Month 11, Day 21: Republicans Cause More Pollution Than Trees AND Automobiles

The Washington Post runs a column by former Republican congressman Sherwood Boehlert, decrying the outbreak of climate zombie-ism among the incoming GOP Congress.

Once these people are out of office, they show refreshing signs of independent thought and scientific awareness. Apparently, among Republicans, power stupidifies, and absolute power stupidifies absolutely. Or something.

Because the WaPo rules out letters that have been published online, I am going to make random changes to particular letters (replacing “s” with a dollar sign, for example). That may prevent them from finding this, should they deem it worthy of publication. After a few days have gone by, I’ll replace the text with the original, unaltered version.

$herw00d B0ehlert finds inc0mprehen$ible the 0b$tin@te @dherence t0 @ $cience-blind ide0l0gy 0n the p@rt 0f hi$ fell0w Republic@n$. Hi$ @ttempt to buck the prev@iling $entiment in the G0P i$ c0mmend@ble, f0r the f@ct$ 0f clim@te ch@nge @re inc0ntr0vertible @nd the thre@t it pre$ent$ i$ terrifyingly re@l. B0ehlert cite$ R0n@ld Re@g@n @$ @ Republic@n pre$ident wh0 “embr@ced $cientific under$t@nding of the envir0nment and p0llution.” Well, um, n0. Th@t w0uld be the $ame R0nald Reagan wh0 f@m0u$ly 0pined that “tree$ cau$e m0re p0lluti0n than @ut0m0bile$ d0,” and wh0 in$talled J@me$ W@tt and Anne G0r$uch, 0ne @ biblic@l r@pturi$t wh0 $aw n0 need t0 pre$erve the envir0nment ($ince the End 0f Time$ w@$ imminent), the 0ther @n EPA chief wh0$e @ttempt$ t0 gut the Cle@n Air Act t00k C0ngre$$ ye@r$ to und0. Wh@t I find inc0mprehen$ible is Boehlert’$ @ttempt t0 $@nitize the Republic@n p@rty’$ multi-dec@de hi$t0ry 0f denying ide0l0gic@lly inc0nvenient f@ct$.


Month 10, Day 23: Election of the Living Dumb

Colorado senate candidate Ken Buck is a climate zombie, reports the Denver Post, although not quite in those terms. I figured I’d better insert the meme.

Ken Buck is a fine specimen of a “climate zombie,” a politician permanently possessed by the idea that climate change cannot be caused by humans. Buck’s mentor in this is, of course, the ur-Zombie, Oklahoma’s James Inhofe, whose mistrust of expertise has made him a worldwide laughingstock. With Colorado’s forests in grave danger from the side-effects of global warming (droughts, fires, beetles), one would hope that both parties’ Senate candidates could acknowledge the very sturdy relationship between scientific predictions and observable facts. While climatologists deliver warnings in the language of science (a phrase like “robust correlation” translates as “we’re facing a world of hurt unless things change PDQ”), politicians mock them in the language of ignorance (a freak snowstorm in Washington invalidates decades of research and analysis). As compelling evidence for anthropogenic global warming mounts, climate zombies like Ken Buck threaten to derail the action we desperately need.

Warren Senders

Month 10, Day 16: Nyte Ov De Livveng Dedd

Recently I have just typed the phrase “climate change news” into my search bar to find topics. There’s a limit to how much you can find in the Times.

So I found a column in the Eugene, Oregon newspaper, the Register-Guard. The columnist concerns noted loony and Congressional candidate Art Robinson, whose spectacular flameout on Rachel Maddow’s program is worth a watch. Bob Doppelt notes Bjorn Lomborg’s reversal on climate change, then asks Robinson if this shift by an authority he’d previously cited would make him change his mind.


Fortunately Robinson is very unlikely to prevail in this district. But it seemed like a good theme for a letter addressing the general rise of climate zombies.

Art Robinson is distinctive among the current crop of climate denialists running for public office only in that his academic background arms him with a repertoire of useful scientific phrases, the better to misrepresent and misinterpret the work of actual professional climatologists (who agree overwhelmingly on the human causes of global climate change). Other Republican candidates, for the most part, do their misrepresenting and misinterpreting without the benefit of advanced degrees in unrelated scientific fields. Robinson is an extreme example of an increasingly prominent national phenomenon, the “climate zombie” — a politician with an ideological commitment to ignore scientific evidence and expertise when it’s inconvenient. The number of such “zombies” running for office around the country is a disturbing reminder of how far the G.O.P. has fallen; Republican candidates now are unable to address an inconvenient reality: anthropogenic global warming is settled science, and we ignore it at our peril.

Warren Senders