Call it global warming or call it climate change, it is real and it is worsening.
what eye thynk: With the latest reports from world scientists on the accelerating climate change crisis, Republicans find themselves in an awkward position. If they continue to deny that global warming is real, they look like idiots. If they accept the science and say we must do something about the crisis, they risk finding themselves standing alone against their party's anti-science orthodoxy.
Recently, however, it appears that the GOP message gurus have found a way for their members to balance on the fence while avoiding having to offer any opinion at all. Their answer: "We're not qualified."
Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott started the ball rolling by declaring himself unqualified to discuss climate change.
The memo must have reached House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday when he voiced a similar view by saying, "Listen, I'm not qualified to debate the science over climate change." He went on to say that the upcoming environmental standards expected to come from the White House next week--standards that he has yet to see-- would hurt the economy. (Apparently, he needed no facts to declare himself qualified to voice an opinion on that issue.)
For years, Mr. Boehner and his fellow Republicans have called global warming a liberal fiction; and that, even if it were real, human activity has nothing to do with it. I would assume that, in order to make those declarations, at least a few of them must have felt they had some knowledgeable grasp of the science involved. Now, with new reports from scientists all over the world declaring climate change a worsening crisis and offering all sorts of additional facts to prove their case, GOP members want us to believe they are suddenly unqualified to form an opinion. Only a Republican could equate more facts and more proof with less familiarity and less cognizance.
As one political pundit wrote this week, "One need not be a scientist to believe scientists. That may be politically inconvenient for the Speaker, but--and this is key--reality doesn't care."
It comes down to one simple fact: trying to hide behind an "I'm not qualified to say if climate change is real" argument doesn't cut it. You're supposed to be a leader. If, as a leader, you declare yourself unqualified on a subject, then ask the opinion of someone who is qualified. In this case, that would be a scientist. That's why we have them.
And, if you find their work too taxing to comprehend, ask one of your many staff members to read the scientific reports and explain them to you in small words you can understand. That's why you have them.
If you're still "not qualified", then we need smarter leadership.