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Environment

When Politicians Check Out

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If you look at the top of Climate Depot's website (to the far left and far right), you'll see the buzzwords in large type that Marc Morano unfailingly associates with climate science and global warming: FRAUD & CLIMATE CON

. [UPDATE: I see that Marc removed his latest climate "fraud" headline off the top left banner

.] These loaded terms have come to define a narrative that seems to hold sway with Republicans running for office this year. As Ron Brownstein at the National Journal reports:

virtually all of the serious 2010 GOP challengers have moved beyond opposing cap-and-trade to dismissing the scientific evidence that global warming is even occurring.

That dismissive attitude, notes Bill McKibben in The New Republic, now pretty much extends to the GOP establishment:

On what is quite possibly the single biggest issue the planet has faced, American conservatism has reached a near-unanimous position, and that position is: pay no attention to all those scientists.

That position, I'd like to point out, is very much at odds with the position staked out in many federal agencies, from the CIA to the CDC. For example, we already know that the U.S. intelligence and military community is taking climate change seriously. We learned recently that U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is taking climate change seriously. And now comes word that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking climate change seriously.

As readers of this blog know, I like to engage in political, policy and media issues related to climate change. Sometimes I cast a critical eye on rhetoric employed by climate bloggers, which earns me blowback from all sides. Mostly, I like exploring the nuances of issues central to the climate debate, which also earns me disapproval from partisans. Above all, though, I like to think that I take the science of climate change seriously, including the anticipated (and yes, widely debated) ramifications of anthropogenic climate change to public health, wildlife, foreign policy, geopolitics, etc. If one of the two major political parties in the U.S. is reflexively dismissive of global warming--indeed, increasingly sees it as part of some grand con by a cabal of climate scientists and environmentalists--then this political party, the GOP, is willfully ignoring what's happening on the ground at many government agencies. That also means that a large segment of the American political establishment has decided to opt out of the discussions and policies these government agencies are formulating to address climate change.What Republicans don't seem to realize is that these micro level debates and policies on climate change are going forward, with or without them.

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