Our opinion: Avoiding the facts on climate change
"The Need for Leadership to Combat Climate Change and Protect National Security" was the title of Tuesday's House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, but don't expect leadership from Rep. Tom Massie. The Kentucky Republican, in an apparent attempt to play gotcha with former Massachusetts U.S. Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry, instead delivered an embarrassing performance that symbolizes much of what is wrong in D.C.
Secretary Kerry, an architect of the Paris climate accord, was there to make the case that climate change, by increasing the number and intensity of destructive weather events in poverty-stricken and war-torn lands, is threatening the welfare of American military troops stationed in these areas. However, Rep. Massie, who holds a degree in robotics from MIT and should be informed about the science behind climate change, tried to undermine the secretary's credentials by challenging the value of his Yale studies in political science. Mr. Kerry explained that he had a bachelor of arts degree, triggering the following exchange:
Rep. Massie: "Is it a political science degree?"
Secretary Kerry: "Yes, political science."
Rep. Massie: "So how do you get a bachelor of arts in a science?"
Secretary Kerry: "Well, it's a liberal arts education and degree. It's a bachelor..."
At this point, the congressman interrupted to declare that Mr. Kerry had a "pseudo-science degree" and was pushing "pseudo-science." The former secretary of state replied in a fashion that would be applicable to any number of ridiculous statements emanating from Washington in the last couple of years.
"Are you serious?" asked Mr. Kerry. "I mean, this is really a serious happening here?"
Political science, of course, is not a pseudo-science, nor is the demonstrable science testifying to the reality of climate change and the threat it poses to the nation and the world. Rep. Massie's failed attempt to ridicule Secretary Kerry rather than engage him in a genuine discussion of the climate change issue reminds us of the party of climate change denial's utter irresponsibility.
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