How is this going to work? Republicans on Climate Disruption

I was unsurprised with the Republican presidential candidates’ positions on the climate crisis.  It includes gems like:

Jeb Bush:  “I don’t think the science is clear on what percentage is man-made and…what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted. And for the people to say the science is decided on this is just really arrogant.”    He believes the U.S. needs to adapt, and he wants countries that have increased carbon emissions to cut back. But, he said, “We’re not one of them,” thanks to the increase in U.S. natural gas production from fracking.

melting globe

Donald Trump:  Trump tweetsIce storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee – I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!” and “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

wwf-ad-fish-head

Carly Foirani:  While admitting humans are causing climate disruption, Foirani says the US does not need to do anything about it, because other countries are not.  “[E]very one of the scientists that tell us that climate change is real and being caused by man-made activity also tells us that a single nation acting alone can make no difference at all,”

Ben Carson:  (who in most polls is number 2 behind Trump) simply denies it.  “I’ll tell you what I think about climate change. The temperature’s either going up or down at any point in time, so it really is not a big deal.”

Time for a name change.

Time for a name change.

Marco Rubio: “Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that’s directly and almost solely attributable to man made activity. I do not agree with that.”

What did surprise me is the latest survey numbers which indicate that more US Americans believe in Climate Disruption than ever before.  70% of those surveyed said they believe in global warming.  This is up 10% from a year ago.    More important, perhaps, is that the number of people who agree with the Republican presidential candidates is down to 16%.

There is no consensus!

There is no consensus!

Which begs the question: who do these Republicans think they are appealing to with their unpopular (and inaccurate) notions on the urgency of climate action?  One is tempted to say “their paymasters,” the Koch brothers and others who are economically disadvantaged by any efforts to curtail carbon emissions and who are funding their campaigns.

But this is a bit too simplistic.  Even in these days of exceedingly bribed politicians, they do not simply parrot the ideology of their benefactors.  This is partly because these agendas really only serve a tiny fraction of the population and these candidates need to win a mostly popular vote.

Let's self reflect here for a minute

Let’s self reflect here for a minute

But something deeper is happening here.  These candidates, who are paying advisers millions to inform them as to what is electable, apparently think most people would rather be lied to about this problem, and not spend money on it (or change things).  In this multi-billion dollar bet of a presidential election, this seems something of a poor wager to me.

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

2 responses to “How is this going to work? Republicans on Climate Disruption”

  1. Ed Zavada says :

    Great article, Paxus!

    The answer seems pretty straightforward to me.

    The GOP has gone from being a party with a large number of progressives in the 50’s and 60’s, to being a largely conservative party by the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately for conservatives, ideological purity and group loyalty are essential moral foundations. We can see this play out in signed pledges to not raise taxes, in conservative darlings being suddenly labeled RINOs if they take any position that differs from the Tea Partiers’ on any topic, and in the deepening Christian orthodoxy of the party. The natural trend for any such party is to push away more and more people as it spirals into ultra-orthodoxy. Climate Change denial is just one part of that orthodoxy.

    Of course, in a democracy, especially a two party democracy, losing elections should put a check on that tendency. But there are three things about our particular system that weakens those checks. First, the GOP base is far more likely to vote in off year elections, which means that they stay competitive at the state level and for congress far past their overall popularity. Second, state governments run by the GOP have engaged in gerrymandering which further helps. And third, campaigns cost a lot of money, so there is strong filter on who can run based on fundraising.

    This last one, as Lawrence Lessig likes to point out, heavily skews the candidates toward the interests of the wealthy (the paymasters, if you will), that small number of people who can afford to contribute even the individual limit. Most of them are heavily invested in the status quo, and fear economic disruption if we attempt to deal with climate change.

    It’s very shortsighted, of course, since the disruptions from not dealing with it will be far greater.

    Thanks again for another great article!

    • paxus says :

      Dearest Ed:

      I think i agree with most of your analysis. It does currently appear like Sanders is running a populist campaign, with lots of small donations. The MSM however has already chosen Hillary, so we will see how he does with the cards stacked against him.

      Paxus at RIC

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