Paul Ryan, the brains of the GOP

Much has already been said about Paul Ryan as Mitt’s VIP pick, and I agree that it’s hard to see how this pick will attract any new voters to Romney. I prefer to focus here on the views of the two of them on climate change, because I think it is a very reliable barometer of the ability of a politician to place evidence over ideology. During the aborted cap-and-trade effort from 2009, Paul Ryan wrote this editorial. Let’s analyze it, shall we?

“Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow…”

PR’s thinking: Snow disproves climate change.

Analysis: Epic fail, and even a fourth grader should see the faulty logic here (in fact I just tried it on a nearby fourth grader).

“These e-mails from leading climatologists make clear efforts to use statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.”

PR’s thinking: I’m willing to cherry pick evidence to support my view.

Analysis: Fail. Several independent reviews have shown nothing nefarious involved with so-called “climategate”, and all of the data underlying climate science is in the published literature, available for anyone to see.

“For every ton of emissions we reduce, India and China will produce several tons more.”

PR’s thinking: We should do nothing, because it’s really China and India’s fault.

Analysis: Fail. Only China leads the U.S. in total CO2 emissions. India is about 2-4-fold lower than the U.S. Per capita, our emissions are about 4-fold higher than China, and 15-fold higher than India. In addition, the U.S. is responsible for about 3-fold more of the CO2 in the atmosphere now than any other nation, and almost a third of the total (See Historical Emissions here). Blaming China and India is simply shirking responsibility.

And this, folks, is one of the leading intellectual lights of the GOP.


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