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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Low-Down Dirty Deniers

By Phil Plait

Sometimes I look upon the works of deniers, and despair.

After all, they’re heavily funded, use time-tested psychological techniques honed over the years (just look at the climate-change-denying Heartland Institute’s ties to the tobacco companies), and have somehow gotten through to the media to provide grossly unequal “balance” for them.

But then, sometimes, I see something that makes me smile with hope. Today, that something is the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund.* They’ve started a campaign called “DirtyDeniers,” highlighting one Congress member after another who takes money from the fossil fuel industry and turns that cash into Grade A refined denial.

They’ve been writing these up on their blog, and it’s amusing, in a horrific schadenfreudesque way.  For example, they have an entry about Cory Gardner, a member of the House of Representatives from Colorado (District 4). Although he’s been in Congress only four years, he’s raked in nearly $700,000 in fossil fuel funding … and has claimed that humans aren’t causing the global warming we’re seeing (spoiler: we are). The League of Conservation Voters gives him a rating of 9 percent, which is somewhere just below an actual arctic methane leak. He wants to defund climate change research.

Ad nauseam.

And he’s just one of the denying politicians targeted by the NRDC Action Fund. Others include Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.). There are more to come; the NRDC plans to shine the light on a score of such Congress critters. They could easily do more; denying the reality of global warming is essentially a Republican Party plank these days, and there are some Dems who do so as well, though not nearly as many.

I’m very glad to see this, and I’d love to see much, much more. It’s entirely possible that global warming could be an important issue in November’s midterm elections. I’d love to see a lot of these head-in-the-sand politicians kicked to the curb come election time, so that our country can finally, finally, get serious about tackling what may be the single most important issue of our time.

You can follow the NRDC Action Fund on Facebook and Twitter. Tip o’ the oil-soaked $100 bill to DeSmogBlog.

*Correction, Aug. 11, 2014, at 14:00 UTC: I originally misidentified the NRDC as the National Resources Defense Council, not Natural. Also, it is the Action Fund affiliate of the NRDC that is organizing this campaign, not the NRDC itself.

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