You don’t need a climatologist to know which way the wind blows
Nationally, there would appear to be a growing consensus that something must be done about climate change. For example, Axios recently summarized why we may have reached a “tipping point on climate change”:
A rare convergence of science that reveals the urgency of the problem; extreme events that highlight threats almost nationwide; and shifting public views that are fueling support for stronger policies, scientists and polling experts say.
Similarly, the climate change writer at The Atlantic noted last month:
And several recent polls have also identified a huge, nearly 10-point surge in worry about climate change among all Americans. “We’ve not seen anything like that in the 10 years we’ve been conducting the study,” Anthony Leiserowitz, a researcher at Yale, told me in January.
Tangled-up in green: what about our local congressman, David McKinley?
Go back a few years and you’ll see why our local representative was a mainstay on any list of climate change deniers. He was most famous (if media coverage is any indication) for his award-worthy statements at the hearings on the Obama administration’s climate action plan in 2013. From Green Peace:
Of all the politicians in yesterday’s hearing who are known climate change deniers, West Virginia Rep. David McKinley gets the tin foil hat award for his completely false assertions about climate change science.
Here is a sample from McKinley:
Over the last forty years, there’s been almost no increase in temperature.
Most experts believe by 2083 – in 70 years – the benefits of climate change could outweigh - will still outweigh - the harm.
He also wrongly asserted that the Arctic sea ice had increased by 60% from the previous year. (See here, here, or here for refutation. Looking back, McKinley’s speech certainly got lots of coverage.)
But the times change and so do voter (even Republican) attitudes toward climate change. McKinley has obviously backed away from climate change denial. Here’s the Energy News Network quoting McKinley last month:
We’re going to be the ones who suffer. We’re still going to have . . . across the globe . . . climate change. We’re still going to see oceans rise, temperatures increase, Miami is going to be underwater.
Has McKinley gone green? As EcoWatch explains, not quite (actually, not at all):
Republican West Virginia Representative David McKinley told the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee that "we all agree" on what is happening. "Where we disagree is on solutions," he said, E&E News reported.
Especially the Green New Deal:
"If anyone thinks that decarbonizing America is going to save the planet, whether that's 10 years or 20 years from now, they're delusional," McKinley said.
McKinley has moved a bit on climate change, and it appears to have shown-up in his votes. The League of Conservation Voters keeps tabs on the members of congress and their pro- and anti-environment votes. McKinley’s score for 2018 was 11% which was better than the previous two years which stood at 0%. His lifetime average is 6% so yes, he’s voting more for the environment -- slightly more. It should also be noted that 180 congressmen received scores of 80% or better – all but one was a Democrat. McKinley still has a long way to go.
Going to change my way of thinking: our local Ogden “newspapers”
Back in February, I reviewed some of the posts from my first year of blogging, five years ago. One of the things that struck me was how often I wrote about the climate change denials found in Mike Myer columns and local Ogden editorials. Additionally, the locals regularly supplemented this by covering the speeches given by our local coal baron, Robert Murray, to local service organizations. Finally, major climate studies were routinely ignored as our “newspapers” instead covered the cost and harms of alternative energy sources.
The times have clearly changed. Last year, local Ogden papers actually covered a few of the major climate change reports. And the trend continues – page 2 of this morning’s Intelligencer has this AP story:
Global Warming Shrinking Glaciers Faster Than Thought
Editorially, the change was signaled on February 20. Amid the predictable cheap-shots at those the paper disagrees with, the editorial’s opening sentence suggests that something needs to be done about climate change:
While some ultra-liberal members of Congress are advocating crazy, impossible initiatives such as the “New Green Deal,” some of their peers are going quietly about the business of doing something productive about climate change.
Of course, they are referencing one of their favorites, David McKinley, but it is good to see the acknowledgement that the earth’s climate is changing.
These changes (albeit small and incremental) from our local congressman and local “newspapers” are good; I just wish they were moving faster – more glacier-like.