Republican Party of Virginia & Anti-Science Syndrome

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Before you can deal with a problem or seize an opportunity, you have to acknowledge the problem and/or recognize that opportunity.  Taking a determined stance against the scientific community on what might be the greatest challenge and greatest opportunity humanity might have ever faced is not the path to solving the problem or benefiting form that opportunity.

The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) (or, perhaps, simply staff) has embraced anti-science syndrome with a fervor that should astound anyone with the slightest regard for the scientific method and for the scientific community (communities).

For the RPV, climate change seems to fall into some form of never-never land of liberal reality-bias, with efforts to deal with it simply promoted by radicals.

Sigh … for those calling for “bipartisanship”, perhaps that “bipartisanship” must be grounded on all parties having their feet firmly ground in reality …

Here is an excerpt from an RPV-email attacking Democratic Party candidate for Attorney General Steve Shannon:

In Shannon’s only opportunity to question Cuccinelli, he essentially asked why his opponent did not fully agree with those who say that global warming is threatening modern civilization. The query puts Shannon squarely in line with those in the environmental lobby and the Democratic wings of Congress who are aggressively pursuing Cap-and-Trade legislation, a known job killer that will increase the price of energy, boost the cost of doing business and raise expenses for every person living in the United States.

Cap-and-Trade is a scheme in which entities that exceed a government-imposed emission limit would be forced to buy “credits” from entities which emit amounts under the limits. Many analysts and employers have concluded that the idea would increase costs to consumers and severely limit the ability of private companies to create jobs.

There are several fundamental elements to this and its absurdities … and outrage against sensible dialogue for achieving a more secure and prosperous future for Virginia and Virginia.  .

First, this is a clear statement attacking the scientific understanding of climate change and the fundamental risks that we face due to the potential for unchecked catastrophic climate change.  The RPV (and, as per below, Cuccinelli) might wish to consider actually looking at what the scientific community is saying about climate change and the potential for catastrophic climate change, rather than wearing blinders to reality while glued to Faux News’ truthiness and disinformation. No matter how loudly Glenn Beck or James Inhofe pontificate, no matter how many times the Washington Post publishes George Will’s falsehoods and misdirections (here as well), no matter how glib fossil-foolish shills might appear on TV or at Heritage, eventually rhetoric slams into reality and reality.  Of course, these pundits and shills merit more attention than the American Physical Society, the National Academies of Science, and essentially every significant scientific institution in the globe.  Putting aside the “science”, if one wants to make a bet about the future that is fundamentally about the science, do you want to be listening to television pundits and scientists who argued that tobacco had nothing to do with cancer (while paid by the tobacco industry) or the premier scientific instutions in the globe?  Evidently, the RPV goes with pundtocracy over scientific meritocracy.

Second, these paragraphs egregiously misrepresent the impacts of Cap and Trade legislation. In typical anti-action, pro-p0llution manner, these words only look at “cost” without any indication of understanding that there is “benefit”.  There is a reason that it is “cost-benefit analysis,” not simply talking about “costs”.  In other words, there will be “costs” to act, but also benefits. Considering expansion of US industry through ‘green’ technologies, competitiveness due to reduced energy costs, reduced imports via lower oil demand, the “costs” of acting on climate change are minimal. But, these is a rather stove-piped examination of “benefits”. Considering reduced health-care costs due to reduced pollution impacts, improved productivity due to ‘green’ buildings and healthier employees, and so on, the cost-benefit analysis of acting seriously to mitigate climate change ends up in a highly-profitable balance book even without considering the benefits of reducing the risks of catastrophic climate change (which, of course, the RPV seems to consider some form of radical fantasy  rather than simply the resulting understanding of the work of thousands of highly-qualified scientists of humanity’s impacts on the global system).

Third, let us take the standard misrepresentation (actually set of misrepresentations) and deflections to confuse and anger people about moves to mitigate catastrophic climate change. In continuing the stove-piping, the RPV asserts that Cap and Trade is “a known job killer that will increase the price of energy, boost the cost of doing business and raise expenses for every person living in the United States”.  Well … sigh. While sensible climate legislation will increase the unit cost for polluting energy options, it will also create conditions for societal investments in energy efficiency (whether into existing infrastructure or in smart growth).  If you pay 1 cent more per kilowatt hour of electricity (roughly a 10 percent growth) but standards improvements lead to a 20, 30, or 50% decrease in electricity use, then there is a net reduced cost of eney and reduced expenses for a massive share of Americans, even if not “every person living in the United States.”  Studies by business analysis organizations like McKinsey and Company have shown net benefits to the average Americans, in terms of money in the wallet, due to the American Clean Energy & Security (ACES) Act’s provisions for improving energy-efficiency standards in building codes and improving appliance standards.

Finally, in an amusing side note, these paragraphs suggest that Shannon’s only substantive confrontation and interaction with Cuccinelli came when it came to climate change. Reasoned and ‘neutral’ discussion of the debate provides a quite different picture of what was a rather heated discussion. To provide an indication that there was more to this debate than a simple question re climate change science,

Host Mark Plotkin didn’t have to do very much to keep the conversation going; at one point Plotkin said: “This has been such a precedent shattering event where the candidates say enough ugly things about each other that I don’t even have to question them!”

And, from that discussion:

“Shannon accused Cuccinelli of denying evidence of climate change. Cuccinelli did not deny it.”

Yes, the Republican Party of of Virginia’s candidate for Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, did not deny that he is an Anti-Science Syndrome suffering Hater Of a Livable Environment for Virginia.

Note: Should it surprise anyone that, as Republican Party hacks reject science, scientists are rejecting the Republican Party.

Hat tip to Blue Virginia.

1 comment

  1. only liberals breathe and need fresh air to survive. If the oceans swell and swallow up coastal areas or some islands, it’s only liberals who would suffer. Conservatives can float anywhere they want to, they are sea-faring creatures…

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