On Global Warming, Texas Governor Perry and Glass Houses

by Bill Chameides | August 18th, 2011
posted by Wendy Graber (Researcher)

Permalink | 5 comments

Governor Perry rides roughshod over climate science facts.

The cowboy governor takes aim at climate scientists.

The presidential election is more than 15 months away but you wouldn’t know it by the rhetoric. On the republican side of the electoral aisle a common target for attack has been the EPA and environmental regulations in general, and global warming in particular.  And Governor Perry hasn’t wasted any time getting into the act.

Ad Hominem Attacks: Climate Scientists in Good Company?

Only a few days into the race and following predictable criticisms of Obama, Perry accused Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke of “treasonous” actions. Yesterday, on a campaign swing through New Hampshire, Perry’s target was climate scientists.

As part of a general attack on the notion of climate regulations that even included opposition to energy efficiency standards, Perry had some things to say about climate change:

“We’re seeing it almost weekly or almost daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

I realize there is a temptation to reach for hyperbole on the campaign trail, but really?  Scientists are coming forward “almost daily?”  Here’s the skinny on this one, courtesy of some industrious fact checkers at the Washington Post.*

He also had a special little nugget for climate scientists:

“There are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they would have dollars rolling in to their projects.”

Hmmm, manipulating data for $’s.  Kind of an ad hominem attack, (again) easily dealt with. But ok, if we’re going to talk about dollars and integrity, Gov. Perry is an interesting case study.

What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

Let’s surmise, just for the sake of argument, that there are a “substantial number” of politicians that pander for political contributions from wealthy and powerful segments of the nation by taking positions that would enhance the fortunes of these contributors. Let’s also surmise that the wealthy and powerful make substantial political contributions to some candidates in the hopes, perhaps even expectation, that these contributions will pay for themselves with favorable treatment and huge profits.

Could this have any applicability to Governor Perry?

Well, in light of the good governor’s position on climate change, would it surprise you to learn that of his political contributors, the industry that has made the largest contribution has been the oil and gas industry?  And given the huge amounts of money Perry has raised from wealthy individuals, would it surprise you to learn that according to the Los Angeles Times “Nearly half of those mega-donors received hefty business contracts, tax breaks or appointments under Perry?”

Glass houses and all that, Mr. Governor.



*The 2010 study mentioned in the Washington Post article was not a National Academy of Sciences study, but rather appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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  1. Maggie Hittinger
    Sep 3, 2011

    Yup It’s getting really hot for you out there. Us in So Cal have had the best season ever. Now I hear the state of Texas is crying to the nanny state it so despises. Wa Wa Wa help us we need federal aid. Well you know what all of you Texans have pretty big bootstraps then why dont you pull youreselves up from them? I know because the federal government is worthless unless you need help from them. You the tea party and all of the liars that omprise the republican party had better eat youre old sorry ….

  2. Deborah
    Aug 21, 2011

    When Obama ran for office in the state of IL, he also was given campaign contributions by oil and gas corporations. He also received campaign donations from the same corporations when he ran for President in 2008. There are idiots on both sides of the isle and disbelief in manmade climate change isn’t exclusive to the members of one party. If you read some of the articles or listen to video interviews of Mitt Romney (a Republican) you’ll note that he doesn’t dismiss manmade climate change and does in fact, agree with the notion that man does contribute to climate change.

    • Barbara Adams
      Aug 25, 2011

      Mr. Romney is indeed backing off the “notion” that man does contribute to climate change. See article in the Washington Post today, by Stephen Stromberg.

      • Bill Chameides
        Sep 6, 2011

        Some years ago, during the 2008 primary season, I had an opportunity to brief Romney on climate change. He expressed skepticism that climate change was due to human activities.

  3. John Mashey
    Aug 19, 2011

    Glenn Kessler at Washington Post: “Another Perry spokesman, Ray Sullivan, provided links to a number of recent articles that he said demonstrated skepticism in the scientific community. We reviewed the articles, and they are anecdotal in nature, not evidence of the groundswell of opposition suggested by Perry.” The “to” link in Glenn’s article is: That is “Climate Thuggery” by Peter Wood, an anthropologist, who has strong opinions about climate science and scientists. For an analysis of Wood’s credibility, see our post a few days later:

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