They prowl the halls of Congress, moaning for caaasshh.
Their stupid has gone viral.
And if they win, humanity loses.
I’m tracking Climate Zombies: every Republican candidate for House, Senate, and governor who doubts, denies, or derides the science of climate change. Like this elected representative, whose website proudly informs us that:
Global warming is simply a chicken-little scheme to use mass media and government propaganda to convince the world that destruction of individual liberties and national sovereignty is necessary to save mankind, and that the unwashed masses would destroy themselves without the enlightened global dictatorship of these frauds.
In the large, polarized state of Texas, home of the oil and gas industry, the existence of climate zombies is hardly a shock, starting with Gov. Rick Perry:
It is unconscionable that unelected bureaucrats at the EPA have declared carbon dioxide a public danger despite a lack of scientific evidence to support their ruling. This action should be of grave concern to all Americans, especially Texans, in light of the recent “Climategate” scandal, which uncovered data had been manipulated and destroyed in order to falsely show a preordained result.
A number of representatives have spoken out against the science. Louie Gohmert (Texas-01) finds that the world is staying the same or actually cooling. Ted Poe (Texas-02) knows that “even NASA is involved in not revealing evidence that contradicts climate change.” Joe Barton (Texas-06) tells Al Gore that he’s not just a little off, he’s totally wrong. Mike Conaway (Texas-11) spoke on the House floor: “Science is never settled … they changed the phraseology because the climate isn’t warming.” Ron Paul (Texas-14) calls global warming a hoax. Pete Olson (Texas-22) says: “The emails that emerge from the University of East Anglia call into question the accuracy of the IPCC data.”
Other representatives flaunt their denialism on their websites. Ralph Hall (Texas-04), on the “climategate” non-scandal: “There is growing concern and evidence that scientific data, from which global warming theories emerged, has been manipulated, enhanced or deleted.” John Culberson (Texas-07):
This week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided that the air we exhale, carbon dioxide, is toxic and poses a danger to our well-being … While this blatant power grab is disappointing, the truly alarming part is that the scientific evidence the EPA used to support its conclusion comes directly from United Nations (U.N.) climate data — the same data that were recently found to have been deliberately manipulated to support the global warming movement.
Global Warming: Politics or Science? Some scientists believe that the temperature of the Earth is increasing rapidly. Others, such as those at the United Kingdom’s Hadley Center for Climate Studies, say that the Earth’s temperature is not much different now than it was 50 or 100 years ago. The case that man is causing any change in temperature is even more hotly contested.
What we have here is a case of formulating scientific findings that back up policy, instead of creating policy that is backed up by legitimate science. Proponents of man-made global warming in Congress will use every opportunity they have to invite witnesses to testify before Congress who only share their point of view. We now have clear evidence of what we knew all along, that there are perhaps thousands of scientists who don’t share these views, and sadly have been the subject of concerted efforts to discourage and suppress their findings from publication.
Lamar Smith (Texas-21): “We now know that prominent scientists were so determined to advance the idea of human-made global warming that they worked together to hide contradictory temperature data.” Michael Burgess (Texas-26) [PDF]: “Numerous reports now suggest that the scientists at CRU intentionally excluded data that did not fit into their political agenda … ”
GOP candidates challenging Democratic incumbents bluntly disdain science. Steve Mueller (Texas-09): “Global warming is a political lie used by Washington to increase taxes and government control. The temperature of the earth should be expected to fluctuate over time … it is arrogant and ignorant to think that we are going to change cycles that God built into His universe.” Tim Besco (Texas-16) considers global warming a myth and hoax. Bill Flores (Texas-17) mocks petty politics based on dubious “agenda-driven, scientific” research. John Faulk (Texas-18): “The science behind so-called “Global Warming” is so uncertain and so controversial that any major action regarding this “problem” should have to be approved by a direct vote of the people in a national referendum” (never mind the need for a Constitutional amendment to allow a referendum — it’s not like we have an urgent problem or anything). Donna Campbell (Texas-25) discards global warming in favor of natural cycles. Blake Farenthold (Texas-27): “Global warming is scare tactic used by groups with a political agenda.” [sic]
I don’t yet have any climate science-related data on Reps. Sam Johnson (Texas-03) or Kevin Brady (Texas-08) or candidates Clayton Trotter (Texas-20), Francisco Canseco (Texas-23), Bryan Underwood (Texas-28), or Roy Morales (Texas-29), but all appear conservative and likely to deny the science. Reps. Jeb Hensarling (Texas-05) and Kay Granger (Texas-12) haven’t openly mocked climate science, but have signed the Koch/Americans for Prosperity No Climate Ta
x pledge, as has candidate Kenny Marchant (Texas-24). Pete Sessions (Texas-32) thinks that we ought to be saying the energy companies are our friends, and has signed the Koch/AFP pledge. The website of candidate Eddie Zamora (Texas-15) doesn’t mock science, but it does encourage “drill here, drill now,” and Stephen Broden (Texas-30) is a Tea Party candidate.
How badly is Texas infected with climate zombies? I couldn’t find any statement by any GOP politician acknowledging human-caused global warming at all. Semi-final score: 33 out of 33 are either infected or presumed to be.
Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas-10), whose district includes both oily Houston and green Austin and who founded the High Tech Caucus, has a revealing post on his website: One District Can Have Two Views. He seems sharp, but he ducks the question of climate change’s cause. So why is he trying a balancing act?
For the same reason so many Texas Republicans flout science.
Because they can.
Politics has trumped science.
Republicans have made a conscious choice to pander to a suspicious anti-science electorate rather than acknowledge science. After a summer in which Russia burned, Pakistan drowned, and heat waves were shattered, Rep. Barton proclaims with impunity that “The premise of the [climate] bill — that there’s some environmental catastrophe that has to be averted — is showing more and more to be fairly unpersuasive, fairly unsubstantiated.” His district won’t see any irony. Not when every Republican running for Senate this year is likewise a climate zombie. As any horror movie fan knows, zombies’ unthinking determination usually wears down sentient humans and destroys civilizations.
Get Grist in your inbox