Climate Change: Who is in Denial, and About What?
To the environmental Left, “climate denial” is not about whether or not one thinks anthropogenic climate change is occurring. Rather, it is about whether or not one agrees with their proposed government expanding policy “solutions.” This unfortunate state of affairs is illustrated by the environmental Left’s response to the sworn Unites States Senate testimonies of President Trump’s cabinet nominees that climate change is real and warrants a public conversation as a matter of policy. Name-calling, not coming to the table for a discussion, was the Left’s reaction.
Democratic members of the United States Senate repeatedly questioned President Trump’s nominees over climate change during their confirmation hearings. The answers these questions elicited show a cabinet consensus on climate change that might surprise a person who does not read past headlines.
Consider these statements to the United States Senate by Trump administration nominees:
Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency Nominee
I do not believe climate change is a hoax. . . Science tells us that the climate is changing, and that human activity, in some manner, impacts that change. . . The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue, and well it should be.
Governor Rick Perry, nominee, Energy Secretary Nominee
I believe the climate is changing . . . I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by man-made activity. The question is, how do we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t compromise economic growth, the affordability of energy or American jobs.
Representative Ryan Zinke, Interior Secretary Nominee
We both agree that the climate’s changing. We both agree that man is an influence. . . I do not believe it is a hoax. . . . I think where there’s debate on it is what [the human] influence is, what can we do about it.
Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State Nominee
I came to my personal position over about 20 years as an engineer and a scientist, understanding the evolution of the science, came to the conclusion a few years ago the risk of climate change does exist, and that the consequences could be serious enough that action should be taken . . . The type of action seem to be where the largest areas of debate exist in the public discourse. I think it’s important to recognize the U.S. has done a pretty good job . . . the increase in the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are having an effect [but] our ability to predict that effect is very limited.
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General Nominee
I don’t deny that we have global warming. In fact, the theory of it always struck me as plausible, and it’s the question of how much is happening and what the reaction would be to it.
True, the nominees do not agree among themselves about what, if any, public policy responses are warranted to address climate change. And, true, for some of the nominees, even stating that climate change is “real” represents a new public position on climate. Their statements during their nomination hearings, however, are hardly the stuff of “denial.” Instead, the hearings show Republican administration officials who are open to a national discussion about climate change and the appropriate way to address the challenge.
All concerned about environmental stewardship and human health should welcome this open door to dialogue. “Climate denial” name-calling politicizes the issue and slams the door shut on what is an opening for bipartisan conversation about an important matter of public policy. The environmental Left must decide if they desire an open discussion about environmental protection or if they want to continue to deploy environmental concerns as a political wedge to advance a big government agenda. Casting the “denier” aspersion on a Republican leader is not justified because that person is reluctant to embrace climate policies inconsistent with their sincerely held limited government and free market values.