Climate Corner July 2023 – Republicans and Climate Crisis

By Fraser Perkins —

In mixed company Republicans avoid discussing gun control, reproductive health care, and a woman’s right to choose, but the Climate Crisis also competes for top position in the Republican Pantheon of downer issues.  Let’s see how Republican candidates handle the Climate Crisis and what techniques they use.


Distract and Deceive:  Donald Trump – On a recent podcast former President Trump attempted distraction followed by deception, “When I see these people talking about global warming, where the ocean will rise by a 1/100th of an inch over the next 350 years…”  Talking about long-term sea-level rise distracts from the immediate threat of extreme weather punishing the country with heat waves, drought, hurricanes, and torrential rains.  It’s also deceptive, well, more like a bald-faced lie.  Sea level will rise by up to a foot by 2050 with some areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts experiencing much greater increases.  Flat terrain, massive building, and subsidence make the east coast critically vulnerable to sea-level rise.  Time for the Donald to sell Mar-a-Lago.

Sanctimony:  Ron DeSantis – In a May 24, 2023, tweet DeSantis took an “above the fray” approach, “I’ve always rejected the politicization of the weather.”  This falsely assigns the Climate Crisis to normal weather and therefore beyond our control, and by extension, not our responsibility.  And it conveniently shields Candidate DeSantis from dealing with Climate on the campaign trail…at least at Republican events.  It’s also clever – it lets all of us off the hook from making the painful changes needed to mitigate the Climate Crisis.  Note to Ron – normal weather has not propelled property insurers to flee Florida.  Instead, insurers have responded to abnormal weather and the heightened risk of hurricane damage by lowering their exposure in the Sunshine State.  But no worries, Ron, maybe you’ll get lucky and be in the White House when the next Category 5 Hurricane collides with Florida and your successor is left to deal with the crisis you ducked.

Distract, Distort and Fantasize:  Nikki Haley – In an Iowa Town Hall Meeting, Haley distracted the audience by condemning President Biden’s Climate Agenda and distorted the truth when she stated, “The United States is very good when it comes to emissions.”  No, no, no, our record is not great – we have emitted more CO2 than any other nation including China.  We are still the second largest emitter of CO2.  And now for sheer fantasy – her solution is to have a serious discussion with China and India about emissions.  China’s reply will be quick – on a per capita basis the US is emitting twice the CO2 as China, so get your own house in order first and then we’ll talk.  India’s emissions on a per capita basis are much smaller.  Perhaps she believes her Indian heritage will win over the Indians.  Ms. Haley also expedited our exit from the Paris Climate Accord when she was a member of former President Trump’s Cabinet.

Unleashing our Potential:  Mike Pence – Mike Pence acknowledges that humans have had an impact on the Climate, yet he supported withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.  His organization, Advancing American Freedom, wants to expedite gas leasing and unleash the full potential of American fossil fuel production.  Hmm, let’s solve the Climate Crisis by pumping more gasoline and emitting more CO2 into the atmosphere.  P. T. Barnum believed a sucker is born every minute – Mike Pence is hoping we’re all suckers that will buy into the idea we can solve the Climate Crisis by “unleashing the full potential of the fossil fuel industry.”

Tim Scott:  The Sir Isaac Newton – I give Senator Scott an “A” for championing an approach that would do Isaac Newton proud.  He believes Climate Change is real and we’ve caused it.
Yay, you go, Tim Scott!  You’re way ahead of your Republican colleagues.
But then he adopts Newton’s First Law of Motion – you know, the one about a body in motion tends to stay in motion until something changes – to construct his climate approach.
Senator Scott opposes both restrictions on fossil fuels and support for renewables…just keep on doing what we’ve been doing.
In personal relationships it’s helpful to accentuate the positive, but in Republican politics negativity, especially on cultural issues, offers a feasible path to the White House.   When Republicans take extreme positions on choice, healthcare, guns, and climate, it’s our job to call them out.

This month’s graphic shows the toppling tower of excuses Republicans offer for inaction when it comes to climate.
It’s a hoax (probably Chinese)
Who knows?
Maybe, just maybe, the climate is changing
It’s not caused by humans
It’s too expensive to solve
You (China) go first
I don’t care
I don’t care, I’ll be dead

And when it’s too late…wait, wait, my grandchildren will suffer, we need to do something!

Fortunately, we CAN do something; elect Democrats in 2024.

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