Monday, January 18, 2016

Republican Climate Avoidance and the Sixth GOP Debate


Republican candidates for president seem to think that if you ignore the climate crisis American voters won't notice. During the sixth Republican debate there was no mention of climate change or global warming, the COP21 deal, renewable energy, cleantech, or the low carbon economy, and of course nary a word was uttered on emissions or greenhouse gases.

Climate change was a no show in the first Republican debate, the CNBC presidential debate and in the November debate they made their opposition to climate action clear. Republican presidential candidates have stated that they do not believe we should not do anything to combat climate change.

For their part the Democratic Presidential contenders have made their support for climate action clear in the CBS debate and the third debate. In fact the differences between the two parties on climate change have led some to conclude that it may give the Democrats the edge in the 2016 election.

The current slate of Republicans presidential contenders are vulnerable to criticism. Their anti-science policy positions will not stand up to scrutiny. Republicans have tried to kill the Clean Power Plan and they have worked to sabotage the COP21 deal.

Despite polls which show that American climate deniers are an increasingly rare breed, Republicans keep ignoring or undermining climate action.

Republicans are at odds with Americans on the subject of climate change and the Clean Power Plan. Even Pope Francis has condemned Republican climate denial in his address to Congress. To understand the Republican's seemingly irrational stance you need to follow the money to the fossil fuel industry.

In the sixth Republican debate closest anyone got to a discussion of anything green was when the it was used as a prefix to the word card in a xenophobic exchange on the horrors of immigration. Rubio even suggested that "radical jihadist" are somehow behind the issuance of green cards.

The only one of the candidates who mentioned energy and oil is Kasich. It came up when he was asked the following question:
"while everyone has been focusing on Iran’s provocations, I’m wondering what you make of what Saudi Arabia has been doing and its recent moves in the region, including its execution of a well-known Shi’ite cleric and its move to dramatically increase oil production, some say in an effort to drive down oil prices and force a lot of U.S. oil producers out of business. Sure enough, oil prices have tumbled. One brokerage house is predicting a third or more of American oil producers and those heavily invested in fracking will go bankrupt, and soon Saudi Arabia and OPEC will be back in the driver’s seat."
Kaisich replied saying:
"With Saudi Arabia and oil production, first of all, it’s so critical for us to be energy independent, and we’re getting there because of fracking and we ought to explore because, see, energy independence gives us leverage and flexibility, and secondly, if you want to bring jobs back to the United States of America in industry, low prices make the difference. We’re seeing it in my state and we’ll see it in this country. And that’s why we must make sure we continue to frack."
It is ironic that in Kasich's closing remarks he explained that his grandfather was a coal miner, who went blind and died of black lung.

Climate all but Absent from the Republican CNBC Presidential Debate
Climate Change a No-Show in the First Republican Debate
Republican Presidential Candidates Say the US Should Not Do Anything to Combat Climate Change
Opposition to Climate Action in the November Republican Primary Debate
Climate and Energy Excerpts from the Fourth Democratic Primary Debate
Climate Excerpts from the CBS Democratic Primary Debate
Climate and Clean Energy in the Third Democratic Debate
The Green Elements of the First 2012 Presidential Debate
Climate Change May Give Democrats the Edge in the 2016 Federal Election

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