America’s bigger Oops moment?


Rick Perry, the Texas Governor  and fading Republican White House wannabe, does not believe in climate change science, renewable energy subsidies and.. oh, what was that third thing?

In his now famous “oops” moment at the recent Republican debate, Perry was talking about agencies he would like to cut but he could not remember that it was the Energy Department that would  be on the chopping block under his administration.

It seems uncanny to some he could forget about a department that deals with issues he is been quite vocal on. Perry has been consistent in his support for the oil industry and for the need to repeal some environmental regulations. He is also not a fan of the Obama Administration and its renewable energy policies and the battle against climate change.

Perry, like most in the Republican field, would also like to forget about climate science. According to him, a “substantial number or scientists” are manipulating data on climate change. Meanwhile, he contends, scientists by the week are suddenly realizing it’s not that big of a deal  that we’re emitting all those tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. Heck this climate change issue has been around forever:

“Yes, our climates change. They’ve been changing ever since the earth was formed. But I do not buy into that a group of scientists, who in some cases were found to be manipulating this data,” Perry said in mid August.

While Perry has been repeating his stand on the hustings in the countdown to the 2012 U.S. election, the Lone Star state has been hammered by a string of extreme weather events like it has never seen before. Millions of acres of land in Texas were  scorched by wildfires, aided by a relentless drought that caused billions of dollars in damage.

The extreme weather that has been devastating Texas was just part of a severely unsettling year for the United States. Tornadoes, droughts and floods, rampaged in record proportions across the land. Climate Central in a recent post found that “that June, July, and August saw more warm temperature records tied or broken than any other summer in the past decade: more than 26,500 record warm temperatures were set across the nation.”

And this problem will be felt at the dinner table: the big U.S. crop that is so vital in feeding the world is going to be a smaller than needed  because of droughts and flooding. The harvest for corn and soybeans may be size-able but most experts say it still won’t be large enough to replenish stocks beyond a few weeks supply. This could mean rising prices for months to come both at home and abroad.

So weather is increasingly a problem, but what is to be done about it?

We know  from a 2010 study  an overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe man through his use of the automobile and his coal burning plants is behind global warming.

We also know the forces that disagree with these learned men and women are also emphatically opposed to entertaining any such ideas about climate change and global warming. Virtually all of the Republican candidates dismiss climate science as a hoax or at least unproven science.

So debate is stuck om the mud in the United States. Is this a dangerous? Recent events show climate is changing  before our eyes but the action needed to act, mitigate or deal with the issue are not being taken because the intransigence between the two sides is scuttling any kind of meaningful debate.

Perhaps what the deniers really hate is the fact that while the proof may be coming from scientists,  the solutions to deal with it are coming from the left. That is the left believes carbon emissions are bad and we should shut down coal plants, dump our cars for bicycles and generally stop consuming.

For many on the right, that flies in the face of the free market and individual liberties. There are also some well financed, vested interests who do not want to see a move away from the traditional hydrocarbon economy.

So there is long, uncomfortable stalemate in the climate debate. There is a lot of yelling but nothing is being advanced. Will it prove to be America’s bigger “Oops” moment?

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