Monday, June 26, 2017

Most Republicans Know Climate Change is Real, So Why….

There are very few among the GOP, even die-hard Republicans unless they are a small minority of Christian fundamentalists, who will not tell you – if they trust you and in a private, off-the-record conversation – that man-induced climate change is real, serious and not a hoax. In fact, a belief in this fact was a mainstay in the 2008 presidential campaign from GOP stalwart, John McCain.
“[This] campaign ad appeared during the presidential contest of 2008. Rapid-fire images of belching smokestacks and melting ice sheets were followed by a soothing narrator who praised a candidate who had stood up to President George W. Bush and ‘sounded the alarm on global warming.’… It was not made for a Democrat, but for Senator John McCain, who had just secured the Republican nomination.
“It is difficult to reconcile the Republican Party of 2008 with the party of 2017, whose leader, President Trump, has called global warming a hoax, reversed environmental policies that Mr. McCain advocated on his run for the White House, and this past week announced that he would take the nation out of the Paris climate accord, which was to bind the globe in an effort to halt the planet’s warming.
“The Republican Party’s fast journey from debating how to combat human-caused climate change to arguing that it does not exist is a story of big political money, Democratic hubris in the Obama years and a partisan chasm that grew over nine years like a crack in the Antarctic shelf, favoring extreme positions and uncompromising rhetoric over cooperation and conciliation.
“‘Most Republicans still do not regard climate change as a hoax,’ said Whit Ayres, a Republican strategist who worked for Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. ‘But the entire climate change debate has now been caught up in the broader polarization of American politics.’… ‘In some ways,’ he added, ‘it’s become yet another of the long list of litmus test issues that determine whether or not you’re a good Republican.’
“Since Mr. McCain ran for president on climate credentials that were stronger than his opponent Barack Obama’s, the scientific evidence linking greenhouse gases from fossil fuels to the dangerous warming of the planet has grown stronger. Scientists have for the first time drawn concrete links between the planet’s warming atmosphere and changes that affect Americans’ daily lives and pocketbooks, from tidal flooding in Miami to prolonged water shortages in the Southwest to decreasing snow cover at ski resorts.
“That scientific consensus was enough to pull virtually all of the major nations along. Conservative-leaning governments in Britain, France, Germany and Japan all signed on to successive climate change agreements… Yet when Mr. Trump pulled the United States from the Paris accord, the Senate majority leader, the speaker of the House and every member of the elected Republican leadership were united in their praise.
“Those divisions did not happen by themselves. Republican lawmakers were moved along by a campaign carefully crafted by fossil fuel industry players, most notably Charles D. and David H. Koch, the Kansas-based billionaires who run a chain of refineries (which can process 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day) as well as a subsidiary that owns or operates 4,000 miles of pipelines that move crude oil.
“Government rules intended to slow climate change are ‘making people’s lives worse rather than better,’ Charles Koch explained in a rare interview last year with Fortune, arguing that despite the costs, these efforts would make ‘very little difference in the future on what the temperature or the weather will be.’
“Republican leadership has also been dominated by lawmakers whose constituents were genuinely threatened by policies that would raise the cost of burning fossil fuels, especially coal. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, always sensitive to the coal fields in his state, rose through the ranks to become majority leader. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming also climbed into leadership, then the chairmanship of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, as a champion of his coal state.
“Mr. Trump has staffed his White House and cabinet with officials who have denied, or at least questioned, the existence of global warming. And he has adopted the Koch language, almost to the word.” New York Times, June 3rd. 
Did somebody say “Koch”? Notwithstanding the pro-climate-compliance vectors in the Paris accord supported from big oil (e.g., Chevron), that the Republican Party is deeply beholden to campaign contributions from some of the biggest natural resource extractors in the land is hardly a big secret. Especially those that are very free with the largest contributions at every level… like the Koch brothers. Even Russian media gets the power of such GOP money politics. Like this observation in the June 3rd “Trump’s highly controversial decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement was well-telegraphed throughout his campaign, but speculation that his one-time detractors the billionaire business mogul Koch brothers were behind the decision is gaining momentum.
‘What’s happening behind here is real politics. This is the victory paid and carried out for 20 years by two people: David and Charles Koch. That’s what this is about,’ Columbia University professor and Director of the Earth Institute Jeffrey Sachs said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“Sachs placed the blame for Trump’s decision squarely on the Koch brothers’ shoulders, claiming: ‘They have bought and purchased the top of the Republican party… Trump is a tool in this.’
“Koch Industries and its subsidiaries are a sprawling conglomerate that comprises everything from chemicals and plastics manufacturing to energy products such as natural gas and petroleum and even fertilizer and ranching, all of which are highly polluting industries that would greatly benefit from decreased regulation and government interference.”
So in simple words, the GOP has actually done a 180 on climate change because they were well-paid to do so. They promulgate the “hoax” of climate change, knowing full-well that it is very real. So real that the United States is one of only three countries on earth who challenge virtually all of the underlying facts and consequences of that climate change reality, relying on dramatically false statistical information, telling us that the voluntary provisions of the Paris accords are mandatory when they know they are not and promulgating a “Chinese conspiracy” against the 195 other nations who remain committed to that Paris accord. Why? Cold, hard cash.
I’m Peter Dekom, and exactly where does corruption begin and free-speech-campaigning end?

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