Republican Congressman Bob Inglis challenges his anti-science, global-warming-denying colleagues to look at the bleak future they are setting their grandchildren up for.
Almost three months ago, Daily Kos writer RLMiller coined the term "climate zombies" to describe Republican candidates for House, Senate, and governor seats denying the clear scientific evidence that global warming is happening and is human-induced, folks who would like to keep us in the dark ages of dirty energy no matter what amount of anti-science propaganda it takes. Yes, a number of these climate zombies were recently elected to office. But while these guys and gals may make us feel like the whole Republican party skipped science class in high school (and forever after), it would be a mistake, a stereotype, and a bad political move to go that route.
While it is all too easy to find climate zombies in the Republican party these days, a speech yesterday by Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) (see video below) gives us hope that what is happening to our climate can be clearly understood and expressed by Republicans who can see we are dooming ourselves to a much darker future if we don't get on the clean energy and climate action bandwagon and try to compete with (or at least follow) emerging leaders like China.
Inglis, who has a 93 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, hasn't ignored that much of the Republican opposition to Obama's policies is due to racism and an unwillingness to be courageous enough to "stand up to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Tea Partiers." And he hasn't missed his colleagues' complete disregard for science either.
"98 of the doctors say, 'Do this thing,' two say, 'Do the other.' So, it’s on the record," Inglis said in a speech yesterday morning alluding to the widespread scientific consensus that global warming is happening and we must cut our greenhouse gas emissions to address it.
In his speech, Inglis didn't stop at the science of global warming, though. He went right into probably the next most important factor, that countries addressing global warming by investing in clean energy are going to be the economic leaders of the future, and since the U.S. isn't doing much on this front, we may as well prepare to fall way behind other world leaders -- in particular, China -- economically.
"And we’re here with important decision to be made. And I would also suggest to my Free Enterprise colleagues — especially conservatives here — whether you think it’s all a bunch of hooey, what we’ve talked about in this committee, the Chinese don’t. And they plan on eating our lunch in this next century.
They plan on innovating around these problems, and selling to us, and the rest of the world, the technology that’ll lead the 21st century. So we may just press the pause button here for several years, but China is pressing the fast-forward button. And as a result, if we wake up in several years and we say, 'geez, this didn’t work very well for us. The two doctors didn’t turn out to be so right. 98 might have been the ones to listen to.'"
Inglis said it quite bluntly, something you don't get much from politicians. And he said clearly at the beginning of his speech, the thing he loved about Congressional hearings is that they're on the record, because future generations can go back and look at whether their ancestors paid attention to science or not and whether they cared for the futures of their descendants (if they have an opportunity to spend time on such things).
If Inglis' grandkids get the chance to go back and look at his comments on these issues, at least they can be proud.
Watch Inglis' full speech here:
Photo Credit: Yanov via flickr (CC license)