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Where Do Republicans Stand On The Climate Agreement?

by Trick Nixon (Principles: None) - 3 year ago

To reach consensus on why Republican Presidential candidates had virtually no immediate reaction to the historic climate deal.

World leaders from all corners of the globe are hailing the Paris Climate Agreement as an important and unprecedented step forward in assuring the future of humanity. Even tiny Israel which faces existential threats on a daily basis, has signed on. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who could still become the Republican candidate for U.S. President if only he could find his Hawaii birth certificate, has hailed it as an “Important” deal and has pledged that Israel will “do it’s part.”

There is, of course, one group that has shown a decided lack of enthusiasm – the current crop of Republican Presidential candidates. However, unlike the Iran nuclear deal where Republican condemnation was passionate and immediate, the Republican response has been muted. I’d like to offer a few possible reasons and then open the discussion to see what you think.

REASON ONE: The weather on the day after the agreement was too warm. With mid-December temperatures from Chicago to New York hovering in the mid-60’s (20+ degrees above normal) it was not a good time to deny that global warming was taking place. 

REASON TWO: Silence implies consent. In the zero-sum game that is American politics, praising something that Obama has done can only hurt a Republican candidate. Secretly, the candidates were pleased that the world is finally taking steps to assure the future of their grandchildren.

REASON THREE: The climate agreement was simply not important enough to warrant a comment. No commitments have been made and, in any event, the agreement doesn’t begin to take effect for several years. In any event, climate change is not at the top of the priority list right now. If we don’t fix our huge immediate problems, the melting of the icecaps will be the least of our worries. 

Your turn.

Comments and Responses (2)

Reasoning used for ARGUMENTS presented
By  Dan T - 3 year ago
4) It doesn't play to their talking points of (a) don't implement job-killing policies to fight an unproven threat; and (b) acting alone won't do any good anyway. Instead it showed that the rest of the world is acting with us and didn't commit us to any specific new policies. I'll give assists to reasons (1) and (3).
Discussion Leader's Response : This comment is relevant to the discussion. (Commenter's rating is increased.)
Discussion Leader's Explanation : Since I first submitted this Intro, Republicans have begun addressing the summit. We had George Will, a well known climate change denier, penning a pious paean to the role of coal in fueling the industrial revolution - while deriding the treaty for its lack of specificity. Meanwhile, Republicans like Mitch McConnell, have begun to wield the "Job Killer" bludgeon. Thus, it appears that their strategy is to first obscure the details and purpose of the agreement, then to fit it into their talking points exactly as you describe.
Reasoning used for ARGUMENTS presented
By  U.N. Owen - 3 year ago
(3) is almost right. It's not that the agreement is a long term threat and can therefore be ignored for now, but rather that the effects of climate change are too far in the future and too vague to be even considered a threat in the face of mass shootings, terror attacks, and unemployment. It's easier for a Republican to discard the threat of climate change entirely than it is to say that it is a problem but not worth worrying about now.
Discussion Leader's Response : This comment is relevant to the discussion. (Commenter's rating is increased.)
Discussion Leader's Explanation : It's interesting though that Republicans claim to care a great deal about the national debt, which is also something that is not directly causing problems today but could (will) become a problem in the future. I suspect though that there is another reason. Even Republicans are realizing that the scientists are right. The predictions of melting ice caps and rising sea levels are coming true and Republicans are starting to get nervous that if the stick with their CCD position too much longer, it really will become a political liability.