Posted by: ericgrimsrud | January 12, 2017

Why Republicans take no action on climate change

Most of the Republicans elected to serve in Washington are not stupid. Most have noted the overwhelming evidence growing every year showing that the Earth is being warmed by increased levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. And one would have to be a complete intellectual moron to not pay attention to what America’s scientific experts in this area are telling us. For these reasons, I happen to believe that only a minority of serving Republicans fit that description. Yet the Republicans in Washington have done essentially nothing to help our country address this problem. Why is that?

For some time now, I have thought I knew the answer to that question and then this morning I read an op ed in the Washington Post (see it at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/republicans-want-to-fight-climate-change-but-fossil-fuel-bullies-wont-let-them/2017/01/10/177dbd4e-cc82-11e6-b8a2-8c2a61b0436f_story.html?utm_term=.9bc52a49db91 ) that reinforced my notions. This op ed was written by a person, Sheldon Whitehouse, who should know the answer: he has served in the US Congress over the last decade and has, perhaps more than any other Congressman, paid a great deal of attention to environmental issues.

In his op ed, Senator Whitehouse’s main points were the following. According to an estimate by the International Monetary Fund, the fossil fuel industries receive subsidies of about $700 billion per year and they gravely fear the loss of this revue. For that purpose, they spend several hundreds of million dollars for lobbying efforts every election cycle in order to ensure the continuation of those subsides. While such obscene levels of financial influence used to be illegal in the USA, in the post-Citizens United era in which we now live, there are no restrictions on the amount of money anyone or any corporation can “invest” in a given election. Thus, the halls of congress are literally awash with almost unlimited amounts of money to be used as needed in order to get the desired result. If an outcome in a given contest is uncertain, more money is simply poured into the fossil fuel preference. Thus, our Republican representatives in Washington and at the state levels know very well that they will be replaced in the next election cycle if they show signs of growing a conscience on the issue of climate change. Thus, they speak with each other quietly and only in private, not wanting even their staff to hear any personal thoughts they might have on this topic. In other words, they are still “bullied” into submission by the fossil fuel industries.

So yes, I believe that is about it. To argue that there is a lot more to it serves only to take needed focus off the most important cause. So yes, money does indeed matter and even determines – even when spent on the continuation of stupid and clearly self-destructive policies. In order to remove this malignant blockage, one or more of three things must happen. One would be that the shame-resistant CEOs of our fossil fuel industries step aside (and certainly not be appointed to the office of Secretary of State!). Another would be that our elected representatives either develop some intestinal fortitude or agree to single-term limits. Another would be to overturn Citizens United so that votes determine outcomes rather than dollars.


Responses

  1. Few Americans, if any, have ever damaged their country more than the Supreme Court justices that voted for Citizen United
    Clearly, money and monied interests must be an important influence on all governance, but a balance between various interests must also be maintained, or the result of governancee is likely to be ill-adviced policies, economic distortions, conflicts and ultimately societal decline. The justices in question violated the most fundamental idea in the Constitution; that of a balance of powers. The political impotence, on technical, intellectual, and moral levels, so embarrasingly displayed by senators and congressmen on the issue of global warming is a main case of point. That impotence should be thoroughly researched and put on public display. Anecdotes are not enough.

  2. Hey Eric, thanks for this, but I think rent-seeking by subsidized fossil fuel companies is only part of it. Republicans come in many varieties and with many motives. For most rank-and-file conservatives, it’s probably more a matter of valuing living space, auto-driven independence and national pride.

    [Response by EPG: Thanks for that, David. Yes, individual motivations will certainly vary. But, nonetheless, if a Republican happens to “grow a conscience” on the subject of climate change – for whatever reason – he is likely to be replaced in the next election cycle – due to the power of unlimited fossil fuel lobby dollars. That appears to be the bottom line for survival by Republican legislators.]

  3. Eric,
    I admire your energy………you are like the Energizer bunny.

    I am going to disagree one last time hoping you will not take this as personal or ill humored.

    My days of opposing “Global Warming” are done so if I turn up here in the future I won’t vex you with ridicule or abuse. Does this mean that suddenly I believe in Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming? On the contrary, the whole thing is a farce……………future generations will wonder how such an absurd concept was allowed to affect public policy..

    Here is a link explaining my thinking. Instead of trying to change minds on the Internet I will be helping to write legislation. Reforms that appeared to be impossible only 69 days ago are now likely to be implemented in a matter of weeks so there is no point in continuing a debate that was won years ago. The time for debate is over and your side lost.
    https://thepointman.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/a-message-in-two-parts-part-two/#comment-24264

    Alarmists imagined that the hordes of bloggers who opposed CAGW and “Carbon Mitigation” were employed by the fossil fuel companies. The reality is that fossil fuel companies preferred to fund Greenies in the hope they would be left alone. This kind of shakedown scheme won’t work with Trump in the White House so tomorrow the Clinton Global Foundation will vanish soon to be followed by a bunch of Greenie organizations such as the Sierra Club. Good riddance. let the evil they did be buried with them.

    The American people rejected the Greenie BS and signed up for Peace (through strength) and Prosperity (through abundant cheap energy).

    You will benefit along with every other person in the USA and many more around the world even though your prejudice will prevent you from admitting it!

    • My days of opposing “Global Warming” are done so if I turn up here in the future I won’t vex you with ridicule or abuse. Does this mean that suddenly I believe in Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming? On the contrary, the whole thing is a farce……………future generations will wonder how such an absurd concept was allowed to affect public policy..

      I know that Dr. Robert B. Laughlin has a much better understanding of this topic than Eric Grimsrud could ever hope to acquire from where ever he gets his delusional information.
      “Please remain calm: The Earth will heal itself — Climate is beyond our power to control…Earth doesn’t care about governments or their legislation. You can’t find much actual global warming in present-day weather observations. Climate change is a matter of geologic time, something that the earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone’s permission or explaining itself.” — Nobel Prize-Winning Stanford University Physicist Dr. Robert B. Laughlin, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1998, and was formerly a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

      Eric Grimsrud does not appear to be astute enough to realize that his religion of agw is not about saving humanity or the planet but over gaining control by those that assume that they have the right to exercise that control because they are just naturally better than the unwashed masses, in their minds.

      “With every day that passes, I’m becoming more convinced that this is the most oppressive and freedom-eroding religion this world has ever seen. That would be all fine and dandy if it weren’t being forced upon us with such proselytizing madness, and if it weren’t attempting to be legislated from every publicly-held office in our nation.”

      “I am ashamed of what climate science has become today.” The science “community is relying on an inadequate model to blame CO2 and innocent citizens for global warming in order to generate funding and to gain attention. If this is what ‘science’ has become today, I, as a scientist, am ashamed.” — Research Chemist William C. Gilbert published a study in August 2010 in the journal Energy & Environment titled “The thermodynamic relationship between surface temperature and water vapor concentration in the troposphere” and he published a paper in August 2009 titled “Atmospheric Temperature Distribution in a Gravitational Field.”

      “The dysfunctional nature of the climate sciences is nothing short of a scandal. Science is too important for our society to be misused in the way it has been done within the Climate Science Community.” The global warming establishment “has actively suppressed research results presented by researchers that do not comply with the dogma of the IPCC.” — Swedish Climatologist Dr. Hans Jelbring, of the Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics Unit at Stockholm University.

      “Those who call themselves ‘Green planet advocates’ should be arguing for a CO2- fertilized atmosphere, not a CO2-starved atmosphere…Diversity increases when the planet was warm AND had high CO2 atmospheric content…Al Gore’s personal behavior supports a green planet – his enormous energy use with his 4 homes and his bizjet, does indeed help make the planet greener. Kudos, Al for doing your part to save the planet.” — Renowned engineer and aviation/space pioneer Burt Rutan, who was named “100 most influential people in the world, 2004″ by Time Magazine and Newsweek called him “the man responsible for more innovations in modern aviation than any living engineer.”

      “Global warming is the central tenet of this new belief system in much the same way that the Resurrection is the central tenet of Christianity. Al Gore has taken a role corresponding to that of St Paul in proselytizing the new faith…My skepticism about AGW arises from the fact that as a physicist who has worked in closely related areas, I know how poor the underlying science is. In effect the scientific method has been abandoned in this field.” — Atmospheric Physicist Dr. John Reid, who worked with Australia’s CSIRO’s (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Oceanography and worked in surface gravity waves (ocean waves) research.
      I know that these people are more knowledgeable regarding this subject that a fiction writer such as Eric Grimsrud is; therefore, it is people like this that I get my information from.


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