By Jon Dougherty
The one policy area where conservatives could still count on most Republicans to stand firm and resist Leftist Democratic efforts — even those considered solidly within the ‘GOP Establishment’ — was so-called “climate change,” but not even that resistance appears to be cracking.
More Republicans are beginning to embrace the ‘climate science’ claiming that human activity is disrupting the Earth’s weather and climate patterns to the detriment of everyone on the planet.
One former GOP stalwart was Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, who at one time forcefully pushed back against allegations of human-caused climate change by invoking the Bible and declaring that “Earth will only end when God declares it’s time to be over.”
Today, however, Shimkus is taking a defeatist attitude, obviously worn down by the Left’s never-ending push to factor climate change into public policy.
“It’s just not worth the fight anymore,” Shimkus said in an interview with Bloomberg when asked about his changing stance on climate change. “Let’s just see what we can do to address it and not hurt the economy.”
That’s not all. Shimkus has also signed onto a letter with the top Republican of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that said “prudent steps should be taken to address current and future climate risks.”
Bloomberg notes further:
Shimkus is among a number of Republicans who — after years of sowing doubt about climate change or ignoring it altogether — are scrambling to confront the science they once rejected. They are planning hearings on the issue, pledging to invest in technologies to mitigate its impact and openly talking about the need for taking action.
The shift in posture follows the public’s growing anxiety after catastrophic hurricanes, flooding and wildfires linked to global warming. Fully 74 percent of registered voters think global warming is happening and 67 percent said they are worried it, according to polling conducted by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Among conservative Republicans, just 42 percent think global warming is happening but that is up five percentage points since a poll taken in 2017.
Moreover, Democrats have seized the issue with populist fever — even proposing a sweeping plan to phase out climate-warming gas emissions through a “Green New Deal.”
“Members are openly using the term climate change,” leading RINO Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, where oil production is the top industry, said of her GOP colleagues. “You are not seeing this kind of dismissive attitude but more open conversations about some of the challenges, some of the technologies we can look to, some of the solutions.”
Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has long been a believer in human-caused climate change. She’s preparing to open the committee’s first hearing on the topic in years, which will hone in on electricity generation.
In addition to Murkowski, other Republicans have been meeting in small groups to come up with a strategy on the issue: Senators John Cornyn of Texas, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and former 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, now a senator representing Utah.
Cassidy said he’s in talks with Republican senators about climate legislation centered around increasing the use of use of natural gas abundant in his state of Louisiana. The fuel source has about 50 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than coal, but is opposed by some environmentalists because of the fracking process used to develop it and associated leaks of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Other policies under discussion among Republicans include expanding the use of nuclear energy and research on technology to capture carbon emissions from smokestacks and the development of renewable energy.
Noted Graham, who said he’s been discussing the issue with freshman #NeverTrump senator Romney, “There is a growing consensus on our side that man-made emissions are contributing to global warming, that the ‘green deal’ is absurd, and we should be able to find a more appropriate solution to the problem.”
As usual, however, none of the ideas being floated by the GOP are good enough for the rabid Left.
“The window for moderate action has completely closed,” Lukas Ross, a senior policy analyst with Friends of the Earth, told Bloomberg. “A small minority of Republicans don’t deserve a pat on the back for acknowledging 40 years of scientific consensus.”
The problem is, of course, that the so-called “science” is anything but settled. And the climate doom-and-gloom predictions for 30 years have been bogus and alarmist. But apparently, if the Left can beat a dead horse long enough, they can get what they want in terms of ‘action’ on this issue.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10