House Republican Looks to Take Party in New Direction on Climate Change

rep-gibsonI’ve often likened the denial of climate change by Republicans to the past denial by big tobacco that smoking caused cancer and other various health problems. Back in the absurd days of “doctor recommended cigarettes” and “scientific evidence disproving the notion that smoking causes cancer,” big tobacco feverishly denied that there were any adverse affects to smoking. In fact, they’d often tout “studies” trying to disprove the mounds of scientific evidence that proved smoking did in fact increase the likelihood for someone to get cancer. Though these “studies” were nothing more than propaganda that was almost always funded by these big tobacco companies.

The truth is, if you pay the right corrupt doctor or scientist enough, they’ll say pretty much anything.

And that’s what we’re seeing right now when it comes to the Republican denial of climate change. A political party that’s more or less bought and paid for by big oil is doing everything it can to debunk the widely accepted scientific fact that climate change is being mostly driven by humans. And the way they do this is by using scientific uncertainty as “proof” that climate chance is just some liberal hoax. Sadly, it never dawns on these conservative voters that almost every single policy Republicans support favors big oil. Even as the GOP claims to be the “party for fiscal responsibility,” they fight tooth and nail to keep billions in oil subsidies flowing to big oil companies raking in tens of billions of dollars every single year.

But the truth is, climate change is real and humans have been playing a big factor in accelerating it. Whether or not most Republicans want to believe this is irrelevant. Because that’s the thing about facts, they’re real whether or not somebody wants to believe in them.

Well, there’s a slight glimmer of hope as Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) is set to introduce a resolution on climate change with the hope that it will wake some people up to the realities that we’re facing, not just as Americans, but as a species.

“My district has been hit with three 500-year floods in the last several years, so either you believe that we had a one in over 100 million probability that occurred, or you believe as I do that there’s a new normal, and we have changing weather patterns, and we have climate change. This is the science,” said Gibson.

He continued, “I hope that my party – that we will come to be comfortable with this, because we have to operate in the realm of knowledge and science, and I still think we can bring forward conservative solutions to this, absolutely, but we have to recognize the reality. So I will be bringing forward a bill, a resolution that states as such, with really the intent of rallying us, to harken us to our best sense, our ability to overcome hard challenges.”

Will his comments have any impact on the GOP? Probably not. The Republican party has two huge problems when it comes to climate change if they ever want to get on board to do something about it:

  1. They’re heavily backed by big oil, an industry trying desperately to convince people climate change isn’t real.
  2. Tens of millions of their voters believe God controls the weather.

And those are two hurdles they simply can’t get over. Even if they decided to reject big oil and endorse that climate change is real and being caused by humans, they still have a huge voting base who believes that even if climate change is happening, God’s the one causing it to happen. And you can’t reason with people who lack the ability to be reasoned with. No matter how much physical or scientific evidence you have.

All we can hope is that more Republicans begin to follow Gibson’s lead, though I’ll fully admit that I have very little optimism about that actually happening.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • Eg Kbbs

    To take the climate change / big tobacco analogy a step further. Politicos and global change deniers (including the “scientists” who don’t believe in climate change) have both learned to use statement such as “I don’t understand the science……. I’m not a scientist……. and I don’t believe……”

    A few decades back it became clear that tobacco was associated with disease, both in many court cases and most notably when tobacco appeared before Congress and was asked whether tobacco caused disease.

    They figured that a “yes” would be disastrous PR but a “no” could land them in perjury and contempt. So they figured out to answer that “I don’t believe that tobacco causes……..” Of course, you’re free to believe what you want.

  • Jim Bean

    Chris Gibson’s enthusiasm make have taken a hit today when NOAA announced that the California drought is NOT related to climate change – man made or otherwise.

    Certainly, all the global warming enthusiasts are gathered in a huddle trying to figure out how to punish and discredit NOAA.

    • Pipercat

      Actually, scientists are doing a de facto peer review since the study was not published in a peer-review journal.

      • Jim Bean

        That doesn’t surprise me. Evidence that does not conform to the narrative is unwelcome and must be marginalized.

      • Pipercat

        Jim, for a study of any kind to have credibility, it has to be published in a peer reviewed journal. Nature, Science and the like. This was a sponsored study and the results were announced by NOAA. Regardless, it will be scrutinized by the experts in the field. If it stands up to review, then so be it. Assuming the authors are forthcoming with their data.

        This is how the scientific community operates. From physicians to mathematicians, that’s the process. Where you are going astray is this notion of endorsements and narratives. No matter how anyone may spin otherwise, science follows a precise doctrine that takes into account things like bias, mistakes and Crackpotery. Consensus is the word that science uses after a study is published.

      • Jim Bean

        And money buys consensus.

      • Pipercat

        No sir. That’s a blanket unsubstantiated statement. If that were true, then I would recommend not driving on flyovers, seek medical treatment or take your pet to the vet. All of these disciplines (Engineering, Medicine, Veterinary Sciences) use peer reviewed studies to further advancement of technology. Any attempt at buying consensus would cost too much and bring in further scrutiny from the disciplines involved.

        Dead end Jim. You cannot paint entire professions as shills or charlatans without any tangible proof. Being cynical is fine, but this road is absurd because it’s painted with broad brush partisanship.

      • Jim Bean

        Are you saying there are sectors where money cannot corrupt?

      • Pipercat

        Stop trying to pivot.

      • Jim Bean

        You mean ‘stop trying to pin me down and make me commit’, don’t you?

      • Pipercat

        C’mon Jim, you put out these straw men and can’t support the assertion. Look, I don’t care if you don’t believe the prevailing science. That’s your right; but, trying pivoting to support something that I now found out was actually an internal memo is disingenuous.

        If you were being genuine, you’d have just posted the first paragraph. Instead, you upped the ante with basically a fallacious “woe is us” statement.

      • Jim Bean

        I don’t disbelieve the science. I regard it as a credible, but unproven, hypothesis and science does not claim it to be anything more than that (though they don’t protest when their supporters convert it to gospel and offer up more grants for further research.)

        My only objection in this issue is to the martyr-like strategy the Left wants to endorse where we shoot our economy in foot to engage in martyr-like activities for no other reason than the sense of self-righteousness that can be siphoned from it.

        That’s the reason liberals endorse it. Politicians endorse it because they see it as a way to get their hands on some money.

      • Pipercat

        Why even politicize it? Really? This is science being conducted by scientists. There are always disagreements. That’s why they do peer reviewed studies. Outside entities are have stake in the game and are putting in money to discredit the normal scientific discourse because these entities don’t like the numbers.

        This NOAA memo is one piece of the scientific pie. It will be reviewed. The reviews will be reviewed and eventually, there well be a consensus.

        It’s really all about those numbers I mentioned. The numbers themselves do not lie. The interpretation of those numbers is where things get tricky. The guys that crunch those numbers for a living already have a procedure in place to ensure accuracy of those numbers. Because our contemporary times are polluted with politics and twisted ideologies, things like science can’t even go about it’s business without first navigating minefield of propaganda and disinformation.

        The choice is a simple one: Do you trust the scientist’s interpretation of science or do you trust the punditry?

      • Jim Bean

        The problem here is that before any evidence suggesting the California drought was related to climate change, the Left was advertising that it did.

        I ‘value’ the scientist’s interpretations but allow for the impact money might have on their ‘interpretations’. The Left valued Obama’s Gruberized Obamacare projections and Gruber is at the top of his field. That didn’t mean he couldn’t be bought.

      • Pipercat

        I’ll reiterate, why politicize it? No need to. Numbers are apolitical!

      • Jim Bean

        One word that dispels that myth: Obamacare.

      • Pipercat

        Numbers by themselves, in pure form are apolitical. Interpretation is where things go astray. If there is disagreement fine. Stating irrelevant equivalencies don’t change the numbers. In this case, the numbers are measurements. The measurements are documented. The measurements are checked, rechecked and a hypothesis is created. The hypothesis is peer reviewed, tested, re-created and things (mostly conclusions, but some additional data -numbers) are added and/or subtracted. A theory is created when there is consensus on the measurements taken and conclusions, via testing, reached. That’s the scientific method in a nutshell. Politics does not follow this formula and is nothing but naked merchandizing. Big difference, yes?

      • Jim Bean

        That all sounded quite high-brow and tenable until you used the term consensus.

        Wikipedia has a fine list of scientists who think otherwise. Search the title”

        ‘List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming’

      • Pipercat

        I’m sorry, but the word consensus has been used for decades by the scientific community. I never said there was one regarding this issue, but at some time there will be.

        As for the list, it goes back to the numbers. A majority creates a consensus. The list you suggest contains less than one hundred names that Wikipedia put the caveat:

        “This is an incomplete list that may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with entries that are reliably sourced.”

        Curiously, that same page linked the list of authors who contributed to the 2007 IPCC report:

        “This is a list of the 620 authors contributing to Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, which was the 996 page contribution of Working Group I to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Their report describes the causes and climate consequences of global warming.”

        There’s those pesky numbers doing their thing again!

      • surfjac

        You couldn’t convince mr. bean that a shovel to the head won’t leave an impression on his mind even if you whacked him with one. he’s a contrarian and nothing you or I or anyone says is correct in his myopic world view. And he offers no proof for any of his nonsensical statements. he’s one of those people that allowed for the creation of the phrase, “Don’t feed the trolls!”

      • BobJThompson

        Yeah. Those fat cat climate scientists in their fat cat climate mansions and their fat cat luxury EV’s. How dare they look at evidence and make predictions based on that evidence.

        The Koch’s are poor paupers who worked hard to amass their fortune in the rough and tumble industry of what America needs to run for the past century. They have everyone’s best interest at heart and just need a little money to get their ideas off the ground.

        We don’t need any new industries. The old models work perfectly fine. I <3 late 19th century tech.

      • Jim Bean

        In other words, it hasn’t been endorsed by the climate change activists.