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Anti-Science Syndrome suffering Republican Party of Virginia

October 4th, 2009 · 6 Comments

The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) (or, perhaps, simply staff) has embraced anti-science syndrome with a fervor that should astound anyone with the slightest regard for the scientific method and for the scientific community (communities). .  Here is an excerpt from an RPV-email attacking Democratic Party candidate for Attorney General Steve Shannon:

In Shannon’s only opportunity to question Cuccinelli, he essentially asked why his opponent did not fully agree with those who say that global warming is threatening modern civilization. The query puts Shannon squarely in line with those in the environmental lobby and the Democratic wings of Congress who are aggressively pursuing Cap-and-Trade legislation, a known job killer that will increase the price of energy, boost the cost of doing business and raise expenses for every person living in the United States.

Cap-and-Trade is a scheme in which entities that exceed a government-imposed emission limit would be forced to buy “credits” from entities which emit amounts under the limits. Many analysts and employers have concluded that the idea would increase costs to consumers and severely limit the ability of private companies to create jobs.

There are several fundamental elements to this and its absurdities … and outrage against sensible dialogue for achieving a more secure and prosperous future for Virginia and Virginia.  .

First, this is a clear statement attacking the scientific understanding of climate change and the fundamental risks that we face due to the potential for unchecked catastrophic climate change.  The RPV (and, as per below, Cuccinelli) might wish to consider actually looking at what the scientific community is saying about climate change and the potential for catastrophic climate change, rather than wearing blinders to reality while glued to Faux News’ truthiness and disinformation. No matter how loudly Glenn Beck or James Inhofe pontificate, no matter how many times the Washington Post publishes George Will’s falsehoods and misdirections (here as well), no matter how glib fossil-foolish shills might appear on TV or at Heritage, eventually rhetoric slams into reality and reality.  Of course, these pundits and shills merit more attention than the American Physical Society, the National Academies of Science, and essentially every significant scientific institution in the globe.  Putting aside the “science”, if one wants to make a bet about the future that is fundamentally about the science, do you want to be listening to television pundits and scientists who argued that tobacco had nothing to do with cancer (while paid by the tobacco industry) or the premier scientific instutions in the globe?  Evidently, the RPV goes with pundtocracy over scientific meritocracy.

Second, these paragraphs egregiously misrepresent the impacts of Cap and Trade legislation. In typical anti-action, pro-p0llution manner, these words only look at “cost” without any indication of understanding that there is “benefit”.  There is a reason that it is “cost-benefit analysis,” not simply talking about “costs”.  In other words, there will be “costs” to act, but also benefits. Considering expansion of US industry through ‘green’ technologies, competitiveness due to reduced energy costs, reduced imports via lower oil demand, the “costs” of acting on climate change are minimal. But, these is a rather stove-piped examination of “benefits”. Considering reduced health-care costs due to reduced pollution impacts, improved productivity due to ‘green’ buildings and healthier employees, and so on, the cost-benefit analysis of acting seriously to mitigate climate change ends up in a highly-profitable balance book even without considering the benefits of reducing the risks of catastrophic climate change (which, of course, the RPV seems to consider some form of radical fantasy  rather than simply the resulting understanding of the work of thousands of highly-qualified scientists of humanity’s impacts on the global system).

Third, let us take the standard misrepresentation (actually set of misrepresentations) and deflections to confuse and anger people about moves to mitigate catastrophic climate change. In continuing the stove-piping, the RPV asserts that Cap and Trade is “a known job killer that will increase the price of energy, boost the cost of doing business and raise expenses for every person living in the United States”.  Well … sigh. While sensible climate legislation will increase the unit cost for polluting energy options, it will also create conditions for societal investments in energy efficiency (whether into existing infrastructure or in smart growth).  If you pay 1 cent more per kilowatt hour of electricity (roughly a 10 percent growth) but standards improvements lead to a 20, 30, or 50% decrease in electricity use, then there is a net reduced cost of eney and reduced expenses for a massive share of Americans, even if not “every person living in the United States.”  Studies by business analysis organizations like McKinsey and Company have shown net benefits to the average Americans, in terms of money in the wallet, due to the American Clean Energy & Security (ACES) Act’s provisions for improving energy-efficiency standards in building codes and improving appliance standards.

Finally, in an amusing side note, these paragraphs suggest that Shannon’s only substantive confrontation and interaction with Cuccinelli came when it came to climate change. Reasoned and ‘neutral’ discussion of the debate provides a quite different picture of what was a rather heated discussion. To provide an indication that there was more to this debate than a simple question re climate change science,

Host Mark Plotkin didn’t have to do very much to keep the conversation going; at one point Plotkin said: “This has been such a precedent shattering event where the candidates say enough ugly things about each other that I don’t even have to question them!”

And, from that discussion:

“Shannon accused Cuccinelli of denying evidence of climate change. Cuccinelli did not deny it.”

Yes, the Republican Party of of Virginia’s candidate for Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, did not deny that he is an Anti-Science Syndrome suffering Hater Of a Livable Environment for Virginia.

Note: Should it surprise anyone that, as Republican Party hacks reject science, scientists are rejecting the Republican Party.

Hat tip to Blue Virginia.

Tags: Energy · Global Warming · carbon dioxide · climate change · climate legislation · global warming deniers · politics · republican party

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michael Melillo // Oct 5, 2009 at 8:32 am

    please read NewYorkTimes sept 23 article
    stating that global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade

    Yes. Temperatures, globally, have been relatively stable since 1998. And, 1999 through 2008 have been (dependent on which source) “cooler” than 1998.

    Of course, that “cooler” truly is better stated as “less hot” since the 10 hottest years, globally, on record are all 1998 to the present.

    In addition, do you want to have a discussion as to the hottest 10 year period in the past 150 years?

    and may drop over the next decade or two
    This is an inconvenient truth

    And, again, isn’t an inconvenient truth for you that you seem to be in opposition to every significant scientific institution on the planet?

    for those who want to destroy jobs,

    Want to talk about destroying jobs? Why don’t we talk about the destruction to the US-economy of the energy efficient, fossil-foolish focus of the Cheney energy task force and the previous Administration?

    And, what is driving job creation around much of the world but investments in cleaner energy systems.

    increase electricity costs,

    Increase, likely, per kilowatt hour costs but reduce bills due to reduced usage and better management through, for example, Smart Grid deployment.

    And, by the way, that reduced usage could end up driving down the retail price of electricity.

    In addition, wind is providing in large markets to actually be lowering electricity costs due to its impacts on reducing peak period price spikes. Go look at the financial analysis.

    increase our dependence on foreigh oil,

    Fantasy. Improving energy efficiency in terms of oil use (electrification of transport, more efficient systems smart growth, CAFE standard strengthening, etc …

    all while India and China with the two largest populations in the world refuse to damage their economies by rationing fossil fuel use

    Well. several things:

    1. Since they use far (FAR) less fossil-fuel per capita than the United States, do you see any hypocrisy in call for them to be “rationing fossil-fuel use”.

    2. Both China and India are instituting every more aggressive targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy. And, they are putting into place carbon programs.

    Throughout this you are relying on uninformed and deceptive talking points rather than engaged in substantive, fact-based discussion of policy options.

  • 2 Michael Melillo // Oct 6, 2009 at 6:59 am

    Sir You forgot to mention that even the NewYorkTimes admits that the global cooling which has been going on since 1998 will continue for at least a decade or two.

    We have not seen “global cooling”. This is a misrepresentation. 1998 was the hottest year in recorded history. Yes. That 1999-2008 did not meet 1998 does not create “cooling”. Human activity layers on top of natural cycles / such. 1998 had natural heating cycle which human activity layered on top of.

    Do you wish to recognize what decade is the hottest in the past 150 years (basically since introduction of global measurements of some reliability)?

    We need to develop alternate energy resources.
    The alternates wind,water soler,waste etc currently provide approximately seven percent of the energy required to power our 13.7 trillion dollar economy.

    And, what is the pace of change in that percentage and what is possible?

    Almost all the experts state that fossil fuels will be the primary source of energy for the world economies for the forseeable future

    How do you define “forseeable future”? 10 years? 20? 30? 40?

    Note, that coal has been falling rather substantially as a percentage of US electricity. There is no technical or reason why, for example, it cannot disappear from the US electrical system over the next 20 years or so. It simply would take choices.

    Source Institute for Energy Research
    Boone Pickens in his tv ads for his wind farms states that in ten years his wind farms would produce only twenty percent of our energy requirement.

    First of all, that is T Boone (for my thoughts on Pickens, search the site). Second, that is not “energy requirement”, but electricity (which is only a portion of our requirement). And, third, going from about 2 percent of electricity to 20 percent of electricity in wind over a decade would be a rather good step forward. (Especially since there are other renewables/clean energy options to consider.)

    Action on energy is not overnight change.

    We need a balanced approach which allows us to try to overcome the problems associated with the alternates. example Pickens wind farms would require overhead power lines to transmit electricity to the urban centers on the east and west coasts. this would require approval of the various state governments as well as overcomimg the objections that will come from the Sierra Club and others
    We should utilize all of our bountiful domestic resources which will include alternate sources while recognizing, for example, that we are the Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas
    Have a good day and have some fun.

  • 3 Republican Party of Virginia candidate spouts off global warming skeptic line … // Oct 14, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    [...] The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) is determined to prove to any and all its anti-science, anti-know…. [...]

  • 4 Dear GOP: Please Stop “Bring ‘Em On”ing Mother Nature // Feb 10, 2010 at 11:02 am

    [...] No Comments This guest post comes from The Green Miles who, with reason, is appalled at the Virginia GOP’s determination to display its anti-science syndrome credentials for all the world to see. [Note: for a related, background, post, see: Cold Weather … the glaring [...]

  • 5 Some Sanity amid the Commonwealth’s Insanity // Feb 19, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    [...] his untruthy truthiness, is attempting to twist this into some recent conclusion on his part when Cuccinelli has long proudly displayed his anti-science syndrome credentials. That’s probably not how Virginians want the state’s top lawman to reason: Reach a [...]

  • 6 WashPost editorial board calls out Kook-inelli // May 7, 2010 at 7:48 am

    [...] Cuccinelli’s attack is an example of virulent anti-science syndrome suffering hatred of a liva….  As the Post notes, By equating controversial results with legal fraud, Mr. Cuccinelli demonstrates a dangerous disregard for scientific method and academic freedom. The remedy for unsatisfactory data or analysis is public criticism from peers and more data, not a politically tinged witch hunt or, worse, a civil penalty. Scientists and other academics inevitably will get things wrong, and they will use public funds in the process, because failure is as important to producing good scholarship as success. For the commonwealth to persecute scientists because one official or another dislikes their findings is the fastest way to cripple not only its stellar flagship university, but also its entire public higher education system. [...]

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