Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is clearly in a pugnacious mood. First, he takes aim at Romney with the wholly unsubstantiated claim that the GOP presidential candidate hasn't paid taxes in a decade. Then he holds firm and refuses to back down from said claim, forcing the ex-Governor of Massachusetts to talk about the multiple years of tax returns he won't release to the public.
And now he's publicly calling out climate change skeptics for pushing views that aren't backed by science. Reid delivered a speech at the National Clean Energy Summit today, and it's easily the best speech on climate to come from such a high-level office holder in at least three years.
Here's perhaps the meatiest snippet:
Scientists say this is genesis – the beginning. The more extreme climate change gets, the more extreme the weather will get. In the words of one respected climate scientist: “This is what global warming looks like.”Good stuff, and well-scripted. And we need more leaders of every stripe hitting the issue as hard as this. Not to mention that plenty of well-respected pollsters have produced evidence that focusing on climate can be a winning issue for politicians, should they choose to tackle it (Stanford and the Washington Post's polling point man John Krosnick is a notable example).
Dozens of new reports from scientists around the globe link extreme weather to climate change. Not every flood or drought can be attributed to human-induced transformation of our planet's weather patterns. But scientists report that these extreme events are dozens of times more likely because of those changes.
The seriousness of this problem is not lost on your average American. A large majority of people finally believe climate change is real, and that it is the cause of extreme weather. Yet despite having overwhelming evidence and public opinion on our side, deniers still exist, fueled and funded by dirty energy profits.
These people aren't just on the other side of this debate. They're on the other side of reality.
It's time for us all – whether we're leaders in Washington, members of the media, scientists, academics, environmentalists or utility industry executives – to stop acting like those who ignore the crisis or deny it exists entirely have a valid point of view. They don't.
Unfortunately, Harry Reid is about as rousing a speaker as Michael Phelps. As such, he's almost certainly not going to be the leader that spurs the nation to action on climate. But he deserves plenty of credit here, and seeing such frank words on climate from the Senate Majority Leader is surely an encouraging development: An early indicator that the Dems are growing a spine on global warming, perhaps? That they're willing to paint those who deny climate change is a problem as holding the marginalized views that they do?
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. But we're on the right track.