Santorum's Climate Change Denial Trumps That of Oil Industry Kingpin

By The Intersection | June 26, 2011 2:21 pm

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.

Follow Jamie Vernon on Twitter or read his occasional posts at his personal blog, “American SciCo.”


Comments (10)

  1. Jon Winsor

    What you have to keep in mind is who votes in GOP primaries, and who volunteers for GOP phone banks. If you want to fire up the base, you’re greatly helped by speaking “truth” to “power” (at least in terms of how your base understands those things, at any rate.)

  2. Tell Great Plains residents that the climate is becoming hot and dry. Greenhouse Effect, Global Warming, Climate Change…

  3. Whateez

    “What is the strategy behind such a fringe statement?”

    You global warming cultists just REEK with hypocrisy. Ever check out the Wikipedia article on “Anthropogenic Global Warming”? Don’t bother. You’ll be redirected to “Global Warming” where AGW has been buried by the enviro-nazis of Wikipedia. You see, an independent exploration of AGW gets a bit too “warm” for that bunch and CANNOT be tolerated.

    Now, perhaps Santorum mis-spoke…perhaps he didn’t (I don’t know the context) but your raving propagandists have done everything within their power to conflate AGW and Global Warming as synonymous. And now you try to sell this PAP that Santorum, when using the very term YOU and YOURS have bastardized and made synonymous with AGW in the common man’s lingo, is somehow guilty of some nefarious “strategy” in failing to distinguish between the two?

    What a pathetic joke.

  4. The Intersection

    @3 Whateez – Mind clarifying your comment? There’s a lot of ambiguity and innuendo in there, but not much that I can make sense of.

  5. Santorum is an underdog candidate. I’m not a politically savvy person by any means, but I do think that it is good strategy sometimes for an underdog to go for an extremist niche that has growth potential, rather than playing to the same audience as the other candidates. If you don’t think climate change denial has growth potential because it is too scientifically fringe, I think you may be missing some of the lessons I’ve picked up from your own books. How many people in the 1970’s would have expected creationism to become the cultural force it has? Or that the opposition to stem cell research would become so formidable?

  6. The Intersection

    @5 Todd – For the record, this article was written by Jamie Vernon.
    And, though it may be true that climate change denial has grown in recent years, the point of this article is to point out that Santorum’s position is beyond the claims of the industry so often accused of fomenting the climate denial movement. Perhaps it’s good politics, but honestly I think, as evidenced by recent statements by Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Chris Christie, the tide has turned on the climate issue. In my opinion, Santorum has made a bad bet.
    – Jamie Vernon

  7. Dave

    Rethuglicans choose to accept only certain arenas of science while dismissing the arenas that go against their ideology. Their ability to compartmentalize stems from their well-trained routine of paying attention to certain biblical verses while simultaneously ignoring the rest.

    When they fly on planes, drive in cars, use their cellphones, or turn on a microwave, they trust in physics and our understanding of light.

    But when it comes to biology (i.e., evolution by natural selection) and climate science, they dismiss them with a deeply ignorant freedom.

    I’d love to know where Santorum thinks all the carbon dioxide is going, though that would assume he “believes” in carbon dioxide at all.

  8. Johnny

    I think we all know that when Santorum says he doesn’t believe in Global Warming, he means he doesn’t believe in CAGW, not that he doesn’t believe in Climate Change.

    Are you a policy wonk, Jamie, or are you a propaganda wonk?

  9. ╦heBigo╦

    Ph.D Vernon wrote that Santorum stated that “There is no such thing as global warming.”

    Listen more carefully and he actually state “There is no such thing as global warming, in my opinion there hundreds of factors……………”. It’s and opinionated statement, not a statement of fact. It could be that he has not made up his mind yet. Overall it was more of a hatchet job by Ph.D Vernon.

  10. Whateez

    “@3 Whateez – Mind clarifying your comment?”

    “Johnny Says” grasps the issue just fine. However, for your “clarification”…

    1. “Global Warming”, “Climate Change” (the nouveau and more politically appetizing euphemism for “Global Warming”) and AGW are NOT synonymous.
    2. The CC Cabal (“Global Warming”/”Climate Change” propagandists, financial exploiters and socialists to name but a few) have used concerted social engineering techniques in a disreputable campaign to MAKE them synonymous in the common man’s vernacular.
    3. When Santorum actually USES that bastardized term (not in a considered response but in a rather off-the-cuff, casual response) in referencing AGW (as is certainly a plausible interpretation of the abbreviated clip), you smear him as some pseudo-conspiratorial advocate asserting that “Global Warming” (the REAL “Global Warming” that is) is a fallacy.

    Is that clarified enough for you?


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