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December 9, 2009

The GOP and “Questionable” Science

Listed in: Other Domestic Policy, GOP Hypocrisies, NJDC News, Opinions

Originally published in Talking Points Memo

By David A. Harris, President of the National Jewish Democratic Council

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) continues to isolate itself from the overwhelming opinion of American Jewry and 22 major Jewish communal organizations with its recent promotion of climate change conspiracy but two blog posts citing the debunked right-wing mythology surrounding a number of leaked emails - also known as “Climategate.” They claim that the emails prove that fighting climate change is, in RJC’s own words, “just plain old politics.” RJC published not

In a post on RJC’s blog, Matthew Brooks, RJC’s Executive Director, wrote that “the last thing we need is additional regulations that are the result of flawed science.” Later, Brooks reemphasized his opinion by labeling the science behind global warming as “questionable.”

Really? “Questionable” science?

How does RJC explain reports from other leading institutions from across the world that are conducting climate research independently of these so-called conspirators? Does Brooks actually believe that the U.S. is attending a major international conference in Copenhagen only to play into a charade allegedly orchestrated by a few European researchers? Are we to believe that the conspirators have fully taken over the Environmental Protection Agency?

The fact is that RJC’s statements on the environment are nothing more than an effort to pander to the GOP’s clearly authoritative and world-renowned climate research experts—Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Considering the certainty of the statements from these Republican leaders they, presumably, have spent their entire careers researching climate change (along with their Tea Partying base). Well, at least they act as if that’s the case.

Here’s the overwhelming truth, according to 25 leading American scientists:

The content of the stolen e-mails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming. The scientific process depends on open access to methodology, data, and a rigorous peer-review process. The robust exchange of ideas in the peer-reviewed literature regarding climate science is evidence of the high degree of integrity in this process. ... [T]he body of evidence that underlies our understanding of human-caused global warming remains robust.

In fact, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, addressed these critics head-on when he spoke to the Copenhagen delegates:

Dr. Pachauri ticked off a list of trends that robustly reflect the warming of the global climate. “Internal consistency from multiple lines of evidence strongly supports the work of the scientific community, including the individuals singled out in these e-mail messages,” he said.

I understand that “consistency from multiple lines of evidence” supporting widespread and international consensus in the scientific community may not be enough for the Limbaughs, Palins and Becks of the Republican Party, but I expected more from our Jewish GOP counterparts.

I guess I was wrong.

Congratulations, Mr. Brooks; it seems that you have fully paid your membership dues to the anti-science, flat-earth society. Good luck trying to find a minyan!