Not one Republican running for the US Senate in the November elections favors action to curb greenhouse emissions causing global warming. So says a recent report by the Wonk Room.

The only Republican who supported climate change legislation was Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), but he was defeated by Christine O’Donnell, a denier of global warming and evolution, in the recent primary.

There are six key Senate races in which a denier of man made global warming could replace a supporter of climate change legislation: Nevada, Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The report is ominous, because if the Republicans win a majority in either House, climate change legislation is dead for the foreseeable future. With the world experiencing the hottest year on record and a growing number of scientists now saying we have passed key tipping points permanently altering the climate, action to curtail greenhouse gas emissions is an urgent necessity.

As the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) notes on its website, “The failure of the US Senate to act on comprehensive climate change and clean energy legislation underscores the importance of the make up of the US Senate following the November elections.”

The same is true of the House of Representatives. All told, 229 House candidates have signed the “No Climate Tax Pledge” circulated by the ultra right Americans for Prosperity (AFP).

Republican candidates are under tremendous pressure from the extreme right, the oil and coal industries to oppose any legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Outfits like AFP, funded by the Koch brothers and FreedomWorks, run by Dick Armey, are whipping the candidates in line.

The Wonk Room reports that even Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) who had previously supported climate change legislation now oppose it under pressure from the right. Kirk’s opponent, Illinois state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias received the endorsement of the Sierra Club and the LCV.

The Republican candidates are parroting the latest line peddled by the oil and coal industries – while admitting there is global warming, it’s not clear where it’s coming from. And beside, any intervention would grow government, raise corporate taxes and kill jobs.

Marco Rubio, Republican candidate in a fierce three race for Senate in Florida with Democrat Kendrick Meek and Independent Charlie Crist, called Crist “a believer in man-made global warming.”

“I don’t think there’s the scientific evidence to justify it,” Rubio said.

In Kentucky, Republican Rand Paul’s campaign coffers overflow with contributions from the coal industry. Paul recently said,

“Now Osama bin Laden had a quote yesterday. He’s says he’s after the climate change as well. It’s a bigger issue, we need to watch ‘em. Not only because it may or may not be true, but they’re making up their facts to fit their conclusions. They’ve already caught ‘em doing this.
Paul has also said about mountain top, “I think a lot of the land apparently is quite desirable once it’s been flattened out…. I don’t think anyone’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there”

In Nevada, a close race pits Senate Majority leader Harry Reid against Sharron Angle, an ultra conservative and Tea Party candidate. Angle calls man-made global warming a “hoax” and says she does not “buy into the whole … man-caused global warming, man-caused climate change mantra of the left.”

Angle calls for fully deregulating the oil and mining industries.

Republican Roy Blunt is locked in a tight battle with Robin Carnahan in Missouri. Blunt says, “There isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth.”

And in Wisconsin, one of the strongest advocates of climate change legislation, Democrat Sen. Russ Feingold is in a dead heat with multi-millionaire businessman and Tea Partier Ron Johnson.

“I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I think it’s far more likely it’s just sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time where we have changes in the climate” insisted Johnson.

Even a few more climate change deniers in the US Congress will make the battle for saving planet Earth that much harder. The outcome of the November elections will make a big difference in the fight going forward.



John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World. He served as national chair of the Communist Party USA from 2014 to 2019. He is a regular writer for People's World, and active in electoral, labor, environmental, and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Albuquerque and attended Antioch College. He currently lives in Chicago where he is an avid swimmer, cyclist, runner, and dabbler in guitar and occasional singer in a community chorus.