Home Energy and Environment GOP and Global Warming — What Changed?!?

GOP and Global Warming — What Changed?!?

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Today’s Politico has a fascinating article by Darren Samuelsohn on the “green skeletons lurk[ing] in GOP closets.” Here are a few quotes, guess who said them:

1. “I support a reasonable cap-and-trade system. I think it’d be good for the federal government to take that up rather than have states take it up as clusters of regions.”

2. Human activities “certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change” and “we’ve got to do something about it, and we have to make sure that we’re doing all we can to cut down on pollution.”

3. “I believe that climate change is occurring – the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor.”

4. “[W]e do agree our country must take action to address climate change.”

5. “Clearly the issue of climate change is on the minds of a lot of people. Humans clearly contribute to this. It just really depends on what kind of a cap-and-trade system, what kind of safety valves are in there.”

6. “I also support cap and trade of carbon emissions.”

Answers: (1) Tim Pawlenty; (2) Sarah Palin; (3) Mitt Romney (who also ” worked for two years as Massachusetts governor to cap greenhouse gases from power plants as part of a regional pact”); (4) Newt Gingrich; (5) John Boehner; (6) Mike Huckabee.

In addition, John McCain used to be a big champion of cap-and-trade legislation (along with Joe Lieberman — see here), and as George W. Bush’s top White House environmental advisor points out, cap-and-trade “was the invention of conservative Republican economists as a better way to cut pollution than inefficient command and control regulations.”

There are many more examples of Republicans being for taking action on climate change before they were against it; see below for a few fun examples. The bottom line is simple: even many (most?) Republicans know, all their Tea Party-pleasing rhetoric to the contrary, that a) climate change is real; b) man is contributing to it if not causing it 100%; c) we have to do something about it; and d) cap-and-trade or a carbon tax are the two best, most market-oriented ways to deal with the problem.  So what changed? Simple: politics. Today, Democrats control the White House and Senate, and Democrats overwhelmingly want to do something about climate change. Therefore, Republicans – past statements, positions, and legislation to the contrary – must be against it. It’s mindless, kneejerk, and juvenile, but that’s the Republican Party of Mitch McConnell, John McGrumpy, John BONEr and Eric Can’tor for ya. Ugh.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the flip-flops; they’re quite amusing!

In New Hampshire, Senator-elect Kelly Ayotte (R) used to call global warming a “real issue” while acknowledging that “scientific evidence has shown human activity could have contributed to higher temperatures.” Ayotte also “undertook efforts as Attorney General to limit carbon emissions in order to combat climate change,” including “urging [the U.S. Senate] to reject a Bush Administration environmental bill because it failed to limit carbon emissions – something Ayotte said would address global warming and create jobs.”  The old version of Kelly Ayotte was absolutely correct. Maybe the new version of Kelly Ayotte might want to give the old version of Kelly Ayotte a call?

Scott Brown back in 2008, “when he voted for Massachusetts to join a regional effort to reduce global warming pollution,” said that “Reducing carbon dioxide emissions in Massachusetts has long been a priority of mine. Passing this legislation is an important step…towards improving our environment.”  Today, he’s not so sure, claiming, “the globe is always heating and cooling…I just want to make sure if in fact…the earth is heating up, that we have accurate information, and it’s unbiased by scientists with no agenda.” Uh, message to Scott Brown – yes, we have accurate information, overwhelming at that, and you used to know that. What happened since 2008 to make you a “skeptic?” It couldn’t be political expediency could it? Of course not…perish the though! LOL

A few other examples are here, at Climate Progress.

*Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), a couple years ago was saying how he was “impressed with the fact the Chicago Climate Exchange, maybe as a prelude to some type of cap-and-trade or carbon-pricing system in our country, has at least established a price for carbon.” Now? “He has proposed climate legislation that completely avoids any mention of carbon caps or pricing.” Uh huh.

*Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), when he’s not in the waaaambulance for his latest hissy fit, used to be part of a comprehensive clean energy and climate legislative effort with Joe Lieberman and John Kerry, but now he’s tucked tail and run, terrified of teahadist anger back home, with the lame excuse that the Senate was also considering legislation on immigration reform, and wasn’t just clean energy and climate change 24/7. And if you believe that one, you probably also believe in the bogus “climategate” non-scandal pushed by Faux Propaganda, Glenn Beck, et al.

On and on it goes; I’m sure you can find many more examples of this if you look around (e.g., George W. Bush, who promised in the 2000 campaign to regulate CO2, then flip flopped once he became president). The bottom line is that this shouldn’t be a partisan issue, often wasn’t in the past, and shouldn’t be in the future. That is, if we want to solve a number of serious economic, national security, and environmental problems facing our country – and if we care more about doing so than about appeasing the anti-science know-nothings on the far right of the political spectrum, plus ExxonMobil and the climate denial outfits they – and the Koch brothers, and other carbon-based/dirty energy interests – fund.

  • kindler

    …one of the most dangerous things that can happen in politics, namely paranoid conspiracy theories overwhelming science and reason — and otherwise intelligent but cynical people abdicating their responsibility as leaders to the angry, foaming at the mouth mob.  

  • Cool_Arrow

    Being threatned with a primary challenge. Their base hates science and wouldn’t know some facts if it hit them in the face.

    Whether we think climate change is real or not one can’t help but conclude that pollution can’t be good for the environment and would have no impact on climate.  

  • Quizzical

    What turned all of them around, the leak of the climate scientist’s emails?

    It would be nice if Wikileaks could publish the email archives of the chief climate change deniers.