2018-12-05

Cory Gardner, climate denier?

The story so far: AGU reception to honor Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI), to award them the Presidential Citation for their bipartisan work advancing the Earth and space sciences and this makes some people sad, because Gardner denies that humans contribute to climate change! Shocking. Well, he's a Repub senator so practically bound to be a witch, but shouldn't we at least pretend to have some evidence before lynching him? RR offered "I think the climate is changing, but I don’t believe humans are causing that change to the extent that’s been in the news" which I quibbled with "you and I and all scientists know full well that there's a great deal of drivel about climate in the news" which no-one had an answer too, so let's try something else.

Wiki offers Gardner has stated that he believes climate change is occurring, but he is unsure whether humans are causing it which appears to be a true enough representation of his publically expressed views1. Is it actually denialism? Scientifically its not justifiable. The words are from 2014; if he's said stuff since then, no-one has brought it up. The doubt expressed is scientifically unreasonable and from a scientist with any climate training would amount to denialism; from a pol, since it abstains from the positive, I'm doubtful.

Twatter comes back with a Vice article, Meet Colorado's climate change deniers. But that only provides RR's quote, so meh, that's not good enough. But Wired has HERE ARE ALL THE SENATORS WHO DO AND DON'T BELIEVE IN HUMAN-CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE (by goodness they're as shouty as RS at Wired); and this includes him in a list of "Voted against the amendment (nay—human activities don’t contribute to climate change)". However... I'm suspicious of course, because they don't provide the text of the amendment, or any link to it, only their own paraphrase,which experiences tells me not to trust2. Indeed there were, on closer inspection, two amendments, neither of which are linked. And I found them hard to find; perhaps I'm just not used to navigating such stuff. Happily Twatter (though not without snark; but where would arguing on the internet be without snark) produced a link to the amendment. Which (whew!) appears to be:

       (a) Findings.--The environmental analysis contained in the
     Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement referred to
     in section 2(a) and deemed to satisfy the requirements of the
     National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et
     seq.) as described in section 2(a), states that--
       (1) ``[W]arming of the climate system is unequivocal and
     each of the last [3] decades has been successively warmer at
     the Earth's surface than any preceding decade since 1850.'';
       (2) ``The [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], in
     addition to other institutions, such as the National Research
     Council and the United States (U.S.) Global Change Research
     Program (USGCRP), have concluded that it is extremely likely
     that global increases in atmospheric [greenhouse gas]
     concentrations and global temperatures are caused by human
     activities.''; and
       (3) ``A warmer planet causes large-scale changes that
     reverberate throughout the climate system of the Earth,
     including higher sea levels, changes in precipitation, and
     altered weather patterns (e.g. an increase in more extreme
     weather events).''.
       (b) Sense of Congress.--Consistent with the findings under
     subsection (a), it is the sense of Congress that--
       (1) climate change is real; and
       (2) human activity significantly contributes to climate
     change.

Warning: there are at least two versions of this amendment, and possibly another one kicking around, that I found impossible to disentangle; so hopefully I've shown you the right one.

Anyway, our man CG was on the Nay side of the vote for this (I did look for, but failed to find, any debate around the amendment; so I don't know if he spoke). So, yeah, you can burn him if you want to. But... this is all in the context of the Keystone pipeline, and politics. It was a political - largely party-line - vote, not his own words. I repeat what I tried to say about ideological purity in the case of Tillerson.

In the meantime, such being the tenor of our times, the AGU expresses ritual humiliation and waits to see if that will appease the pitchfork-waving crowds... ah, that was a couple of days ago, time passes, CG said on receiving the award Solutions for our most serious issues, such as climate change, will require bipartisan action and resolve, and I look forward to continuing to work with the American Geophysical Union to promote research on and tackle issues like climate change, natural hazards, and space; weaselly, but on the right side.

Notes


1. Those able to use the edit history will notice that it also links to an NYT article containing the text "a skeptic of human-caused global warming"; but since the word "skeptic" has no clear meaning, it seemed to add nothing to the article and didn't support it was a ref for; so I removed it.

2. If you've read all the way to the end, we can now consider was I right not to trust Wired's paraphrase? And of course I was. Because a "nay" vote is not a positive vote for anything; in particular it is not an endorsement of "human activities don’t contribute to climate change".

Refs


* Phil Plait on twatter links to an open letter. Notice that it doesn't find any positive statements by him either. They have the vote, per above; and his voting record; but possibly not neutrally scored, e.g. he gets rapped for voting for Gorsuch. But it has some respectable signatories: Santer, Trenberth, Cane, Shindell, Thompson, Emanuel, Mann, Vermeer, Washington, and many more. I don't see Gavin though.
Tackle global warming with hope, not fear - Mann.
* In Defense Of ‘Dark Money’

4 comments:

Russell Seitz said...

Cue "I have here a list of 43 known Neptunists in the State Department!"

David B Benson said...

Is Willis Eschenbach a well known villain?

William Connolley said...

Kinda. On the Wattie scale of things, he's on the sane side; by the standards of the real world, he's a denialist. For example. But what brings him to your mind?

David B Benson said...

He appeared briefly on Euan Mearns' Energy Matters blog.