If we want to see action on the Hill to reduce carbon pollution we need to change the rules of the game. With a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week, new rules for curbing carbon pollution from power plants about to be announced, and the latest science on climate change emerging in a few weeks, this moment is a test for Congress.
That's why the League of Conservation Voters has been putting climate change deniers on the spot like never before. Last month hundreds of LCV members joined thousands of Organizing for Action members nationwide for a day of action delivering unicorn statues to climate change deniers at over 350 events. We launched a tough public accountability campaign in four states -- taking climate change deniers to task for their extreme views, and making connections to the polluting fossil fuel industries that fund their campaigns.
These efforts elicited some strong reactions. First, it was Senator Ron Johnson, who responded to our $2 million TV ad campaign with inflammatory name-calling, saying that LCV is waging an "environmental jihad" and forging an "unholy alliance" with President Obama. Then Congressman Davis' spokesperson got extremely defensive about his position on climate change before attacking any efforts to limit carbon pollution. And most recently Congressman Mike Coffman doubled down on his anti-science views, while questioning the integrity of climate scientists.
Now, a hearing on the president's popular plan to address climate change in the House this week will include 14 Members of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power who have made comments denying the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. For example, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) claimed that "in fact, recent scientific data shows that the earth is currently in a cooling period, and it's predicted that it will continue to cool over the next 20 years." Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) when making a similar claim at least included a disclaimer when he said, "I'm really more fearful of freezing [than global warming]. And I don't have any science to prove that."
Many of these climate change deniers enjoy significant support from polluting energy industries that stand to benefit from denial. It is clear that these climate change deniers are looking for any excuse to block steps to combat climate change and build a more sustainable energy future.
But people, especially young people, want action, not excuses. As President Obama's popular plan to address climate change begins to move, climate change deniers have a choice: deny the science of climate change and risk being viewed as "ignorant" and "out-of-touch," or they can start to support common sense steps to deal with climate change, a threat that is already too real for many Americans.