A Rare Climate Species

By Keith Kloor | January 5, 2011 2:55 pm

They don’t have much sway in the party of Limbaugh, but there is such a thing as gay Republicans, and a species known as Republicans for Environmental Protection. Cognitive dissonance aside, they’ve even been around for a while.

But did you know there was also a rare breed of conservative climate scientists? There’s even a prominent one who…gasp…admires Ronald Reagan:

As a politically conservative climatologist who accepts the broad scientific consensus on global warming, [Kerry] Emanuel occupies a position shared by only a few scientists.

And that may not last much longer, for as the LA Times story notes:

In much the same role that marriage and abortion played in previous election cycles, denial of climate change has now become a litmus test for the right.

This seems to be a dealbreaker for Emanuel, who says in the article:

I am a rare example of a Republican scientist, but I am seriously thinking about changing affiliation owing to the Republicans’ increasingly anti-science stance. The best way to elevate the number of Republican scientists is to get Republican politicians to stop beating up on science and scientists.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, climate science
  • harrywr2

    Richard Lindzen is a Democrat.
    Must be something in the water at MIT.

  • isaacschumann

    “The best way to elevate the number of Republican scientists is to get Republican politicians to stop beating up on science and scientists.”
    Let me make a bold prediction and say that probably won’t happen soon, the science bashing is just getting started.

  • Jack Hughes

    I would love to know what “beating up on science” looks like.
    I can’t speak for these un-named republicans but I’m happy to “beat up on apocalyptic-theology-masquerading-as-science”.
    Interesting that the LA times piece mentions the “skepticalscience” website. This looks like the brain-washing programs favored by religious cults. It’s also a false-flag operation – they call themselves “skeptics” then jump on-board the orthodoxy train.

  • Sashka

    @ harry
    Dr. Lindzen has always been a Democrat, too, but he says the global warming controversy has caused him to change parties. The notion that “extremely weak science” could set into motion policies with long-term implications for the economy made him “queasy” about governmental action, he said. In the academic community, he volunteers, laughing, his turn to the Republicans “must have been like coming out as a gay 25 years ago.
    I believe it was 2 years ago.

  • Sashka


    To my mind, Emmanuel is being disingenuous. There are a lot of things about GOP that are worse than science-bashing. (Who cares after all? The science will survive.) However if Emmanuel supports the wars, the republican tax policies, is against health care reform and is anti-abortion I think he belongs with GOP whatever they say about science. Conversely, if he doesn’t support the core of GOP agenda he should have defected anyway.

    Of course, Dems are friendlier to (climate) science just because it fits their agenda of the day. Should the tables turn somehow in such a way that scientific findings no longer support democratic policies of regulating everything and tax-and-spend then the Dems would be bashing science just the same. You really think they are made of a different protein or something?

  • kim

    Given that Accumulated Cyclone Energy is at a 30 year low, I’ve asked Chris Mooney when he is going to write ‘Calm World’.
    And given the Democrats’ stance on the Cap and Trade, and this administration’s EPA stance, I’ve asked him when he is going to write ‘The Democrats’ War on Science’


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Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


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