Climate Changelings

Climate: Burning earth
We’ve got the whole world, in our hands. We’ve got the whole wide world, in our hands…

In the next world you will be asked to give an account of the endowments and stewardships of this world. Whether inherent talents are few or many, a just and merciful reckoning must be faced…[S]elfish stewards must accept the consequences of their deliberate choosing.  —The Urantia Book

In a traitorous insult to wingnuts everywhere, four Republican Climate Change Affirmers announced Saturday that they have formed a working group to explore issues related to climate change.

What climate change deniers consider a strategic, if not a sacrilegious, violation of their “I am not a scientist!” dictum (a cornerstone of their What Me Worry talking points), Senators  Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have effectively neutered that rather transparent dodge (which is akin to saying “I don’t have an opinion on abortion because I am not a gynecologist”).

Pissing into the wingnut wind is not without blowback, however, especially when it contradicts one’s voting record. It will be interesting to see how Senator Lamar explains his votes for the Keystone Pipeline, and his vote against the carbon tax. Alexander has said as far back as 2009 that he thinks climate change is a human-caused problem, but he’s voted in favor of a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and in favor of a bill that would have prevented Congress from instituting a carbon tax.

There are even stirrings of sanity in the GOP dominated House. Following Pope Francis’s direct address to Congress in September, 11 GOPer have been emboldened to follow his interpretation of the teachings of Jesus concerning stewardship to include caring for the earth. Said El Papa during a speech in Manila earlier this year:

As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.”

And during a general address at Vatican City in April:

May the relationship between man and nature not be driven by greed, to manipulate and exploit, but may the divine harmony between beings and creation be conserved in the logic of respect and care.

Currently, 31% of Congress critters are Catholics, including the incoming Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Not that that is dispositive when it comes to voting on a given issue, but moral guilt can occasionally be a powerful motivator.  I’m tempted to write somewhat sanguinely:  “Baby steps. Baby steps.”  But when it comes to avoiding catastrophic climate change (if you think we have a refugee problem now, consider what would happen if tens of millions of coastal dwellers start heading inland), I have to consider myself a curable optimist.  I just don’t know whether the planet can wait until the fossil fuel industry funded climate deniers are brought to heel.
It’s time to put the petal to the metal.

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