The Republicans' shifting response to climate change would be comical if it weren't so irresponsible. First it was abject denial. Then denial was paired with hoax-perpetrating villains: eco-terrorists, money-grubbing scientists, the Chinese. Then came the non sequiturs that climate is always changing, carbon is good for you, and humans have nothing to do with it. Now the Oregon GOP has a new response: Oregon's efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions are "an attack" on working people and a "timeline to deindustrialization."
I'm hopeful that our Legislature will succeed in passing a carbon reduction bill despite Republican intransigence. But even if that happens, Republican hyperbole remains an impediment to confronting climate disruption. First, it tarnishes the credibility of Republican legislators: How are we to know which of their critiques are real and should be taken seriously, and which are solely intended to derail implementation by sowing fear and anger? Second, it drowns out the voices of evidence-based, thoughtful Republicans offering valuable input. And third, it reinforces the false notion that climate change is an us-against-them issue, when in fact we've all helped caused it, and we all will have to act together to mitigate the impacts. None of this is going to be easy. But neither is it optional. Now that they have stopped denying the problem, maybe someday the Oregon GOP will decide to become part of the solution. That's a shift the Oregon GOP can't make soon enough.
Corvallis (Feb. 25)