With reality denial dominating the Republican Party platform, how will Republican National Convention delegates reconcile that the start of their 2012 gathering in Tampa was delayed by climate-fueled extreme weather?
First, let’s be clear: It’s Big Oil-funded GOP leadership that’s the problem, not rank-and-file Republicans. While virtually every Republican member of Congress and national party leader rejects climate science, 43% of rank-and-file Republicans see “solid evidence of global warming” according to the Pew Research Center.
Dig a little deeper and those numbers should be even more eye-catching for GOP leadership.
Among moderate Republicans, 63% see evidence our climate is changing. And what about Republicans who say they still haven’t made up their minds in the presidential race? Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project polling shows they’re only half as likely to deny the scientific reality of global warming as Republicans on the whole. Polls show Republican voters support solutions, from a revenue-neutral carbon tax to giving Americans more low-carbon transit options.
But Mitt Romney’s website doesn’t even mention climate change. While Romney himself once advocated for clean energy & carbon pollution cuts, he now rejects climate science. Romney’s energy plan unveiled last week contains mostly giveaways to the oil industry and polls show it hasn’t helped him with voters – no surprise considering Big Oil remains the most hated industry in America by a wide margin.
At a time when global warming & extreme weather are dominating the headlines, Republican Party leadership is increasingly step with the American mainstream:
- Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast. The Republican Party was forced to cancel the convention’s first day in Tampa as Isaac sent tropical storm warnings up along the Gulf Coast. Isaac is now forecast to make landfall as a hurricane near New Orleans late Tuesday. Global warming is making storms more intense by adding the fuel of warmer air & water to their fire, while rising sea levels raise the launching pad for storm surges.
- Bracing for a storm surge at the pump. The threat of Isaac is already shutting down oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to raise gas prices. It’s one of many ways that global warming threatens America’s energy infrastructure, and a problem that won’t be solved by relying more on offshore oil drilling.
- Arctic Sea ice melt scorches previous record. This summer’s Arctic Sea ice has already receded past the previous record – and there are still weeks of melting time to go. That’s bad news for the polar bears and other wildlife who depend on sea ice for survival. There’s also increasing evidence that a warming Arctic means more weird weather here in America.
- America’s sweltering summer. This year has been the hottest on record in the United States, with July 2012 going into the record books as America’s hottest month ever. Globally, 2012 has been the 10th-hottest on record, nearly 1 degree F above the 20th-century average. That it’s only 10th speaks to how much & how quickly our climate is changing – up until 1998, 2012 would’ve been the hottest year on record.
From a strictly political perspective, here’s the real problem for Republicans: Advocating inaction isn’t just stupid, it makes Republicans look weak. Reasonable people can disagree on the best way to respond to climate change, but who gets excited about a candidate who denies we have a problem and bad mouths America’s ability to solve it? Mitt Romney’s clean energy opposition is already costing him votes in farm states that have seen the economic windfall that harvesting clean energy can bring.
Cross-posted from TheGreenMiles.com