Wednesday, November 25, 2015

China Is Likely To Be More Receptive To Obama's Climate Change Goals Than Ted Cruz Is


The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference starts next week, November 30 in Paris and will go through December 11. Most world leaders, including Obama, will be attending and it was the subject of Pope Francis' encyclical last May, Laudato si', in which he wrote "There are certain environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a broad consensus. Here I would state once more that the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good... Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities."

As President Obama prepares for the conference, he'll have in the back of him mind the last Climate Change-related vote taken by Congress, less than two weeks ago. The Senate voted 52-46 to pass a Joint Resolution of congressional disapproval of an EPA rule about greenhouse gas emissions. Three blue and purple state Republicans-- Kelly Ayotte (NH), Susan Collins (ME) and Mark Kirk (IL)-- voted with the Democrats against the bill and 3 corrupt conservative red-state Democrats-- Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Manchin (WV)-- voted with the Republicans against the EPA rule. One of the resolution's staunchest opponents, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, noted that "the Senate’s vote sends a signal, and at an international conference like this, signals are important. There is a question facing not only the Senate but all Americans-- will the United States lead the clean energy revolution of the 21st century, or will we choose to tie ourselves to 19th-century dirty fuels like coal?" He urges Massachusetts voters to "stand strong for a cleaner, better, more sustainable future-- support the Clean Power Plan, and show the world that America is ready to lead the clean energy revolution."

Earlier this year the NY Times released extensive polling on how Americans see Climate Change. "Most Americans," they concluded, "think global warming poses a critical threat-- in the future, for other people. A majority said it will be a very serious problem for the future of the world, but fewer described it as very serious for the United States." An overwhelming majority of Americans, and even most Republicans, say they back Climate Change action by the government. In fact, the polling "found that two-thirds of Americans said they were more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They were less likely to vote for candidates who questioned or denied the science that determined that humans caused global warming." And yet yesterday, the Washington Post reported on a study looking at why so many Americans are skeptical about climate change and pointed directly at the role of corporate money in the debate.
The report, a systematic review of 20 years’ worth of data, highlights the connection between corporate funding and messages that raise doubts about the science of climate change and whether humans are responsible for the warming of the planet. The analysis suggests that corporations have used their wealth to amplify contrarian views and create an impression of greater scientific uncertainty than actually exists.

“The contrarian efforts have been so effective for the fact that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust,” said Justin Farrell, a Yale University sociologist and author of the study, released on Monday in the peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

...The results, Farrell said, revealed an “ecosystem of influence” within the corporate-backed groups. Those that received donations consistently promoted the same contrarian themes-- casting doubt, for example, on whether higher levels of man-made carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere were harmful to the planet. There was no evidence of such coordination among the non-funded groups.

The existence of corporate money “created a united network within which the contrarian messages could be strategically created” and spread, Farrell said.

“This counter-movement produced messages aimed, at the very least, at creating ideological polarization through politicized tactics, and at the very most, at overtly refuting current scientific consensus with scientific findings of their own,” he said.

...The publication of the report comes two weeks after New York prosecutors announced an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil misled the public and investors about the risks of climate change. The probe was prompted in part by reports in the Los Angeles Times and the online publication Inside Climate News, alleging that Exxon researchers expressed concerned about climate change from fossil fuel emissions decades ago, even as the company publicly raised doubts about whether climate-change was scientifically valid.

Exxon has declined to comment on the investigation while acknowledging that its position on climate-change has evolved in recent years. “Our company, beginning in the latter part of the 1970s and continuing to the present day, has been involved in serious scientific research, and we have been supporting since that time scientific understanding of the risk of climate change,” Exxon’s vice president of public and government affairs Ken Cohen told reporters after the New York probe was revealed.
Seth Borenstein, reporting for the A.P. pointed out that most of the Republican candidates for president flunk climate science. The informal study for A.P. by eight climate and biological scientists found that Clinton, O'Malley and Bernie did fine and all the Republicans sucked, some worse than others and one, in particular-- Ted Cruz-- more than anyone else. Here are the grades:
Clinton- 94%
O'Malley- 91%
Sanders- 87%
Bush- 64%
Christie- 54%
Kasich- 47%
Paul- 38%
Fiorina- 28%
Rubio- 21%
Trump- 15%
Dr. Ben- 13%
Cruz- 6%
I guess Cruz has written off the millennial vote. If he hasn't, he might as well stop wasting his money in that direction.

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