Photo: U.S. ArmyPaging Michael Specter: I’ve got some live ones for you. Deniers, that is–folks who irrationally cling to faith-based beliefs, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.
I’m not talking fear-mongering Internet bandits here–guys who amplify their dubious screeds on large-type blogs. I’m talking about Sen. James Inhofe, ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; and Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, probably the nation’s most potent agribusiness interest group.
The two have opened an assault on the Senate climate bill–on the assumption that human-induced climate change is a hoax. Click here (via Farm Policy blog) to hear the two chat about how the real threat to agriculture going forward isn’t climate change, but rather climate change legislation.
Their exchange is most notable for its utter banality–just a couple of regular guys shooting the breeze about kiboshing the government’s first serious effort to avert climate calamity.
DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton (via Farm Policy blog) gave the following summary of Stallman’s testimony before the committee.
Scientists and officials who believe climate change is caused by human industrial emissions make the claim that agriculture will be one of the most affected sectors because farming and livestock production are sensitive to weather changes. Stallman questions the logic.
“‘Before you ask that question, implicit is the assumption that all of that [climate change] is going to happen,’ Stallman said.”
Stallman said the organization [the Farm Bureau] has a lot of skepticism about the science and the process the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used to come to its conclusions on climate change. Congress should at least hold hearings to consider the scientists and climatologists who disagree with the IPCC data and analysis, Stallman said.
Now, this is not just idle denialist banter. Stallman worked closely with House Ag Committee chair Collin Peterson to turn the House climate bill into yet another sop for Big Ag. He has vowed to do the same with the Senate bill–if he can’t kill it outright.
As for Stallman’s dear friend Sen. Inhofe, he’s reportedly preparing to trip up the climate bill by leading a boycott of the Environment and Public Works committee’s vote.
But then again, maybe Michael Specter doesn’t have any special problem with these two distinguished gentlemen. In his book Denialism, Specter ignores climate-change deniers and instead attacks critics of GMO agriculture, which he presents as the solution to climate change. With the climate crisis so neatly solved, I suppose, there’s no need to curb GHG emissions. Specter envisions a future in which “genetically engineered organisms .. propel our cars and sustain our factories” amid melted ice sheets and rising seas.
So heave away, boys! Let us move bravely into the future, knowing that our political system can’t deal with climate change, but that guys in white lab coats working for Monsanto can. Or so they assure us!