A Conservative Who Admits Climate Change is Real and Due to Human Activity

Every now and then a new species is discovered. So it seems today with an article by Brian Nearing in the Albany Times Union (February 19, 2018). He tells of Bob Inglis, who has been trying to persuade his fellow Republicans that they have it all wrong in denying the reality of climate change. Inglis came to our area to speak to a Republican club at a local college. He thinks younger people are an easier sell than their parents.

Of course, one has to be glad to see people trying to get away from science denial. It is one of the most foolish behaviors, and unfortunately for them, Republicans are pretty much tied to them, both with regard to climate science and biology. The President has made it worse by putting Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier, in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency. So good luck to Mr. Inglis!

Of course the reason for climate change denial among Republicans is not hard to guess: money. Wealthy corporations, particularly the oil and gas industry, stand to lose by strategies that favor alternate energy sources such as geothermal, solar, or wind power. So their clients in the Republican party swallow the transparent distortions of people like Scott Pruitt, who, knowing nothing about the procedures of science, claim that there is serious doubt about human causation of global warming. There is no alternate explanation of global warming that fits the facts.

I would rather argue with Republicans about what is the best role of government than to try to deal with their irrational beliefs about scientific matters. Let’s go down the list: the Republican Party sides with the NRA on gun control. The party of gun violence. The Republican Party sides with Trump on immigration from Mexico or Muslim countries. The Party of prejudice and racism. The Republican party is with Trump on giveaway tax breaks to wealthy corporations and negligible benefits to the working class. The Party of hypocrisy and wealth. The list of political charges is long, but until Mr. Inglis and others like him succeed in changing minds, the Republican party will also be, for a long time, the Party of willful ignorance.

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