Climate zombies

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

Who will fight the climate-change deniers in our midst? They do exist and, my, their bluster is foul and wide. Taking the Sacramento region as a media market, with The Sacramento Bee and various TV/radio stations spanning out in all four directions, we have three Republican congressmen who made website Think Progress’ list of Climate Zombies: Wally Herger (District 2), Dan Lungren (District 3) and Tom McClintock (District 4).

“Zombie” describes these guys pretty well—you read the quotes and you can just imagine them chasing you, left leg dragging behind, eyes black and vacant, blood mixing with drool out the corner of their mouth, clawing at the air with green fingers saying “Ehh. I eat Al Gore’s eyeballs. Ehh. Comheah.”

Lungren, somehow, is the moderate zombie—maybe the lesson of a lost gubernatorial bid. Herger’s website fires off Lungren gems, like, “In the 1970s we were warned of an impending ice age. … I do not believe that the science regarding climate change is so substantiated as to warrant the [Environmental Protection Agency’s] proposed regulation of greenhouse gases.”

McClintock noted in a floor speech on Senate Bill 908: “Every time we attempt to hold a serious science-based debate on this subject, we’re told, ‘Sorry, the debate is over. All the scientists agree.’ Call this the Emperor’s New Clothes argument. But it’s simply not the case.”

Who’s best to deny the deniers? Enter John Abraham at Minnesota’s University of St. Thomas, who, according to Sierra magazine, has launched the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, a group of scientists who are “willing and ready to answer media questions or go mano a mano with climate deniers on talk radio, TV or anywhere else the subject is debated.

“‘There’s a recognition,” Abraham said, “that a window of opportunity to do something effective is closing. That’s motivating scientists to engage.’”

Excellent! Next time McClintock starts wagging tongue about naked emperors, KCRA can pull one of these folks on air to debate. With real facts! And hey—with not one, but three systems of higher education working here in the region, surely somebody local is part of this national effort.

Sigh. Evidently not. Auntie Ruth reached out to UC Davis, Sacramento State and the Los Rios Community College District, and none could come up with even one name involved in this organized network (although, to their credit, reps from the CSRRT had suggestions).

Yo, local smart people: Stand up. Be counted. Engage. The time is, y’know, nigh.