Please understand that we here at Inhabitat try to give everyone a fair shake, but with the current state of affairs concerning climate change deniers in the Republican Party, it is difficult to keep our cool. Inside Climate News seems to have had the same issue as of late and have released an article this week detailing a number of preeminent climatologists’ – who also happen to be registered Republicans – efforts to convince high-level Republican politicians that their denial is just plain uneducated. The report details these scientists’ attempts to reach out to politicians in order to educate them, and their constant experience of being brushed aside in favor of political rhetoric. So as Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum stands on his soap box and declares that this “whole global warming debate” isn’t scientifically proven, we’re wondering where he’s gathering his evidence.
Let’s lay it down in political terms. Republican candidates are less likely to admit that climate change is a problem because if it is that would open up a door for increased government regulations on emissions and the burning of fossil fuels. Since creating new regulations increases the size and power of government — and small government is what Republicans are meant to be all about — Republicans are often quoted as saying that climate change is a phony issue, therefore creating regulations to stop it aren’t necessary. In addition Republican politicians are often heavily funded by the fossil fuel industry and everyone knows that funders get the last laugh in Washington. If a senator is getting millions from an oil refinery business they’re not about to sign their name to a bill that would cause that oil refinery to shell out money to retrofit their facilities with emissions capturing technology.
Kerry Emanuel researches atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is a registered Republican who told Inside Climate News that he’s tried repeatedly to reach out to Republican candidates to get them on the right side of this factual debate. “No GOP candidates or policymakers want to touch the issue, and those of us trying to educate them are left frustrated,” Emanuel told InsideClimate News. “Climate change has become a third rail in politics.”
The article quotes a 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists that found that 98% of U.S. climate researchers believe that our emission-heavy way of life is quickening climate change on Earth. Despite repeated efforts by Emanuel and his equals across the country, Republicans continue to spout their claim that science doesn’t support the human effect on climate change – even though almost every scientists studying it does support that very fact.
The scientists interviewed by Inside Climate News feel that Republicans are attempting to turn their politicizing rhetoric against the very thing they are attempting to politicize. Calvin DeWitt, a climatologist from University of Wisconsin-Madison said, “The times I’ve tried to reach out to politicians, I have not been welcome. I think the basic problem is that it no longer pays to talk with scientists, but to those who fund you.”
Moreover, Emanuel followed up his dissapointment in Republican politicians’ ability to listen with this plea, “It is important for GOP politicians to come to understand that scientists are basing their assessments of climate risk on hard, scientific evidence, not on politics.”