I’ve posted twice in recent weeks on Republicans who are increasingly unwilling to ride the climate denial crazy bus.

Seems like every time a bell rings these days, a Republican finds his conscience on climate…

National Journal:

A Republican lawmaker in Wyoming is taking a stand in favor of teaching climate science in the classroom.

Republican state representative John Patton will introduce legislation early this week to overturn a state-wide ban on a set of K-12 science education standards that teach the scientific consensus on global warming.

The guidelines, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, have sparked controversy across the U.S. because they call on teachers to instruct students that climate change is real and caused by human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels. The science standards controversy is part of a much larger fight: Parents, teachers and politicians are sparring nationwide over the question of how global warming should be taught in classrooms.

A patchwork of existing science education standards across the country has created widespread disparities in the teaching of climate change in high school and middle school classes.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have so far adopted the Next Generation standards, which were finalized last year by a coalition of scientists and educators. But the guidelines have faced fierce political pushback in states like Wyoming, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.

Readers of Politifact, the journalistic fact checking site, have named Climate Denial the year’s Dumbest Idea. Above, a prime example of piping hot dumbness.


Climate change was in the news this year, starting with the polar vortex at the beginning of 2014 and continuing with the Keystone XL pipeline and proposed carbon-cutting regulations on power plants.

But what stuck with readers were the claims that flat-out denied climate change science. The statement “Climate change is a hoax” won PolitiFact’s annual Readers’ Poll for Lie of the Year with 31.8 percent of the vote.

That claim was the title of a five-minute video released by congressional hopeful Lenar Whitney, a Republican from Louisiana. Several climate scientists told PolitiFact that Whitney’s claim was “laughable,” “deeply misguided,” “uninformed,” “disgusting” and “absurd.” We called it Pants on Fire. Whitney, meanwhile, didn’t even make the run-off.

Here, then, are other highlights from our fact-checks about climate change in 2014.

The hoax

Politicians with much higher profiles than Whitney also have argued with basic climate change science, such as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a potential 2016 presidential contender. He said in May that human activity is not “causing these dramatic changes to our climate.” We rated that claim False.

How do we know climate change isn’t a mass conspiracy to pull the wool over the world’s eyes, as Whitney and others claim?

Such a scenario seems near impossible, considering the overwhelming consensus among respected climate scientists that anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming is indisputable.

Research also shows that climate change denial is concentrated among those who have less expertise in the subject or no scientific training at all.

New Polling continues to swing hard against climate denial, with the latest AP poll showing a majority of even Republican voters wanting regulation of greenhouse gases.


Six in 10 Americans, including half of all Republicans, said they support regulation of carbon dioxide pollution, although they weren’t asked how. Nearly half of Republicans said the U.S. should lead the global fight to curb climate change, even if it means taking action when other countries do not. And majorities across party lines said environmental protections “improve economic growth and provide new jobs” in the long run, a popular Obama administration talking point.

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New York banned fracking last week. One amusing footnote:

In explaining why, Governor Andrew Cuomo explained that, since he “was not a scientist”, he decided to listen to those actual scientists who have concerns about the health and hydrological effects of fracking.
This turns the newest climate denial dodge, the “I’m not a scientist” meme, on it’s head, by drawing the obvious conclusion.
Since the Governor is “not a scientist”, he listens to those that actually are.(quote at about 1:00 in the video)

Fracking’s visual effects, as these photos show, are just as noxious as the health effects.

Wasson Oil Field- Detroit City- Texas_900Wasson oil field, Detroit City, Texas. Photo credit: Mishka Henner



A few weeks ago we ran some photos by artist Mishka Henner who creates projects that make people think about how we interact with our environment. Those photos showed industrial-scale feed lots, factory farms where thousands of animals are raised, taken from the air. He discovered them while flying over the country working on another project: aerial photos of oil drilling sites.

San Andres oil field, Hockley County, Texas. Photo credit: Mishka Henner




David Gergen is a frequent go-to guy on news programs looking for good-old-boy Washington insider conventional wisdom. Gergen served in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, as well as Clinton Whitehouses. He’s maintained his position thru an exquisite sense of where the center of the body politic is moving, and positioning himself exactly there. You would never get anything cutting edge or remotely innovative from this commentator. That makes his recent comments all the more telling.

In the piece above, (at about 1:15 if you’re rushed) Gergen describes President Obama’s initiatives on climate change as the most significant foreign policy initiatives of this presidency. More evidence that even the most jaded political hacks now get it that this is an issue that has to be dealt with, that is important now, and will be more important in the years to come.

Additional evidence can be seen in the high profile new series of ads put out by Exxon Mobil. In these “Energy Quiz” ads, although climate change is not explicitly acknowledged, the importance of CO2 emissions is, as here.

Greenwashing? Sure. But – Hypocrisy is the Tribute that Vice pays to Virtue.

Below,  another in the series that predicts great efficiency increases in future auto fleets. (underestimate, in my view, but still worth a look)

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Al Gore on Climate from 1983

December 20, 2014

This is what a visionary looks like.

No wonder deniers hate him. If Gore’s been right for 30 years – then what are they?

Tom Hardy as an updated Mad Max.


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