Climate Denial Fashionable for GOP Contenders This Fall


It’s widely predicted that Democrats won’t fare so well this election season. I’m no election guru, so I’ll defer to others—see “Top 10 Senate Races to Worry About” and “Memo to Dems: A Miserable November Looms” for starters. Or, for an even more troubling post, see “How Bad Are the Next Few Years Going To Suck?” This, of course, is terrible news for anyone hoping Congress will pass major climate and energy legislation any time soon. How bad is it going to get?

Well, RL Miller at Daily Kos has been tracking what she calls the “Climate Zombies”—the GOP candidates for House and Senate who manage to be even worse on the issue than those currently in office. In short, climate change denial is back in a big way in the would-be congressional Class of 2011.

Ron Johnson, the formidable Republican challenger to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), believes sunspots are causing the planet to warm. Joe Miller, the tea-party candidate who upset Lisa Murkowski last month in Alaska, doesn’t think the planet is actually warming in the first place. In New Hampshire, all six Republican primary candidates in the Senate race agree that it has not yet been proven that mankind is warming the planet.

The House is even more frightening. Here’s Ruth McClung, the Republican candidate challenging incumbent Raul Grijalva, weighing in on why she, too, blames the sun:

After researching the causes of temperature fluctuations on earth, I found the largest factor to be the sun. The earth’s orbit changes. Also the earth’s spin and axis change over time. When areas of the earth are closer to the sun, the temperature is hotter and when they are further away, cooler. The sun also has more activity at times and less at other times. They have been able to map out large changes in the earth’s temperature over time to the sun. Times with no polar ice caps have corresponded to times when we were closer to the sun. Ice ages have corresponded to times when we were further from the sun. We should not punish the people of the United States financially by legislating on pseudo-science that has not been proven.

RL Miller’s got more on candidates in other big races here. The League of Conservation Voters also put out a memo last week running down the members of what they call the “Flat Earth Society.”

Now, if conservative activists get their way, the biggest step the 112th Congress will take on energy is preserving your right to inefficient lighting. But upon further reflection, maybe it will be a good thing if that’s the worst they get around to doing.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.