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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


On Climate Change, Republicans Stand Alone

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: climate change, climate science, global warming, election 2010, Republicans, climate change denial, politics, environment, Keith Goetzman,

Five-day forecast 

One of the parties on the ballot on Election Day holds a position that virtually no party in the world’s liberal democracies shares. The Republican Party’s steadfast rejection of climate science makes it a global outlier, an unparalleled bastion of denial, ignorance, and obfuscation on one of the most important issues of the day. 

That’s why Ronald Brownstein, conservative columnist for the National Journal, caused a bit of a stir when he wrote on October 9: 

Virtually all of the serious 2010 GOP challengers have moved beyond opposing cap-and-trade to dismissing the scientific evidence that global warming is even occurring. … It is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is “no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of.”

It will be difficult for the world to move meaningfully against climate disruption if the United States does not. And it will be almost impossible for the U.S. to act if one party not only rejects the most common solution proposed for the problem (cap-and-trade) but repudiates even the idea that there is a problem to be solved. The GOP’s stiffening rejection of climate science sets the stage for much heated argument but little action as the world inexorably warms … .

Brownstein’s candor on this issue yielded reactions of welcome surprise in outlets ranging from Treehugger to Climate Progress to Ross Douthat’s blog at the New York Times. But a strange thing has happened to Brownstein’s column as Election Day approaches: It has disappeared without a trace from the National Journal’s website.

Maybe the writer changed his mind about climate change and pulled it. Maybe a link has simply broken. Maybe a climate-related weather event has disrupted the connection to the server. Or perhaps someone at the National Journal decided it was time to unhost the attention-getting piece, an unwelcome bit of self-criticism at a time when line-toeing and back-patting is in order.

In the meantime, StopGlobalWarming.org has posted a copy of the column, which is perfect for sharing with conservative-leaning friends and family before they vote.

Sources: National Journal, Treehugger, Climate Progress, New York Times, StopGlobalWarming.org 

Image from This Isn’t Happiness.