A few Republican members of Congress are present at the UN climate talks, Glasgow. They want to portray the party engaged in the climate crisis. However, this message is already severely undermined by US colleagues who have downplayed the impact of global warming and dismissed it during the summit.
Five Republican lawmakers joined the Cop26 delegation on the weekend. They will leave on Tuesday. Garret Grasses, a Louisiana Republican. said that the politicians were “not going there just to drink” and will hold a number of meetings to stress a different approach to climate change than Joe Biden.
“Republicans care deeply about the environment and preserving it for future generations,” insisted John Curtis, a Republican congressman in Utah and another member the group. “We have ideas, and we want to be at the table to find solutions.”
However, the tone has been markedly different than the majority of US Republicans who have either ignored or dismissed the important landmark talks. Scientists say they must cut rapidly planet-heating emission to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Steve Scalise, the Republican whip at the House of Representatives, highlighted the disregard for climate science that permeates this party unlike any other major political party in the world. said last week that “it gets warmer, it gets colder – that’s called Mother Nature”.
Scalise added that “carbon emissions have been around from when before man walked the Earth … the idea that hurricanes or wildfires were caused in just the last few years is just fallacy.”
The world’s leading climate scientists have said that the evidence that humans are altering the climate is “unequivocal” and that “irreversible” impacts are being locked in by continued burning of fossil fuels that is causing the world to heat up.
The world’s temperature is now higher than at any point in human civilization, with scientists warning that disastrous heatwaves, floods and wildfires are pushing many parts of the world towards the edge of human livability.
Other Republicans attacked Biden’s attendance at the talks. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming questioned the emissions of flying a “bloated US delegation” to Scotland while Senator John Kennedy, of Louisiana, said that Biden, his climate envoy John Kerry and “other Trotsky-like wokers” want to “buy natural gas and oil from other countries, and basically give countries that hate us more money, so they’ll have weapons to try to kill us”.
Climate experts have made fun of the comments.
“I couldn’t believe that comment from Scalise, it was extraordinary, just unbelievable,” said Robert Brulle, a professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University. “It’s the most retro thing I’ve seen in a long time. It’s comical in a way – do they expect people to take them seriously when they say things like this?”
Republican disdain for climate science was embodied by Donald Trump, who famously called it a “hoax” and “bullshit”, but the party has sought to reset its image somewhat since the former president’s electoral defeat last year. Polling showsIn particular, younger Republicans are concerned about climate change and want the party’s policies to reflect this concern.
“This sort of rhetoric is the old talking points and we clearly need new talking points spread more widely,” said Bob Inglis, a former Republican congressman who founded republicEn, a group that advocates for climate policy.
Inglis stated that he hopes the Republicans who go to Glasgow will see the benefits of a global carbon dioxide price, which is favored by some moderate Republicans, such as Utah senator Mitt Mitt Romney, who sees it as a market-based solution to the climate crisis.
“I hope they get a sense of how vital it is for America to lead, that they have a sense of acceptance and are welcomed into the conversation,” Inglis said. “I hope they get that vibe rather than told they are the dumb kids in class. That probably won’t be helpful.”
Despite the Republican party’s calls for change, it has not yet presented any type of substantive plan to address the climate crisis. Nor has it explained how its focus on innovation will help scientists reduce their emissions. urgently needed to avoid disastrous global heating.
With this lacking, critics say the party’s gradual change in rhetoric is little more than a superficial rebrand to avoid alienating the growing number of American votersAfter years of flooding and worsening fires over the past several years, they are now alarmed by the climate emergency.
Republicans remain strongly aligned to fossil fuel industries, with a recent Congressional questioningof the oil-and-gas companies knowingly causedSome GOP members were concerned about dangerous global warming and apologized to executives for the hearing. They also decided not to ask them about climate change.
“That was really a demonstration to me of how the Republican party aren’t engaging in a good faith debate on climate change, they have no solutions and just preach the ideology of fossil fuel companies,” said Brulle. “I just can’t take them seriously on climate. It is somewhat depressing to see the lockstep the Republicans are marching to on this.”