Abandoning the pretense of scientific seriousness

ABANDONING THE PRETENSE OF SCIENTIFIC SERIOUSNESS…. Just a few years ago, plenty of congressional Republicans acknowledged the reality of global warming. GOP officials didn’t always agree on the solutions, but Republicans were at least willing to acknowledge that a problem existed and needed to be addressed.

In a reminder of just how far and how quickly the GOP has slipped from reality, those days of scientific seriousness have been abandoned altogether. Consider yesterday’s developments at the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Moving on a central tenet of the Republican energy and environment platform, a House committee on Tuesday approved a measure to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. […]

The bill would repeal the E.P.A.’s finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are a threat to human health and the environment and would bar the agency from imposing new rules to control them. […]

Before approving the measure, the committee rejected three Democratic amendments intended to put the panel’s Republican majority on record rejecting the scientific basis of climate change, the role of human activity in contributing to it and the urgency of acting on the problem. The amendments failed.

The main bill is absurd enough. Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act, and instructed the agency to enforce regulations. The Supreme Court concluded in 2007 that the EPA has the authority to act to regulate greenhouse gases. Now, Republicans and a handful of center-right Dems are intent on making sure EPA can’t exercise its own powers, all because conservatives don’t understand climate science.

But it was those amendments that were especially jarring.

Dems simply wanted to get Republicans on record on some of the basics, and offered three straightforward measures — climate change exists, there’s a scientific consensus on the matter, and human activity is responsible for the phenomenon.

How many GOP lawmakers on the committee were willing to vote for any of these? Zero. Literally, none.

Remember, it’s not that Republicans prefer an alternative approach to solving the problem; it’s that they’re convinced the problem is imaginary and the entirety of climate science is some sort of fiendish plot. The GOP’s policy, as a practical matter, is “do nothing” and let polluters do whatever they want.

In the meantime, reality doesn’t much care whether conservatives believe it or not, and the climate crisis continues to intensify. We see the problem coming, and the new goal of a major political party is to sit on its hands.

To borrow a phrase, history will hunt them for their cravenness.