Growing Schism in GOP Over Climate Change, Settled Science

Retired Republicans have little to lose and are increasingly disturbed about their party’s attitude against science and the facts about climate change.

A number of influential Republicans who no longer hold elected positions are working to change the GOP’s stance. 

Before the Tea party emerged, prominent Republicans like  Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and John Warner (R-VA) were strong voices for addressing climate change, and authored cap-and-trade bills to do so. 

Now, the party line is that climate change is a hoax, and if they acknowledge the earth is warming, it’s due to "natural variations" not to human activity.

An example is Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was a senior advisor on McCain’s presidential campaign. As the head of a center-right think tank called American Action Forum, he’s working with New Hampshire-based climate policy advocacy group Clean Air-Cool Planet to present the case for how addressing climate change would benefit the economy.

Another example is John Warner, a former Virginia senator, advocates for reducing dependence on foreign oil by developing the renewable energy industry. He’s a lobbyist and  senior adviser to the Pew Project on National Security, Energy, and Climate Change.

George Shultz, Secretary of State under President Reagan, co-chaired the "No on Prop. 23" campaign in California, which successfully defended the state’s pioneering climate change law against an oil-industry-led effort to overturn it.

Republicans who deny climate science are "entitled to their opinion, but they’re not entitled to the facts," he told National Journal.

And Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), who chaired the House Science Committee, lobbies his former colleagues to stop them from gutting the Environmental Protection Agency.

Bob Inglis (R-SC) lost his primary race last year partially because of his views on climate change. He’s giving speeches to conservative strongholds across the US about the need for conservatives to acknowledge climate change, warning the GOP will be branded as "anti-science" if it doesn’t. 

Let’s hope these thought leaders have an impact on their party.

Read Who’s Bankrolling the Climate-Change Deniers?

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Comments on “Growing Schism in GOP Over Climate Change, Settled Science”

  1. Justin

    The whole notion that CO2 produced by human activity is warming the earth is complete nonsense. Climate Change and cap and trade is sheer propaganda. It basically comes down to Washington insiders, lobbyists and the investment class coming up with this “crisis” in order to effect change via the laws and courts. Thus forcing citizens and businesses to buy new goods and services that are “green”. Why would they do this? So that they can create a new billion dollar industry and make a ton of money.

  2. Christopher Isar

    @Justin — Yes, these scientists (whom by the way, only became scientists to make money) have globally teamed up to create billion dollar industries. This is a conspiracy on a global level! Riiiiight.

  3. n&c

    Climate has changed for whatever reason during the whole existence of the planet. We “naughty” humans have never succeeded in effecting it more than [naturally occurring] volcanoes.
    We’re for SOME environmental regulations because they have truly helped our skies be and look cleaner. But as is it’s wont, government has taken it too far. Regulations onerous enough to hurt or stop whole industries do not help humanity. BACK OFF, governments!

  4. Jeremy

    Justin where is your data backing this up. Are you saying that CO2 is not a gas that causes heat to be retained? If you say that CO2 does cause heat to remain in our atmosphere from a scientific standpoint, what is the CO2 that we are producing do? Is it just going away?

  5. Brian

    Ratios of carbon isotopes in the co2 clearly show much of the gas is from human activities. I’m not sure what is left to deny.

    Radioactive materials are liberal conspirators?

  6. Richard

    To Jeremy:
    Justin raised an excellent point. If, in fact, the added CO2 is REALLY raising the atmospheric temperature by the reported 3/4 degree C over the last 150 years, show me the science that causes the miniscule specific heat of air to melt ANY ice that has a MUCH larger specific heat and also requires a lot of heat just to turn every ton of zero degree C ice into zero degree water without warming the water one little bit. You do the math. It just isn’t there! Why don’t you ask Chicken Little if the sky is falling? Or, maybe that scoundrel, Al Gore.

  7. Michael

    Justin talks about a scientist conspiracy and lobbyists for some supposed big bad powerful cap and trade industry. If you really follow the money, you have scientists on one end and the richest corporations in the world on the other end – big oil companies. Tell me who would benefit the most to lead us to believe that humans are not the cause of climate change and that we can go on business as usual. That’s right, the oil companies. Who has more money – the oil companies. Yet none of these doubters ever consider that fact. They’re just sheep for the big oil cartel.

  8. mike

    Richard, I can’t believe you used thermodynamics to bluster your way to a bogus conclusion. By your argument warm air could not melt cold ice. What BS. A temperature gradient causes heat to flow from warm air to cold ice regardless of specific heat. Air that rapidly cools as it slowly raises the temperature of ice is replaced by more warm air that continues warming the ice. You are aware of wind, right? I mean, wind that you did not generate yourself….

  9. Richard

    You are right. A continual flow of warm air can indeed melt cold ice. However, whenever global WARMING is mentioned it is always made to sound like, now the globe is WARM as in “take off your jacket” warm. When the reality is, at least from every source I have ever seen, the LOWER atmosphere has warmed 3/4 degree C in the last 150 years. Who knows what the upper atmosphere has been doing. I trust that you know the difference between “temperature” and “heat.” There seems to be rampant misunderstanding about the nature of that difference.

    Besides, what accurate global temperatures were measured 150 years ago? To make any believably clear hypothesis, you at least need equally accurate data from both ends of a time frame. I suggest that such is NOT available. Maybe you can help me find some.

  10. Richard

    Frank G – Cry baby cry. worry baby worry. This whole question is a 21st century version of the Chicken Little fable. Some have even said that we need to run to the stars to avoid the collapse of this planet and save the human race. They apparently understand real science even more poorly than the AGW crowd.


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