The #1 existential threat (and also economic opportunity via the massive, ongoing shift to clean energy!) facing humanity, man-made climate change, is now at the make-or-break point, according to a definitive, terrifying new report by the Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The point of this report is that humanity still has a chance to stave off climate disaster, but only if we take urgent action starting NOW. That means, among other things, as rapid as possible a phaseout of fossil fuels and a transition to a 100% clean energy economy. Let’s just emphasize something important here: there is literally ZERO scientific doubt about any of this; the ONLY question is political will, which to date has been sorely lacking and/or inadequate.
Yet, believe it or not, there’s something even worse than lack of political will – outright DENIAL (or minimization) that we even have a problem at all. I know, it’s crazy, kind of like denying evolution, gravity, the earth revolving around the sun, and other fundamental scientific facts. Yet in this country – very much an outlier – we have a major, national political party that is actually dominated by climate science deniers. That party, of course, is the Republican Party, formerly the party of science, now the party of ignorance, of the fossil fuel industry, and ultimately of disaster and ruin for hopes of a habitable planet.
Where do Virginia Republican stack up on climate science? It’s not a pretty picture. Let’s look at the VA GOP’s Congressional candidates and see how bad things are:
VA01: Rep. Rob Wittman (R) has an utterly abysmal 11% environmental lifetime score (3% in 2017, so he’s getting worse!) from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). What does Wittman, who laughably pretends to be an environmentalist, have to say about climate change? Yep, he’s a denier/minimizer: “We must recognize that these climactic cycles of heating and cooling have been going on well before man appeared on earth.” Which, of course, is completely brain-dead crap. The fact is that, since the industrial revolution, humans have been MASSIVELY heating the planet by emitting greenhouse gases (mostly from burning fossil fuels at increasing rates; also from deforestation and raising cattle for meat). Yet Wittman retreats to the pathetic, “the climate has always been changing” talking point that we hear so often from climate science deniers, minimizers and fossil fuel industry tools. Pathetic. On November 6, vote for Democrat Vangie Williams, who correctly states that “We should be promoting green technologies for energy generation as an alternative revenue source that builds a regional economy and reduces our carbon footprint,” instead.
VA02: Rep. Scott Taylor (R) clocks in with a horrendous 6% lifetime score from the LCV. On climate change, Taylor is at best a minimizer, retreating to the cowardly/craven talking point that “there are questions about how much is caused by man” and “what man can do about it.” In short, Taylor is worse than worthless if you care about having a habitable planet for yourselves, your kids, your grandkids, not to mention other species. Get him outta there. Vote Sierra Club-endorsed Elaine Luria on November 6!
VA04: Ryan McAdams (R) has absolutely NOTHING on his website issues section about what is, by far, the #1 issue facing humanity. Also no sign of anything on his Twitter feed. Worthless. reelect Rep. Donald McEachin (D), who is a climate champion!
VA05: Earlier this week, Republican Denver Riggleman actually said, at a debate, “What I don’t want to do is to have science become a religion where we’re taking jobs away from people rather than having some incremental way of making sure that change happens.” In a sane world, that alone – and there’s lots of other lunacy on other issues too! – would automatically eliminate Riggleman from consideration for public office in America. Meanwhile, Democrat Leslie Cockburn totally “gets it,” arguing strongly on her website and in public forums for urgent action on climate change and clean energy. On November 6, VA-05 voters should elect her, not her “Freedom Caucus” extreme opponent.
VA06: Republican Ben Cline is another standard-issue right-wing extremist in general, with a well-deserved F rating from the Sierra Club. In stark contrast, Democrat Jennifer Lewis is an environmental hero, fighting against fracked-gas pipelines and arguing that “we have to combat the destruction and poisoning of our environment.” On November 6, this one should be a no-brainer for VA-06 voters: Jennifer Lewis for Congress!
VA07: Republican Dave Brat is about as bad as they get in the U.S. Congress, and that’s really saying a lot. On climate change…I mean, don’t even ask, as he’s completely shit-for-brains (“The climate changes, I think there’s consensus on that, there’s not much debate on that, just look at the data ..it is what it is ..and then how much of it is man made and what’s the cost to fix it and who’s going to pay for it.”). So yeah, on November 6, make sure you vote for Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who says: “Climate change is real, and we’re already seeing the effects right here in Virginia with rising sea levels, higher average temperatures, and stronger hurricanes. An investment in clean, renewable energy is an investment in our ecosystem, our health, and our economy.”
VA08: Republican Thomas Oh doesn’t mention climate change in his issues section, but at least he says, “I support using clean renewable energy such as solar power, wind, and geothermal.” So that’s decent. As for Rep. Don Beyer (D), he’s been one of the greatest climate and environmental champions in Congress. So yeah, good to see that Oh hasn’t followed the rest of his party down into total batshit-crazy la-la land on climate; the problem is that he’d be another vote for climate-science-denier (aka, Republican) control of the House, and that would be a disaster for any hope of making progress on this issue.
VA09: Rep. Morgan Griffith (R) is 100% in the pocket of the coal industry, and his embarrassing, appalling comments on climate change bear that out. He badly, badly needs to go. In stark contrast, Democrat Anthony Flaccavento is strong on environmental protection, urging that we “[fight] climate change…while investing in economic transition for coal communities.” I realize that this is a deep-red, Trump district, but hopefully on November 6 VA-09 voters will really think about where we’re headed, maybe read the IPCC report, and then vote accordingly.
VA10: Another glaring choice here, between Republican Barbara “Votes 98% with Trump” Comstock and her pathetic 5% lifetime LCV score (also note that Comstock says stupid/ignorant shit like “We do understand the earth is warming. But we can’t destroy our economy while we’re at it. We need affordable energy.”) and Democrat Jennifer Wexton, who pledges that in Congress, “she will continue the fight to combat climate change, oppose drilling off Virginia’s coast, adhere to the goals outlined in the Paris Climate Accord, and protect our natural resources, public lands, and waters.” Go Wexton!
VA11: Republican Jeff Dove doesn’t seem to have anything on his website about the environment, energy or climate change. That’s simply unacceptable, given that this is the #1 issue facing humanity. As for Rep. Gerry Connolly (D), he has 100% scores from major environmental groups, noting that he has “supported the Paris Climate Agreement, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Clean Power Plan, and many more progressive environmental policies.” This one’s a no-brainer: vote Gerry Connolly on November 6!
U.S. Senate: Republican extremist Corey Stewart is the worst of the worst of course, an absolute disgrace on basically everything. When it comes to climate change, which Corey Stewart calls a “hoax,” he’s arguably THE WORST Republican in Virginia, with the possible exception of Morgan Griffith. On this issue alone, Corey Stewart should not even be CONSIDERED for anyone’s vote, and after he gets crushed by Tim Kaine on November 6, should then be ousted from the Prince William County Board in 2019. For Sen. Tim Kaine’s views on protecting our environment (“he is fighting the Trump administration’s efforts to gut federal environmental protections, including for clean air and water, and speaking out against President Trump’s decision to abandon U.S. leadership by withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement”), see here – and VOTE KAINE on 11/6!
— Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) October 11, 2018