Liberal media outlets are already warning Democrats not to trust Republican presidential contender Rand Paul on global warming, saying he’s just another “denier” when it comes to claims that human activities are warming the Earth.
Ben Adler at progressive blog Grist notes that “a couple of recent media reports assert, on the thinnest reeds of evidence, that Paul has accepted climate science or endorsed regulating carbon pollution.” Adler then exclaims, “He hasn’t. Sorry, reporters: There is no counterintuitive story about Paul and climate change.”
“Paul, who is announcing a presidential run on Tuesday, is an anti-government extremist and a climate change denier,” he writes.
News outlets have been perplexed by Paul’s stance on global warming: Paul has said he believes mankind contributes to global warming, but opposes top-down regulations to cut carbon dioxide emissions and cripple the coal industry– a major employer for his constituents in Kentucky.
But in the wake of Paul’s announcement that he will be running for president in 2016, liberal writers are warning those who care about global warming not to fall for news reports of the libertarian Republican’s past remarks on warming.
“So, it’s safe to say that none of these guys would take action to fight climate change as president — except maybe, just maybe, Rand Paul. Right? liberal blog ThinkProgress’s Emily Atkin wrote. “Wrong. Unfortunately, there is little reason to believe Paul would ever do such a thing.”
“Paul hasn’t declared outright war on the environment and climate, the way presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has,” according to progressive website Salon’s Lindsay Abrams. “His strategy, instead, can perhaps best be described as one of paying no heed to good science while pushing his small government, anti-regulation ideology.”
“In the end, the outcome’s the same: a Paul presidency would be a disaster for the planet,” Abrams warned.
So what has Paul said about global warming? A National Journal article from February reported that Paul has “started to build a record suggesting that he supports action to cut air pollution and believes that man-made greenhouse-gas emissions are contributing to climate change” to set him apart from other Republicans in 2016.
But the article seems to have confused Paul’s remarks on pollution with support for regulations on global warming. Paul doesn’t support federal government rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions, but does support rules to limit actual pollution. CO2 is not a pollutant.
Paul did vote in favor of an amendment saying that global warming is real and humans contribute to it, while most Republicans voted against it. But that doesn’t mean Paul supports drastic regulations to change energy use.
Paul has pretty consistently been skeptical that human activity is causing catastrophic global warming. In a 2014 interview, Paul said that politics had “dumbed down” the debate over warming, saying it’s “been much warmer than it is today.”
“We have real data [for] about 100 years,” Paul said. “So somebody tell me what 100 years data is in an Earth that is 4.6 billion years old? My guess is that the conclusions you make from that are not conclusive.”
Paul told HBO’s Bill Maher last year that he’d support some regulations on carbon dioxide emissions, but opposed the rules put forward by the Obama administration’s EPA that would hurt the coal industry. Paul has also introducing legislation to get rid of the federal government’s ethanol mandate for gasoline.
Basically, Paul says he is opposed to government overreach when it comes to environmental policy. He doesn’t want to see heavy-handed government solutions to global warming or any other environmental issue, for that matter.
“I’m for trying to get the government out of the way of converting your trucks from diesel to natural gas, or from gasoline to ethanol,” Paul told Maher. “And try to let the marketplace take care of this, because some of these fuels are actually cheaper, too, and if they’re cheaper then people will go for a cheaper alternative that also is cleaner for the environment.”
Liberals also gripe against Paul’s support for oil and gas drilling, the Keystone XL pipeline and coal power. Adler laments that Paul has been able to minimize his differences with Democrats when it comes to global warming.
“Paul has not broken with his party on climate change,” Adler wrote. Atkin also chastises Paul’s attempts to position himself as different than other Republicans on global warming, as his father former Rep. Ron Paul did on other issues.
“Now, Rand Paul’s politics are markedly different from his father’s in a number of ways, but their stances on climate change are strikingly alike,” Atkin wrote. “The only difference, though, is that Paul seems to be trying to make us believe they’re not.”
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