Friday, 1 August 2014

How politicians should respond to climate change denier colleagues

US politics is sharply divided on the subject of climate change. The Democratic party, including Barack Obama, is pretty solid on the science and would really like to take action, including putting a price on carbon emissions. They are hamstrung by the Republicans however, so Obama is trying to implement as much change as he can through executive action. Superficially it looks a bit like Tony Abbott's near useless direct action scheme, but will almost certainly spur emissions trading at the state level.

It was just in 2008 when Republican presidential candidate and his idiotic running mate Sarah Palin championed emissions trading, accepting that climate change was real and a problem. The Republicans have since taken a huge leap into denier land, and it's almost unthinkable for a Republican to even admit climate change is real. It's electoral suicide for them with a rabid base eager to label them "Republicans In Name Only" (RINOs) and even communists if they acknowledge mainstream science on the subject. Palin is now a full blown denier, while McCain seems to still accept it while resigning himself to the impossibility of action.

One Republican who has long been steadfast in his denial of reality is Senator James Inhofe, who recently blocked a motion merely acknowledging the reality of climate change and gave a speech which included a number of standard denialist memes, including reference to the Oregon Petition. Following that, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, got up to give Inhofe a lesson. There's little doubt that Inhofe spent the time with his head where it surely still is - the intra-anal position.

Whitehouse's speech addresses a number of arguments that pop up in letters to the editor of the Cairns Post, and also in opinion pieces penned by Andrew Bolt. Here's how politicians should respond to idiots in their midst:

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