Global warming warnings: Suggested reading for GOP hopefuls
With the exception of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, GOP candidates all subscribe to one or more of the following positions:
1) Global warming doesn’t exist.
2) If it does, it isn’t caused or exacerbated by humans. Or it probably isn’t. Or we can’t tell for sure.
3) Carbon dioxide isn’t harmful because it was part of Earth’s atmosphere in the first place.
4) Scientists are all locked in a room somewhere, arguing. There’s no consensus.
5) Galileo was a douchebag for not letting the townsfolk in on the debate.
In the spirit of magnanimity, here are some reading suggestions for candidates on the stump, paired with some of their statements. This sampling of articles, most dated within 2011, represents the kind of content that appears constantly on the popular website ScienceDaily.com, which sifts through the reports on dozens of press releases from research institutions daily. According to its own “About” section, the website receives more than three million visitors and 15 million page views per month —though Michele Bachmann has probably never heard of it.
(9/2011): “Well, I do agree that the science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just — is nonsense. I mean, it — I mean — and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell. […] Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy.”
(4/2009): “Carbon dioxide, Mr. Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature. Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can’t even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that’s on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as a part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth. As a matter of fact, carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”
(6/2011): “I think all these issues have to be settled on the base of real science, not manufactured science.”
(9/2011) “And on this issue on human — human activity as being the cause of climate change, I think it’s important to note that the president recognized how devastating the EPA has been in their rulemaking, so much so that the president had to suspend current EPA rules that would have led to the shutting down of potentially 20 percent of all of America’s coal plants. Coal is the source that brings 45 percent of America’s electricity. What we’re seeing is that a political agenda is being advanced instead of a scientific agenda. And this is leading to the — to massive numbers of jobs being lost.”
(5/2011): “I’m not disputing or discrediting the National Academy of Sciences, I’m saying a topic large enough to change the behavior of the entire human race is a topic that is more than science and deserves public hearings with very tough minded public questions and we’ve had almost none of that on either side.”
(5/2011): “It may well be that it is dramatically less expensive to adjust to a change in climate than it is to stop the entire planet from changing.”
(6/2011): “The idea that man–through the production of carbon dioxide, which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the manmade part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas—is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd.”
(10/2007): “I think some of it is related to human activities, but I don’t think there’s a conclusion yet. There’s a lot of evidence on both sides of that argument. If you study the history, we’ve had a lot of climate changes. We’ve had hot spells and cold spells. They come and go. If there are weather changes, we’re not going to be very good at regulating the weather.”
(11/2008): “It is clear that the earth experiences natural cycles in temperature. However, science shows that human activity probably does play a role in stimulating the current fluctuations.”
(6/2009): “There is no consensus in the scientific community that global warming is getting worse or that it is manmade.”
(11/2009): “The greatest hoax I think that has been around for many, many years if not hundreds of years has been, this hoax on the environment and global warming.”
(9/2011): “The planet is probably getting warmer. I think we’re experiencing warming. That’s No 1. No. 2, I believe that we contribute some portion of that. No. 3, I don’t know how much. It could be a lot, it could be a little.”
Further reading for all the contenders (except Hunstman):