House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked yesterday whether he believes the evidence pointing to human activities driving climate change. He wasn’t eager to answer.
“Well, clearly, we have had changes in our climate,” the Republican leader said. “I will let the scientists debate the sources and their opinion of that change. But I think the real question is that every proposal we see out of the administration with regard to climate change means killing American jobs. The American people are still asking a question, where are the jobs?”
As a policy matter, it’s regrettable how confused the House Speaker is. The scientific debate is over, but Boehner doesn’t seem to realize that. Addressing the climate crisis does not mean killing jobs, but Boehner doesn’t seem to realize that, either. Job creation soared last year, and apparently Boehner missed it.
But it’s the timing of the Speaker’s odd comments that seems especially jarring.
The results are in: 2014 was the hottest year on record.The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) released a new report Friday that declared 2014 as the Earth’s warmest year yet. The globally averaged temperature for land and ocean surfaces was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880. The average temperature surpassed the previous records in 2005 and 2010 by 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit.
Around the same time as Boehner’s climate denialism, researchers relying on new methods uncovered evidence that sea levels have risen “dramatically faster over the last two decades than anyone had known.”
Despite all of this, the Republican response seems to be that the United States could do something about this, but combating the crisis might undermine economic growth.
One wonders if they realize what climate catastrophes will do to the economy as the crisis intensifies.
Incidentally, in the same media availability in which Boehner made his climate comments, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also dodged the question. He and his caucus, however, won’t be able to dodge it much longer.
Senate Democrats are working to attach measures to the Keystone bill that would related to climate science.Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is proposing one of the more controversial ones that would ask whether lawmaker agree with the overwhelming consensus of scientists that human activities contribute to climate change.
Watch this space.