Exxon Panicking Now. Oh, Just Wait.
December 7, 2015
Very soon, I’ll be posting a new video about the woefully underreported but -now-catching-on #ExxonKnew story. Let’s just say it does not cast a flattering light on Exxon Mobil, and climate deniers in general – and portends a coming day of reckoning.
To catch up on the state of denial among climate deniers, I spoke in recent weeks to Marc Morano, high profile uber-denier, frequent Fox News guest, and curator of the climatedepot website. You can see the first, very interesting part of that interview above. Judge for yourself the general state of mind in denierville by his remarks.
To understand how dangerously extreme the Republican Party has become on climate change, compare its stance to that of ExxonMobil.
No one would confuse the oil and gas giant with the Sierra Club. But if you visit Exxon’s website , you will find that the company believes climate change is real, that governments should take action to combat it and that the most sensible action would be a revenue-neutral tax on carbon — in other words, a tax on oil, gas and coal, with the proceeds returned to taxpayers for them to spend as they choose.
With no government action, Exxon experts told us during a visit to The Post last week, average temperatures are likely to rise by a catastrophic (my word, not theirs) 5 degrees Celsius, with rises of 6, 7 or even more quite possible.
“A properly designed carbon tax can be predictable, transparent, and comparatively simple to understand and implement,” Exxon says in a position paper titled “Engaging on climate change.”
None of this is radical. Officials negotiating a climate agreement right now in Paris would take it as self-evident. Republican leaders in the 1980s and 1990s would have raised no objection.
But to today’s Republicans, ExxonMobil’s moderate, self-evident views are akin to heresy. Donald Trump, the leading GOP presidential candidate, says, “I don’t believe in climate change.” Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) says, “Climate change is not science, it’s religion.” Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) at the moment seems to acknowledge that climate change might be real but opposes any action to deal with it.
Future historians — if there are any future historians — will almost surely say that the most important thing happening in the world during December 2015 was the climate talks in Paris. True, nothing agreed to in Paris will be enough, by itself, to solve the problem of global warming. But the talks could mark a turning point, the beginning of the kind of international action needed to avert catastrophe.
Then again, they might not; we may be doomed. And if we are, you know who will be responsible: the Republican Party.
O.K., I know the reaction of many readers: How partisan! How over the top! But what I said is, in fact, the obvious truth. And the inability of our news media, our pundits and our political establishment in general to face up to that truth is an important contributing factor to the danger we face.
Anyone who follows U.S. political debates on the environment knows that Republican politicians overwhelmingly oppose any action to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, and that the great majority reject the scientific consensus on climate change. Last year PolitiFact could find only eight Republicans in Congress, out of 278 in the caucus, who had made on-the-record comments accepting the reality of man-made global warming. And most of the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination are solidly in the anti-science camp.
I often hear from people claiming that the American left is just as bad as the right on scientific issues, citing, say, hysteria over genetically modified food or nuclear power. But even if you think such views are really comparable to climate denial (which they aren’t), they’re views held by only some people on the left, not orthodoxies enforced on a whole party by what even my conservative colleague David Brooks calls the “thought police.”
And climate-denial orthodoxy doesn’t just say that the scientific consensus is wrong. Senior Republican members of Congress routinely indulge in wild conspiracy theories, alleging that all the evidence for climate change is the product of a giant hoax perpetrated by thousands of scientists around the world. And they do all they can to harass and intimidate individual scientists.
UPDATE: New Exxon commercial, submitted as further evidence.