Year 2, Month 1, Day 9: The Rarest of the Rare

Stop the presses! Neela Banerjee has a story in the Seattle Times about Dr. Kerry Emanuel, a responsible climatologist who is also a political conservative.

Unsurprisingly, the guy’s a little baffled these days. Where is the Republican party of yore?

As a politically conservative climatologist who accepts the broad scientific consensus on global warming, Emanuel occupies a position shared by few scientists.

“There was never a light-bulb moment but a gradual realization based on the evidence,” Emanuel said. “I became convinced by the basic physics and by the better and better observation of the climate that it was changing and it was a risk that had to be considered.”

He sounds like a pretty good guy.

“I’ve always rebelled against the thinking that ideology can trump fact,” said Emanuel, 55. “The people who call themselves conservative these days aren’t conservative by my definition. I think they’re quite radical.”

Paradoxically, conservative Republican administrations in the past four decades pushed through the creation of the EPA and the signing of the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act.

And only a Republican could have opened Communist China to the world. See how this works? The Republicans used to have a Jekyll/Hyde thing, where they’d do tons of dirty tricks and then occasionally allow some decent legislation to pass so they could get credit for it later, as witness Richard Nixon’s EPA. But the last vestiges of Jekyll have been thoroughly expunged; we’re now all-Hyde, all the time.

Naturally, he’s horrified by the behavior of the politicians he’s supported in the past, although he still “reveres Ronald Reagan.” But the current gang of crooks and thugs was too much for him. He supported Obama in 2008, which automatically makes him a far-left DFH.

Once upon a time it was possible for scientific integrity and conservative political views to coexist in the same individual. Charles Keeling, the climatologist whose detailed records of atmospheric CO2 made it possible to measure the greenhouse effect, was, like Kerry Emanuel, a lifelong Republican. The contemporary GOP, however, is deeply antipathetic to the principles that underlie scientific thinking. Ideologically-driven and devoid of scruples, wearing intellectual dishonesty as a badge of honor, the Republican party of today is a danger to the nation and to the planet.

There is no logical reason to deny climate science; the greenhouse effect is indifferent to ideological affiliation. The only reasons are rooted in the profit motive; as they fulfill the wishes of their corporate sponsors, Republican politicians show a near-sociopathic disregard for the common good. Alas, (as Dr. Emanuel has discovered) the phrase “Republican scientist” now sounds sadly oxymoronic, and a tad embarrassing.

Warren Senders

And for your viewing pleasure, here are some old-style Republicans transforming into new-style Republicans before your very eyes:

And here’s one featuring some modern-day Democrats, too!

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