Extreme Games: Part II

I’m sure Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) is a nice guy, but the problem is, he doesn’t really have a natural audience. It’s hard to figure out who he was trying to appeal to with this one:

Eleven House Republicans signed on to a resolution Thursday that recognizes humans have a role in causing climate change.

The resolution also endorses steps to combat global warming, though it stops well short of calling for specific solutions.

Led by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), the lawmakers want the House to go on record to generally agree with the overwhelming consensus of scientists that human activity, through greenhouse gases, is warming the globe. The resolution frames climate change as an issue of environmental stewardship, which it says has a long history in the United States.

They’re introducing the non-binding legislation a week before Pope Francis speaks to Congress. He is expected to call for action on climate change, following up on his encyclical earlier this year asking world leaders to fight global warming…

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), another sponsor, pointed to the unique effects of climate change in south Florida, where many cities are seeing frequent flooding.

Our goal with this resolution is to shift the debate from whether climate change is real to what we can do to mitigate its effects,” he said.

The other members on the resolution are Reps. David Reichert (Wash.) Robert Dold (Ill.) Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Patrick Meehan (Pa.), Michael Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), Ryan Costello (Pa.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and Frank LoBiondo (N.J.).

Does anyone really think this resolution will cause Republican climate-change deniers–including the GOP presidential candidates who see President Ronald Reagan’s former Secretary of State, George Shultz (a supporter of a federal carbon tax to combat carbon pollution) as a radical leftist–to have a change of heart? For that matter, does anyone think this resolution will impress climate hawks, who wonder why Republicans who recognize the reality of human-caused climate change remain tied to an anti-science party?

Of course, some of these Republicans aren’t exactly fond of, you know, policy to address the climate crisis, as Environment America notes:

Half of the resolution’s sponsors- Reps. Ros-Lehtinen, Meehan, Costello, Fitzpatrick, and Stefanik — voted recently against the Clean Power Plan, the carbon pollution limits on power plants finalized last month that polluters and their allies in the congressional leadership are trying to block.

How nice.

It would be nice if there were House and Senate Republicans bold enough to openly embrace Shultz’s idea of a federal carbon tax (an idea embraced by Republican economists such as Martin Feldstein and Gregory Mankiw), but as Paul Krugman recently suggested, the odds of that happening are infinitesimal:

In fact, policies that the tech elite support, like carbon taxes, are [strongly] supported only by the left wing of the Democratic Party; the entire Republican Party is controlled by climate denialists, and anti-science types more broadly. And in general the modern GOP is basically anti-rational analysis; it’s at war not just with the welfare state but with the Enlightenment.

Hey, I’d love to be proven wrong. I’d love to believe that these eleven Republicans can bring their party back to sanity on science. However, their likelihood of success is as low as global temperatures are high.

UPDATE: More from David Roberts and the Huffington Post.

SECOND UPDATE: Maybe Rep. Gibson and his fellow pro-climate-science Republicans should sign on to a resolution condemning ExxonMobil for blocking needed action to reduce carbon pollution despite knowing full well that human-caused climate change was a growing crisis. More from NPR.

THIRD UPDATE: Rep. Gibson and his colleagues might want to call out George Will, too. Plus, More from the Albany Times-Union.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.