And You Think Health Care Is Controversial?

In watching the insanity of the debate over health care reform in the past couple of weeks I can’t help but wonder what the debate over climate change legislation will bring.  Lest you think the right wing opponents of health care reform can’t be beat in their intensity and rhetorical outrage, consider the following two pieces of information.  First, revealed today the existence of a memo from the American Petroleum Institute urging member oil companies to recruit their employees to oppose H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey climate bill.  The memo says that oil company employees can “put a human face on the impacts of unsound energy policy.”  And API has apparently acknowledged that its opposition campaign includes funding from the same conservative groups leading the anti-health-care-reform crusade.

Second, we can already antcipate the kind of rhetoric that will be used in opposition.  Climate Change Insights catalogues quotes from Republican congressmen and party leaders about opposition to climate change.  Here are some highlights:

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) says “The earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over.  Man will not destroy this earth, this earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”

Rep. John Boehner (R. OH) says that “the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.”

And, adds Republican National Committee Michael Steele, “We’re cooling.  We’re not warming.”

Put the API memo and opposition funding togehter with these statements and one can only begin to imagine what the placards will look like at town halls focused on Waxman-Markey.

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “And You Think Health Care Is Controversial?”

  1. I wonder if the health care “debate” can teach us anything in formulating a response. I was both a little surprised and disappointed to see Obama try to match the screaming mobs of angry extremists with opposing mobs (albeit slightly less angry and less crazy ones). The alternative–waiting until they stop screaming and calmly talking about reality–seems more attractive and effective to me. A good example of this was Obama letting Hillary and McCain go off the rails on the gas tax holiday while he stuck to his guns. (Of course, I doubt I need to remind you that only Hillary suffered any blowback for that stunt).

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About Ann

Ann Carlson is currently on leave from UCLA School of Law. She is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and was the founding Faculty Director of the Emmett I…

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