HOAXES…. Listening to the House debate over the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) is a surprisingly frustrating experience. It’s probably better that most Americans don’t actually see these debates — it would undermine faith in our system of government.
At one point today, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) noted, “It is very difficult to find common ground if the other side rejects the science of our times.” Truer words, never spoken.
Take, for example, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.). Broun is perhaps best known for telling reporters late last year that he fears that President Obama may establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship on Americans. He added at the time that Obama reminds him of Hitler. Today, the Georgia Republican shared his thoughts on the environment.
“Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus…. And who’s going to be hurt most [by ACES] the poor, the people on limited incomeâ€¦the people who can least afford to have their energy taxes raised by MIT says $3,100 per family…. This bill must be defeated. We need to be good stewards of our environment, but this is not it, it’s a hoax!”
The “$3,100 per family” line has been debunked over and over again — the MIT scholar Broun cites has specifically tried to explain to Republican lawmakers that it’s completely bogus — but they just can’t seem to stop using it.
Regardless, the general inanity of the speech is what’s troubling. Ideally, the two major parties would at least agree on reality. Reasonable people would look at the evidence and recognize the seriousness of the climate crisis. From there, Democrats and Republicans could argue fiercely over how best to address the problem.
But policymakers can’t work together to tackle problems when one side prefers to believe the problems don’t exist.