Monday, January 27, 2020

Let's acknowledge WI GOP leaders' climate change record

The always-readable website Axios on Monday notes the shift in 'thinking' on climate change being forced by events upon Republicans
If the world’s political and business leaders are going to seriously move to cut heat-trapping emissions, they first need to pay attention to it. They are starting to now, fueled by unrest from the world’s youth, cheaper renewable energy, more bouts of extreme weather and other evidence of global warming itself....In Washington, congressional Republicans and even President Trump are scrambling to acknowledge the problem after years of denying it — and in some cases mocking it outright.
* GOP Senator Ron Johnson has a long record of science-based precision on the issue. And he points to more than sunspots being the cause of our warning climate. Consider this synthesis of world history, botany and chemistry: 
You may remember that when Johnson attributed a changing climate to sunspots - - memorialized in this post with links to Johnson's comparison of environmental activists to followers of dictators and mass murders like Joseph Stalin - - he also  showed off a deep understanding of botany, chemistry mobility and world history:
"Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere "gets sucked down by trees and helps the trees grow," said Johnson. Average Earth temperatures were relatively warm during the Middle Ages, Johnson said, and "it's not like there were tons of cars on the road."
And give Johnson credit, again, for the consistency summed up in this 2016 PolitiFact analysis - -
Johnson said: "The climate hasn't warmed in quite a few years. That is proven scientifically." 
He argues that temperatures rose sharply from the 1950s to the 1990s, then leveled off, but it’s wrong to say there hasn’t been warming in many years. In fact, 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, with the two highest years being 2014 and 2015. 
We rate Johnson’s statement False.
and in his more recent, bold clarity:
And while young people in Wisconsin and worldwide were demanding climate change action - - and as I noted earlier today - - Wisconsin GOP Senator and Oshkosh plastics magnate Ron "Sunspots" Johnson had a few words of encouragement for people fearing or already experiencing climate change in, say Houston or the Florida Keys: 
* Given that people are telling media that a warming, wetter climate is making it impossible to live in Texas and Florida, Johnson may want to rephrase this glib talking point:
However, elected officials such as Sen. Ron Johnson question climate change fears. 
"The world isn't going to end in a dozen years," Johnson said. "I'm not an alarmist. I would much rather spend our dollars adapting to something that I don't think we can prevent anyway....what can you really do about it?"
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson Downplays Climate Change
Says ‘mankind has actually flourished in warmer temperatures’
“How many people are moving up toward the Antarctica, or the Arctic?” he asked. “Most people move down to Texas and Florida, where it’s a little bit warmer.”
* And speaking of climate clarity born of confidence, look no farther than the big-picture words and action plan discussed earlier in January, 2020 by Wisconsin GOP Assembly Leader Robin Vos: 
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Wednesday that climate change is “probably” real but that he’s not sure. 
There is nearly universal consensus among scientists and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that global warming is real and man-made. 
In addition to questioning whether global warming is happening, Vos, R-Rochester, also denigrated a climate change task force created by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers earlier this month. Vos told WisconsinEye that he believes it was created for political purposes. And he said that if the goal of the group is to “make people on the left feel better about themselves, that’s a nonstarter.”
* But Vos and Johnson are only following in the footsteps of former WI GOP Governor Scott Walker who must be given full credit for setting the Republican leadership's action standard on so many interrelated climate and environmental issues.

For example, while I did pick on him a bit for putting in place a DNR Secretary who scrubbed science and facts from the agency's principal climate change webpage, it's also important to remember that years earlier, Walker had tied together his understanding of environmentalism and climate change so succinctly that even a child could understand it.

Captured in a short video.

And in another short video which has not one, but two shoulder shrugs.

Fast forward to the summer of 2018, when Madison joined other Midwestern communities hit repeatedly by a changing climate's severe flooding.

Props to the weekly newspaper Isthmus for capturing in words and images Walker's passionate and non-partisan commitment to addressing climate change duly noted by citizens and passersby: 
Cover-flood-Walker-crJudithDavidoff-08302018.jpgJUDITH DAVIDOFF
Gov. Scott Walker fills a sandbag held by his wife, Tonette, while Tom Kasper holds a sign urging more drastic action. 
Gov. Scott Walker called in the National Guard on Aug. 24 to help Madison and Monona with flood prep. The governor and First Lady Tonette Walker made a rare appearance in Madison the following day to help fill sandbags at Tenney Park....
Tom Kasper, a resident of Elizabeth Street, held a sign behind Walker that accused the governor of staging a photo op while ignoring climate change. 
Another man biked up to Walker to confront him: “Gov. Walker, I want to say that your time and energy would be much better spent enacting policies to counteract climate change rather than shoveling sand into bags. Would you agree?” 
“Glad you’re here. Thanks for watching,” replied Walker. “You can say what you want. You can call me a F-word if you want.” 
“I’m not doing that,” the man countered. “I’m just saying climate change policy would be more effective than shoveling sand. Otherwise, you’ll be out here next year, too.”

1 comment:

Maynard McKillen said...

Walker's appearance at Tenney Park was all about optics. It was easy, it was an empty gesture, it did nothing to address the problem, and it made no difference.

That sums up his work ethic, and his "public service" record.

The man who can't think about anything other than his own bottom line can't really be bothered to do the heavy lifting required to address climate change.

The tool whose book was entitled "Unintimidated" finds the real work of real public servants too intimidating. Address climate change? That would require the idiot to work with actual experts.

Glance at this staged photo-op and remember Paul Ryan's empty gesture. The brown-nosing narcissist walked into a closed soup kitchen, washed some already-clean dishes while the cameras clicked, and, in one of the most horrible examples of narcissist parenting, roped his kids into this dumbshow.

So what message did Ryan and Walker try to convey? That play-acting at public service is the equivalent of actual public service?

Republicans are profoundly diseased imitations of human beings. Just look at Vos and Fitzgerald, Ron Johnson, Jim Sensenbrenner, Glenn Grothman. Alberta Darling, John Nygren. What a freak show. What a clown car of imitation human beings, hollow narcissists who can only pretend to be human.