When asked questions about climate change, many Republicans are in a tough spot.
If they say they know the scientific consensus is that human-caused climate change is real, they run the risk of alienating members of their base who don’t believe that. But seeing as most Americans actually do recognise that climate change is occurring and is an issue, not all Republicans are willing to claim, like Oklahoma Sen. James Inhoffe, that facts generally accepted as true are a hoax.
So many default to what they must think of as a middle ground. They point out that they aren’t scientists.
Of course, some have noted that this is absurd. As David Shiffman writes, lawmakers are willing to weigh in on all kinds of issues that aren’t their personal area of expertise:
Do they have opinions on how to best maintain our nation’s highways, bridges, and tunnels — or do they not because they’re not civil engineers? Do they refuse to talk about agriculture policy on the grounds that they’re not farmers? How do they think we should be addressing the threat of ISIS? They wouldn’t know, of course; they’re not military generals.
No one would ever say these things, because they’re ridiculous.
Yet, when it comes to climate change, the “I’m not a scientist” line somehow persists.
Stephen Colbert provided a whole montage of prominent Republicans making the claim during the Nov. 6 episode of the Colbert Report.
Take newly elected Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, nephew of George W. Bush. He admits that the Texas coastline is affected by rising sea levels, but when asked about whether or not human activity contributes to climate change, he responds “I’ll leave that to the scientists…” He thinks human influence on climate ranges “everywhere from no impact at all to 100%.”
Colbert also includes news clips of John Boehner, Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, and others uttering the same line.
So what does this really mean?
Colbert’s translation is that “everyone who denies man-made climate change has the same stirring message. ‘We don’t know what the f*ck we’re talking about.'”
And with the actual global warming denier James Inhofe very likely taking over the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Colbert has one more message for the young members of the audience.
“Remember kids, if you get unhooked on science early, maybe someday you could completely lack any understanding of science, and then grow up to be the Chairman of the Senate Environmental Committee.”
Watch the full video below for a great demonstration of Florida sinking under rising water levels for a completely inexplicable reason.
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