Protecting the environment requires a sweeping reform of political funding, only then corporations will stop throwing big money at senators
Posted byGeorge Monbiot
Thursday 2 August 2012
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” These words, from WB Yeats’s poem The Second Coming, came to mind as I read the testimony from Wednesday’s Senate hearings on climate change.
They’re not a precise description of what took place, as the two most eminent climate scientists who testified before the environment and public works committee, Christopher Field and James McCarthy, were not lacking in conviction. But they were, as scientists should be, careful and meticulous, laying out their evidence calmly and sequentially, saying nothing that was not supported by the data.
By contrast, the Senate committee’s ranking member (its most senior Republican), James Inhofe, spoke with the demagogic passion of a revivalist preacher. “The global warming movement has completely collapsed … the science of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was finally exposed … The time has come to put these tired, failed policies to rest and embrace the US energy boom so that we can put Americans back to work, turn this economy around, become totally energy independent from the Middle East, and ensure energy security for years to come.”
In other words, Inhofe argued, we should take no action on climate change, which he has described as “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”.
Never mind the overwhelming evidence that has accumulated since the last Senate hearings in 2009; never mind the crazy temperatures the US has been experiencing recently, which have alerted many Americans to what climate change is likely to deliver in the decades to come; never mind the prominent sceptic Richard Muller’s assessment of the evidence, which led to his change of heart. (It told us nothing we didn’t know already, but it should at least have caused the deniers to stop and think).