In what has to be one of the most amazing reversals in recent memory, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) – you know, the guy who tossed the snowball on the Senate floor to prove climate change is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated – is now a true believer. In fact, so much so that the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee wrote an Earth Day Op Ed and quoted outspoken climate scientist James Hansen. By the way, prior to this, Inhofe referred to Hansen as “a NASA scientist and alarmist.”
James Hansen, the former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in 2013 the ‘continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.’
Oh, how the worm has turned. Hmmm. Why is that? Could it be that a lobbyist for the nuclear industry has promised the senator something? I mean, I don’t know, and I’m not saying that’s the case, but you’ve got to admit, such a complete 180 in his thinking has got to be for a reason.
Of course, he lost no time bashing the Obama administration’s energy policy, writing:
Despite the fact that nuclear power is carbon-free, the Obama administration’s energy policy is biased against it. This bias is created by how Environmental Protection Agency (sic) credits nuclear power in its models of both current emissions and plan implementation. EPA’s modeling is divorced from reality.
Here’s the reality. While wind and solar have continued to lower costs, the price tag on nuclear has risen drastically. A study in 2009 showed generation costs for new nuclear power plants from 25 – 30 cents per kilowatt hour. That was triple the U.S. electricity rate at that time. It’s 6 years later and those costs just keep going up.
Inhofe’s reversal is the most glaring, but a look at Republicans in the past few months is showing that they are backing up on climate change as well. Just this past January, the Republican controlled Senate voted 98-1 to approve a resolution stating “it is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax.” A second resolution claiming that climate change is real and caused by human activity was voted down – because, hey! that water’s cold and they have to ease into it. At the time, Inhofe made the statement, “Man cannot change climate. The hoax is that there are some people that are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful that they can change climate.” Well, well, well! I guess he’s now among those arrogant people. Otherwise, why be bothered with what was once the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on humanity?
Here’s another reality. It’s election season. Republicans are not doing well with the younger set, who are tech savvy and actually respect science. Not only that, even some of the oldsters in the party are concerned. A recent poll shows that 52% of Republicans think climate change is real, although only 39% think it will pose a serious threat in their lifetimes. (I have a feeling those are the oldsters who are getting ready to depart for the Great Beyond).
In the end, Republicans want to win. Even though during this primary season they are pandering to their base, they realize that Tea Party fanatics and the older crowd are not going to be enough for them to gain the White House. So they are slowly but surely doing an about face on issues that matter to people with functioning brains.
It should be great fun watching them twist themselves into pretzels while reversing direction and trying to sound like they care.
I will say this. I don’t care how they arrive at the truth, just so long as they get there. Because our environment is in serious trouble and we’ve got to do something about it. So if Republicans have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century in order to reverse the damage we’re doing to the planet, I’m all for it.
I’m still against expensive and very dangerous nuclear power, especially when we can get all the sun and wind we need without endangering our air and water.