Another Republican is going on the record chastising members of his party for ignoring science. Former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) recently penned a criticism of fellow members of the G.O.P. and urged the new congress to, “Have a policy debate to address facts rather than a debate featuring unsubstantiated attacks on science.” Boehlert’s comments come after Representative Bob Inglis, (R-S.C.) went on a bit of a rant, critiquing Republicans for ignoring science and denying the existence of man-caused climate change.
Inglis’ comments came during a meeting of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Inglis will no longer be part of that committee, or the House of Representatives, after he was ousted in favor of a more conservative Republican way back in the primary season. But Boehlert, like Inglis, has nothing to lose and knows a bit about committees in the House.
Between 1983 and 2007 Boehlert served as Representative from New York’s 24th District, he spent much of his time as the Chairman of the Science Committee in the House. Now he is a special advisor on the Project for Climate Science.
Boehlert’s critique was similar to Inglis’ in that they both took direct aim at traditional Republican talking points. While Inglis said denying climate change was anti-free market and to America’s economic disadvantage, Boelert said the party was turning its back on the ways of Ronald Reagan. “What is happening to the party of Ronald Reagan? He embraced scientific understanding of the environment and pollution and was proud of his role in helping to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals. That was smart policy and smart politics,” wrote Boehlert.
The former congressman didn’t stop there. He ended with a sharp twist to those who claim to Reaganites. “Most important, unlike many who profess to be his followers, Reagan didn't deny the existence of global environmental problems but instead found ways to address them,” he wrote.
Little by little, Republicans are starting to break their ranks when it comes to climate denial. It will be interesting to see if any more outlaws speak-up. It will be even more interesting if they are actually members of the newly elected Congress.