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Veteran Republican urges his party to respect science

Nov 28, 2010 10:44 am
The stalwart folks at The Watershed Post alerted us to a recent editorial in the Washington Post by longstanding GOP Congressman Sherwood Boehlert of central New York, in which the current adviser to the Project on Climate Science suggests chilling out the anti-intellectualism his party's slipped into over the past decade.

"The new Congress should have a policy debate to address facts rather than a debate featuring unsubstantiated attacks on science," Boehlert writes. "We shouldn't stand by while the reputations of scientists are dragged through the mud in order to win a political argument. And no member of any party should look the other way when the basic operating parameters of scientific inquiry - the need to question, express doubt, replicate research and encourage curiosity - are exploited for the sake of political expediency. My fellow Republicans should understand that wholesale, ideologically based or special-interest-driven rejection of science is bad policy. And that in the long run, it's also bad politics."

Boehlert points to recent weather disasters, national and international, as well as the hyper-partisanship of incoming senators and congressman, as well as the on-the-sleeve politics of those now vying for head of the House's energy committee, which is seeking to trump any considerations of climate change with "drill, baby, drill" policies.

"Why do so many Republican senators and representatives think they are right and the world's top scientific academies and scientists are wrong? I would like to be able to chalk it up to lack of information or misinformation," Boehlert writes. "There is a natural aversion to more government regulation. But that should be included in the debate about how to respond to climate change, not as an excuse to deny the problem's existence. The current practice of disparaging the science and the scientists only clouds our understanding and delays a solution. The record flooding, droughts and extreme weather in this country and others are consistent with patterns that scientists predicted for years. They are an ominous harbinger."

For the full editorial, click HERE.