On Global Warming, Texas Governor Perry and Glass Housesby Bill Chameides | August 18th, 2011
posted by Wendy Graber (Researcher)
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.filed under: climate change, faculty, global warming
and: climate science, climate scientist, Rick Perry