Because everything is economic, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman weighed in on climate change in his column on Friday and trust me, he didn’t go easy on Republicans.
His column was about the climate talks in Paris, and it was rather dark and pessimistic. He said the talks could mark a “turning point,” he also acknowledges that they might not and if they don’t he places the blame firmly in one place:
We may be doomed. And if we are, you know who will be responsible: the Republican Party.
O.K., I know the reaction of many readers: How partisan! How over the top! But what I said is, in fact, the obvious truth. And the inability of our news media, our pundits and our political establishment in general to face up to that truth is an important contributing factor to the danger we face.
Anyone who follows U.S. political debates on the environment knows that Republican politicians overwhelmingly oppose any action to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, and that the great majority reject the scientific consensus on climate change. Last year PolitiFact could find only eight Republicans in Congress, out of 278 in the caucus, who had made on-the-record comments accepting the reality of man-made global warming. And most of the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination are solidly in the anti-science camp.
I often hear from people claiming that the American left is just as bad as the right on scientific issues, citing, say, hysteria over genetically modified food or nuclear power. But even if you think such views are really comparable to climate denial (which they aren’t), they’re views held by only some people on the left, not orthodoxies enforced on a whole party by what even my conservative colleague David Brooks calls the “thought police.”
And climate-denial orthodoxy doesn’t just say that the scientific consensus is wrong. Senior Republican members of Congress routinely indulge in wild conspiracy theories, alleging that all the evidence for climate change is the product of a giant hoax perpetrated by thousands of scientists around the world. And they do all they can to harass and intimidate individual scientists.
He does admit (or hope) that he’s wrong, but it’s not likely. The reality right now is that Republicans have very few things on their minds, and protecting the climate isn’t one of them. All you have to do to be assured that nothing will happen is to follow the money. Big oil has spent $62 million in hush money for Republican politicians. They will no more stand up to the fossil fuel industry than they are standing up to the NRA.
Featured image via Flickr.