Here’s a story Juliet and I just put up on the web. Read it and then take cover!
Four years ago in New Hampshire, campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, John McCain said to voters, “I do agree with the majority of scientific opinion, that climate change is taking place and it’s a result of human activity, which generates greenhouse gases.” He made global warming a key element of every New Hampshire stump speech.
This week in New Hampshire, the governor of Texas and newest presidential contender, Rick Perry, said scientists have manipulated data to support their “unproven” theory of human-influenced global warming. He said increasing numbers of scientists have disavowed the theory altogether.
This is not simply a case of two very different politicians saying two very different things. The political discussion about global warming has lurched dramatically in four years — even as the scientific consensus has changed little. McCain’s 2007 description remains the scientific consensus: Human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is pumping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and warming the planet.
But that scientific conclusion has become a political debating point. Joining Perry on the skeptical side, for example, is Rep. Michele Bachmann, who suggested Wednesday that “manufactured science” underpins what a questioner called the “man-made climate change myth.”
The nominal GOP front-runner, Mitt Romney, drew sharp conservative fire when he said in June that he accepts the scientific view that the planet is getting warmer, and that humans are part of the reason. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman on Thursday tweeted: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”
“Climate change has become a wedge issue,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a University of Colorado professor who has written extensively on the climate debate. “It’s today’s flag burning or today’s partial birth abortion issue.”
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