Year 4, Month 11, Day 2: And The Horse You Rode In On…

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel offers Senator Ron Johnson an inconvenient truth or three:

This should not come as a surprise, but it appears that a refusal to recognize reality may actually hurt politicians with voters.

Case in point: Wisconsin’s own Sen. Ron Johnson and his stance on climate change.

Last summer, an ad campaign by the League of Conservation Voters targeted several federal lawmakers, Johnson among them, who don’t believe that human activities are a primary cause of climate change. Johnson, who once attributed climate change to sunspots in a meeting with the Journal Sentinel Editorial Board, has steadfastly voted against regulation of emissions that contribute to climate change.

After its ad campaign, the league did a poll of constituent attitudes, in Johnson’s case in the Green Bay market. The results, reported this week by The Washington Post’s Plum Line blog, showed that a “14-point increase in those who feel less favorable toward Johnson based on what they have heard about him; an eight-point increase in his job disapproval; and an eight-point boost in constituents believing Johnson is out of step on climate change.”

Johnson’s Green Bay constituents are right. The consensus among top climate scientists is clear and has been for years. Climate change is happening. Human activity plays a huge role in that. The consequences of doing nothing could be dire and expensive. Johnson is just flat-out wrong.

I’d love to see more like this. October 23:

While conservative politicians and media figures have perpetrated many assaults on reason and factuality over the years, none offers greater potential for damage than their steady stream of disinformation on global climate change. Many right-wing celebrities may once have known the difference between real and spurious science — but after years of peddling superficially plausible nonsense, no longer recognize the distinction. Unfortunately for Wisconsin and the nation, Senator Ron Johnson is such a man.

The greenhouse effect was discovered well over a century ago, and scientists have been warning us about its consequences since the Eisenhower administrations. It testifies to the power of fossil-fuel industries in the world economy that we’ve avoided any meaningful regulation of CO2 emissions for just as long. But the laws of physics trump the laws of a nation, and climatic reality is catching up with deniers like Senator Johnson. And to the rest of us.

Warren Senders

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