This is a guest post by Jamie L. Vernon, Ph.D., a research scientist and aspiring policy wonk, who recently moved to D.C. to get a taste of the action
In 2007, a famous person uttered the following words at an energy conference in Houston, Texas,
“We know our climate is changing, the average temperature of the earth is rising, and greenhouse gas emissions are increasing.”
Who was that person? None other than the CEO of ExxonMobile, Rex Tillerson. He went on to say,
“Our industry has a responsibility to contribute to policy discussions on these important issues – and to take concrete actions ourselves to reduce emissions.”
Without getting into the issue of why ExxonMobil has failed to seriously commit to this responsibility, I’m more concerned at the moment with Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum’s statement that “There is no such thing as global warming.” In an apparent attempt to garner favor from Right Wing Looney Glenn Beck, Santorum trumps even ExxonMobil’s position on climate change with this statement.
What is the strategy behind such a fringe statement? Are there seriously enough voters out there who deny that climate change (ignoring the cause) is occurring at all?
Accusations from my side of the political spectrum usually claim that candidates who oppose the concept of human-caused climate change are trying to win campaign contributions from the oil industry. Santorum has gone above and beyond the call of duty on this one.
I think Santorum has officially disconnected himself from reality. It is unlikely that the oil industry will find this to be a tenable position for a candidate to defend on the campaign trail. Therefore, I think and I hope he has assured himself a position on the sidelines of the 2012 elections, as if that wasn’t already the case.