Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The earth shakes under our feet: ExxonMobil reverses course on climate change, Republicans stuck in denial

In "ExxonMobil warns of catastrophic global warming without government action" AZBlueMeanie pulls together several sources on the significant of ExxonMobil's support for a carbon tax and the Republicans' denials of the science and obstruction of any meaningful action.

ExxonMobil is not exactly your ultra-green environmental activist. So when it takes a stand on the science of climate change and what to do about it the earth kind of shakes. But that movement seems lost on the Republican political leaders and presidential candidates. Here are snippets.

ExxonMobil now publicly concedes the adverse effects of climate change and its scientists are making its research publicly available (sort of) on its web site. Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post writes, Even ExxonMobil says climate change is real. So why won’t the GOP?

To understand how dangerously extreme the Republican Party has become on climate change, compare its stance to that of ExxonMobil.

No one would confuse the oil and gas giant with the Sierra Club. But if you visit Exxon’s website, you will find that the company believes climate change is real, that governments should take action to combat it and that the most sensible action would be a revenue-neutral tax on carbon — in other words, a tax on oil, gas and coal, with the proceeds returned to taxpayers for them to spend as they choose.

With no government action, Exxon experts told us during a visit to The Post last week, average temperatures are likely to rise by a catastrophic (my word, not theirs) 5 degrees Celsius, with rises of 6, 7 or even more quite possible.

“A properly designed carbon tax can be predictable, transparent, and comparatively simple to understand and implement,” Exxon says in a position paper titled “Engaging on climate change.”

None of this is radical. Officials negotiating a climate agreement right now in Paris would take it as self-evident. Republican leaders in the 1980s and 1990s would have raised no objection.

But to today’s Republicans, ExxonMobil’s moderate, self-evident views are akin to heresy. Donald Trump, the leading GOP presidential candidate, says, “I don’t believe in climate change.” Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) says, “Climate change is not science, it’s religion.” Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) at the moment seems to acknowledge that climate change might be real but opposes any action to deal with it.

Psssst. Here's a dirty secret. America is no longer the leader of the free world. (It's debatable whether America will continue to be "free" but that's a story for another blog.)

BlueMeanie wraps up with this conclusion by Paul Krugman on the Republican denials from a post at Think Progress.

I’d urge everyone outside the climate-denial bubble to frankly acknowledge the awesome, terrifying reality. We’re looking at a party that has turned its back on science at a time when doing so puts the very future of civilization at risk. That’s the truth, and it needs to be faced head-on.

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