Climate Change Conspiracy? We Wish.

Normally I would decline to comment on Rick Santorum’s politics, but these recent statements have left me feeling like there’s no other choice.

At an event in Colorado, Santorum told the crowd that climate change is, “An absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life.”

Wow. Okay. Remarks like those always remind me of this political cartoon:

“What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?” Well, then, I guess we’ll have to suffer through a better world.

I’m not going to waste space explaining why anthropogenic climate change is real and why it’s insanely frightening. You can visit the EPA’s website or do a quick Google search if you’re interested. (And if you’re into the science, check out the IPCC’s latest report). Instead, I want to point out to Santorum and all of the other politicians denying the existence of this very real and very dangerous threat how foolish denial is, especially in the face of our struggling economy.

1. Energy efficiency

Politicians on both sides of the aisle talk about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and the easiest and cheapest way to achieve that goal is to use less fuel in the first place. Even the Department of Defense is a fan of energy efficiency. Of course, another benefit of using less fuel is less carbon dioxide pollution, and thus less global warming.

2. Green jobs

Speaking of energy efficiency, check out Groundswell (formerly Weatherize DC). They’re an organization working to create a “clean energy economy” by working at the grassroots level to create jobs. So far, the group has created 47 jobs – this in the midst of the nationwide recession. There’s a reason Groundswell has been so successful. Aside from a great business plan, they’re focusing on the expanding clean energy sector, rather than dying, fossil fuel dependent industries.

3. Cleaner air

You know the whole debate over healthcare costs? By reducing the amount we drive our cars and our dependence on coal plants, we can significantly reduce our air pollution and save lives. The whole act of saving lives has a side benefit of reducing respiratory illness from air pollution. Check out these stats on how much money the Clean Air Act has saved us (and, as an added bonus, the employment gain generated).

Of course, the Clean Air Act is implemented by the EPA, which Santorum wants to dismantle. But that’s for another post…


Cartoon credit to the Star Phoenix Base


Caroline Selle is an environmental activist convinced that small changes have big impacts and has been known to engage in minor battles over the thermostat. When she’s not griping about the lack of public transportation in southern Maryland, Caroline is writing about the human faces of environmental issues, lobbying in D.C., or studying the impacts of media rhetoric on public opinion. She is currently working on a book about the activism around the Keystone XL pipeline. Follow her on Twitter.