Attaching a price to climate denialism


Climate deniers – a misguided club that features a whole lot of congressional Republicans – realize that their position is effectively cost-free. Sure, they’re likely doing irreparable harm to our collective future, but when GOP lawmakers routinely say ridiculous things about climate science, there’s no public backlash; there’s no drop in contributions; there’s no drop in the polls; and there’s no real political consequence.

The League of Conservation Voters is eager to change this political dynamic.

As The Hill reported yesterday, the LCV is launching a new ad campaign targeting several climate deniers in Congress, including this spot going after Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.). It’s part of a $2 million ad campaign, which is a significant investment, especially in a non-election year.

Indeed, this is the second phase in the League of Conservation Voters’ offensive – the group launched this spot last week focused on Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) rejection of climate science. When the right-wing Wisconsinite complained about an “environmental jihad” against him, the LCV hit him again.

As Greg Sargent recently explained, “It’s long been a source of frustration for environmentalists that expressions of rank climate denialism are not anywhere near as politically toxic as crazy comments about abortion, birth control, or immigration have historically proven. Climate denialism does not meet the widespread condemnation that greets the sort of statements on immigration and abortion you hear from the likes of Steve King or Todd Akin (who lost his Senate race as a result).”

The League of Conservation Voters’ campaign marks one of the first meaningful, national efforts in recent memory to turn up the heat, so to speak, on those who deny the scientific reality. It’s not about winning an election – Johnson isn’t up until 2016 – it’s about changing a conversation, creating political disincentives, and providing a foundation for activism.

More power to ‘em.