In stark contrast to their party’s public stance on Capitol Hill, many Republicans privately acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is at least partially responsible for climate change and recognize the need to address the problem.

However, they see little political benefit to speaking out on the issue, since congressional action is probably years away, according to former congressmen, former congressional aides and other sources.

In Bloomberg BNA interviews with several dozen former senior congressional aides, nongovernmental organizations, lobbyists and others conducted over a period of several months, the sources cited fears of attracting an electoral primary challenger as one of the main reasons many Republicans choose not to speak out.

Most say the reluctance to publicly support efforts to address climate change has grown discernibly since the 2010 congressional elections, when Tea Party-backed candidates helped the Republican Party win control of the House, in part by targeting vulnerable Democrats for their support of legislation establishing a national emissions cap-and-trade system.

“Climate change needs to be in the mix of all of our other discussions,” former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), who represented his Ohio district from 1995 through 2013 in the House and is now president of McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies, told Bloomberg BNA. “I do think privately—and some not so privately—Republicans are coming to the point where this has been an issue that’s been pretty much settled with regard to the science. A lot of it has to do with people calming down and saying let’s have a conversation.”


Former House and Senate aides faulted both the Tea Party and environmental groups for making it nearly impossible for thoughtful Republicans to speak out on climate change.

Several former senior committee aides, who did not want to be identified so that they could speak freely, said the environmental movement has become partisan since the 1980s, and Republicans receive little support from groups if they take pro-environment positions.

“Republicans don’t gain votes or positive recognition from environmentalists but [they] do alienate their base when they vote green,” one former Republican Senate aide said. “So, it’s not surprising that most Republicans don’t spend a lot of time talking about climate change.”

Sunlight Foundation:

The Environmental Defense Action Fund, a politically-active nonprofit, has made waves this cycle fortrashing Republican Senate challengers in sharply-worded ads. Now, the group is wading into a much-watched congressional race in New York’s 19th District on behalf of Republican incumbentChris Gibson. EDF’s latest ad praises Gibson for “fighting to stop climate change by preserving common sense limits on air pollution.”

The ad cites four Gibson votes on environmental legislation this year, including one in which the two-term lawmaker was the only member of his party to oppose a measure aimed at barring the Energy Department from studying climate change. Gibson was also the lone Republican House member to oppose a measure to block the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing tougher restrictions on carbon emissions.

Ad documents collected by Political Ad Sleuth show the group has bought $25,000 worth of air time at broadcast stations in Binghamton and Utica. EDAF will run ads there from Thursday through Aug. 20.

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More from my interview with Brewster MacCracken of Austin’s Pecan Street Project.


There are two reasons why you need to watch “Mission Blue,” the new documentary from directors Fisher Stevens and Robert Nixon that premiered Friday on Netflix. For one, it’s a fascinating exploration of the damage we’re causing in the world’s oceans. And even more enticingly, it’s the story of a singular, legendary woman who’s made protecting the seas her life’s mission.

Having begun her career in marine biology in a vastly different time — when the oceans were still largely pristine, and when female scientists were a rarity — Sylvia Earle has become leader in ocean research and awareness, set undersea records, raked in hundreds of awards and honors, established foundations and served as the first female chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Nicknamed “Her Deepness,” she’s also been deemed a “Hero of the Planet” by Time magazine and ”Living Legend” by the Library of Congress.

I could go on. But in seeing Earle speak, and then talking with her myself, the most fascinating thing I kept coming back to was how much she’s seen. After 60 years, and having logged nearly 7,000 hours underwater, she’s in a unique position to report back to those of us on land about what we’re missing. “Why am I driven?” she asks. “Because I can’t put aside the things that I’ve witnessed.”

Interview with Dr. Earle at link.


Dr. Jason Box, Gabriel Warren, and Johnny Ryan at the edge of a Moulin, one of several within a short distance from Dark Snow base.

Kangerlussuaq International Science Support (KISS), August 13, 2014:

We are all completely whipped, sore and exhausted. We’ve thankfully had the chance to shower and have a night between warm, dry, sheets.

I spent today going thru some of the material collected during the previous 12 days. There is enough here to fill out months of videos and blog posts. There will also be significant science published from our collective efforts in coming months.

To all of our supporters: Deepest thanks – I think you’ll be pleased with the products of our efforts.


One of several streams that bordered our camp site flows by the Dark Snow kitchen tent.

I’m not going to go into detail on everything that we did and saw. I’ve still got to wash clothes, pack and spend 2 days in planes and airports before I’m at my desk.

I include the pictures here as a foretaste of things that will be show up in posts and videos in coming months.

Short synopsis: it was cold, it was hard, it was exhausting, we were constantly busy, constantly pushing, very productive, and we feel we met every reasonable expectation for this year. 


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We had a chance to shoot a quick interview this morning, and an ironic visual to place in the background.
Back in 2 weeks.

Smoke from Canadian forest fires drifts over southwestern Greenland and the ice sheet. Modis satellite.

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland:

“SnowPiercer”  is the big buzz action movie this summer – a Chris Evans Cli-Fi vehicle that follows a catastrophic rebellion on an apocalyptic bullet train in a dystopian snowy, ice-encrusted world – the result of geo-engineering gone terribly wrong.  The climax is a CGI spectacular of cascading ice, twisting metal, charred bodies, and crashing train cars tumbling into vast chasms.

Probably wasn’t the best choice for viewing while strapped in to a metal tube 30,000 feet over the Greenland ice sheet. But if you’ve ever wondered what a collaboration between Terry Gilliam and Quentin Tarantino would look like, this is your meat. Think “Inglorious Basterds” crossed with “12 Monkeys”.

I mean that as a warning.

This will probably be my last post for a couple of weeks.  OK, my second to last post.

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Hat tip to D. R. Tucker. Above, NBC finally shows its possible to mention climate change when talking about the effects of climate change.


The costs of fighting wildfires are rising dramatically, and could keep climbing in the face of climate change that’s contributing to longer fire seasons out West and the spread of housing developments near forests, a science group warned Wednesday.

“The annual suppression cost has exceeded $1 billion in each year since 2000,” said Rachel Cleetus, senior climate economist with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) during a phone conference with reporters Wednesday.

But the actual damage costs — when including lost tourism revenue, the harm caused to public health and expenses related to watershed damage — can dwarf firefighting costs, she added.

The report comes as the largest wildfire in Washington-state history continues to blaze, and a total of 26 fires are burning almost a million acres in the western U.S. Nationally, wildfires have burned less than half the 10-year average so far this summer.

The report noted that since 1985, fire-suppression costs have increased nearly fourfold from $440 million (in 2012 dollars) to more than $1.7 billion in 2013.

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