Saturday, May 02, 2009

Pielke Jr. and Dave Roberts are on the same (wrong) page

Recently Dave Roberts wrote two posts (here and here) telling people to ignore climate denialists, both those in the media and those in Congress:

Congressional Republicans are d******bags and everyone hates them. You might think from their program of uncompromising, unreasoning obstruction that they have some secret master plan to regain seats in Congress (which, as you might have noticed, they keep losing), but as Matt Yglesias points out, it’s not so. Even National Republican Senatorial Committee chair John Cornyn (TX) admits that it’s all but a fait accompli that Democrats will reach 60 votes in the Senate in 2010.

That’s because everyone likes Obama, and everyone hates Republicans. As Chris Bowers has documented in an ongoing series, they are less popular among the American public than Obama, Congressional Dems, marijuana legalization, Venezuela, China, and probably this new pig flu, though no one’s polled that yet. They screwed up the country, they don’t have credible solutions to any of its problems, and the only people who listen to their increasingly loopy rhetoric are part of the 30% remnant.

Roberts might be surprised to learn that Roger Pielke Jr. preceded him in this opinion by over two years, arguing that a poll showing a majority of Congress members believed in climate change meant the following:

1. The issue of science is no longer relevant to debate in Congress. A majority in both chambers accepts the human role in climate change, and further a majority accepts the need for action, including mandatory caps on carbon dioxide.

Roger the crazy radical goes even further, saying one reason for Congressional inaction on climate back in 2007 was that "some scientists" like those at RealClimate spent time talking about skeptics' arguments. Damn you, RealClimate!

However nice it may be for Roger and Roberts to agree on something, they're wrong. You need 60 votes in the Senate to beat a filibuster over climate change, so 41 Senators can stop action. The bad guys have 30 votes in their pocket thanks to denialists, ones who listened the echo chamber enough to believe the nonsense. It's not as if all the remaining Congressmembers accept the consensus either - they can think there might be something to the critiques, a thought that would be magnified by the economic interests of their states and their financial contributors and friends. Unwarranted skepticism is a huge dead weight, something that keep politicians from doing the right thing, and knocking it down is still necessary.

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