What this election means for climate hawks: light but no heat
If Democrats have a safe word, no one in the party could remember what it was this election season as Republicans and their new buddies the Tea Party spanked the Dems so hard it makes one wonder how much longer history’s most dysfunctional sub/dom relationship can possibly continue.
Even election statistics uber-geek Nate Silver, a man not known for hyperbole, said the gain of what’s likely to be 65 seats for Republicans in the House is an “amazing result.” In other words, last night was a split decision the way Mike Tyson’s first-round knockout of Robin Givens was a split decision.
If you’re a person in favor of action on climate and clean energy — in other words, a climate hawk — you’d be forgiven for thinking that now is a good time to pop a Glock in your mouth and make a brain slushy.
But wait, it gets worse! In many races, the GOP — the party formerly known as the party whose constituents are least in favor of action on climate change — has been superseded by the only party ever invented by powerful corporate interests whose constituents, polls reveal, are even less in favor of action on climate change. Only one-quarter of Tea Partiers think climate change is a problem, which is less than half the proportion of independents who feel that way.
The incoming candidates are, almost exclusively, climate zombies — in denial about either the reality or the causes of climate change, and they’re in a fightin’, or at least brain-eatin’, mood.
The Department of Justice has demonstrated a determination to shoot down lawsuits attempting to block EPA action on greenhouse gas emissions, and a divided Congress can’t roll back the Clean Air Act to stop the EPA from clamping down on CO2 emissions, so what’s first on the agenda of House climate zombies?
Hearings! Lots of them. House climate zombies have been trying to put the science of climate change on trial ever since the U.S. Chamber of Commerce unironically suggested a “Scopes Monkey Trial” on the issue.
Journalist Mike Roddy is giddy at the prospect of scientists getting grilled by politicians on Capitol Hill:
Bring it on, baby. I can’t wait to see televised hearings, showing people like Michael Mann and James Hansen pitted against [Rep. Darrel] Issa [R-Calif.] and [Sen. James] Inhofe [R-Okla.]. Even the average American will be able to figure out who actually knows what he’s talking about if this happens.
Sounds fun, right? Finally, those reticent eggheads will be forced to stand up and fight for Mother Earth in a WWE Raw-style smackdown in which all the beer costs $8 and the spectacle’s the thing.
But we don’t have to wonder how it’ll play out: We can ask the one climate scientist who has suffered more collateral damage than anyone else as a result of the politicization of the science of climate change.
Michael Mann is being sued by the attorney general of Virginia for scientific fraud. I’m sure that’s just what he was expecting when he went to graduate school for atmospheric physics. Here’s his take on the situation:
The truth is that they don’t expect to uncover anything. Instead, they want to continue a 20-year assault on climate research, questioning basic science and promoting doubt where there is none.
So, that’s one vote for spirited debate and one for this can’t end well because sham trials aren’t about the truth, they’re about punishing your ideological foes by wasting their time and dragging them through the Kafkaesque nightmare that is the U.S. legal system.
Either way, we’re going to get a whole lot of light but no heat in the next few months: in other words, zero action on anything substantial.