Boehner
House Speaker John Boehner — not a scientist
John Boehner’s Flickr feed

GOP politicians are using a new tactic when they talk about climate change: playing dumb.

As the Huffington Post reports, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told journalists on Thursday that he’s “not qualified to debate the science over climate change” — but he does know that Obama’s “prescription for dealing with changes in our climate” involves hurting the economy and “killing” American jobs.

This isn’t a wholly new approach, as Climate Progress point out:

“I’m not a scientist,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in 2009, his first in a long line of statements denying climate change. “I’m not sure, I’m not a scientist,” Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) said of climate change in 2010 (Grimm changed his mind on the issue this past April).

The tactic is an interesting (and seemingly effective) way for politicians to avoid acknowledging or denying the reality of climate change while still getting to fight against any regulation to stop it.

Politico has more recent examples:

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott has offered the response “I am not a scientist” on multiple occasions when the topic has come up lately. Even the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, who have put big money into fighting President Barack Obama’s energy and climate policies, disclaimed any pretense at scientific know-how when wealthy climate activist Tom Steyer challenged them to a debate on climate change.

“We are not experts on climate change,” Koch spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia said in an email to The Wichita Eagle this month. She added, “The debate should take place among the scientific community, examining all points of view and void of politics, personal attacks and partisan agendas.”

While some Republican politicians and their fossil-fuel overlords might be shying away from public attacks on climate science, they’re not shying away from public attacks on climate action. They are already attacking the new climate rules that President Obama plans to announce on Monday. They would rather doom us all to climate chaos than help the nation switch over to renewable energy — and that really is dumb.