, they have a tendency to look at what last summer or winter was like. So the drought issue has gone up dramatically.

This is the first time in seven years that a majority of Republicans (55 percent) believe the evidence behind global warming, with only 16 percent of Republicans now doubting this evidence. Not surprisingly, strong majorities of Democrats (79 percent) and Independents (69 percent) continue to believe in the evidence of global warming.

One point that’s important to appreciate is that the survey only addresses the belief in global warming, not what causes it. So whether or not people believe that our activities such as the combustion of fossil fuels are responsible were not addressed. But this is an important baby step in the right direction for those who previously doubted everything about global warming and climate change. If they can be convinced of the evidence of a warming planet, perhaps they can also be convinced of the scientific explanations about why it’s warming.

But if the majority of Republicans now believe the planet is warming, people like Ted Cruz should stop talking about “the pause” as if it’s accepted by those he anticipates will be voting for him. They need to get on the ball on this one or risk finding themselves even more drastically distanced from their supporting base than they already have been. It’s time for the pendulum to swing back to a more moderate degree of Republican candidate than we’ve had in a long time. The voters are proving that.

Republicans Need a Climate Strategy

“If conservatives plan on winning the White House back, we’ve got to have something on the menu that addresses this felt need for action on climate.”
—former South Carolina congressman Bob Inglis

Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina is in the running as a possible contender for the GOP ticket in 2016 for President of the United States. Interestingly, he’s been talking recently about how Republicans need to come up with a real policy regarding global warming and climate change. And that means he has to figure out how to keep the deniers in his party under some degree of restraint.

In Graham’s own words:

I think there will be a political problem for the Republican Party going into 2016 if we don’t define what we are for on the environment. I don’t know what the environmental policy of the Republican Party is.

That’s no easy task given the way his party rolls. For your consideration:

a) Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is promising he’ll fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline and diminish the power of the Environmental Protection Agency so they can’t interfere with his goals of exploiting fossil fuels forever.

b) a bill brought forward by Texas Congressman Steve Stockman refers to what is being called the “Stockman Effect Act.” In a nutshell, its purpose is to study the effect of our planet’s magnetic field and determine its impact on weather. (Anything to detract from what we humans are doing to the climate.) Continue reading

Stephen Colbert Explains Republicans' Lack of Scientific Understanding

The Republican victory in the Senate a few weeks ago is bad news for anyone wanting to see the U.S. government start to make greater efforts to tackle global warming and climate change. As Stephen Colbert, host of the Comedy Network’s “The Colbert Report” points out, these Republicans like using a simple tactic when asked about it. They simply rhyme off four simple words: “I’m not a scientist.”

Of course, I’m not sure they’ve figured out the next quippy response to the follow up question: “Then why wouldn’t you defer to the expertise of scientists?”

Colbert takes this in an interesting direction, as only he can. Enjoy.