National Environmental Scorecard: Ron Johnson Scores Zero

SETH HOFFMEISTER & MAGGIE McCONNAHA ’18

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) just released the 2015 National Environmental Scorecard, which evaluates the most anti-environmental Congress in our history. This is in direct contrast to President Obama, who led the way on combating climate change and conserving our environment.

Too many members of Congress were complicit in extreme attacks on both bedrock environmental laws and more recent progress to protect our air, water, public lands and wildlife. Despite last year being the hottest year on record, Senator Ron Johnson put polluter allies ahead of protecting our environment and combating climate change. Fortunately, environmental allies like Senator Tammy Baldwin stood up to these radical attacks and put Wisconsin values first.

In Wisconsin, three House members and Senator Baldwin earned a score of over 80 percent while five House members and Senator Johnson earned an abysmal score of less than 10 percent. Senator Johnson received a score of zero percent. We need all of our delegation to advocate for our environment and Wisconsinites.

Our state is lucky to have a few leaders in Washington fighting to protect our air, land, and, water. Our junior Senator, Tammy Baldwin, received a perfect 100 percent on this year’s environmental scorecard. In her own words, she insists, “Global climate change is real. It is a fact. The question is not whether climate change is occurring, but how our nation is going to take it on.” This echoes the feelings of other famous Wisconsin conservationists: Aldo Leopold, John Muir, and Senator Gaylord Nelson.

Unfortunately, her counterpart across the aisle in the Senate, Ron Johnson, could not be more different. Senator Johnson has a lifetime four percent score on the National Environmental Scorecard—a score that fell even further this year. Ron Johnson did not vote even once for his conservationist constituents. He does not even acknowledge climate change that NASA, the United States Army, and 97% of climate scientists agree is a real threat to the earth, public health and the economy. Instead, Senator Johnson looks to his corporate polluting friends, who convince him to sponsor the motions that aimed to block the Clean Power Plan.

When Senator Johnson failed his test on climate change, he let down Wisconsinites, Americans and the entire world. Our message today for Ron Johnson is this: the time is now for climate reform—if we don’t act soon, we will let our planet down. That’s why we can’t afford to have decision makers like Johnson standing in the way of progress on this issue.

Think of the benefits to improving his score. By voting in favor of conservationist principles, one stands in solidarity with a majority of the country who believe it is important to preserve the environment, invest in clean energy, and to slow climate change. The agricultural economy we are so proud of in Wisconsin could expect fewer extreme weather changes and look forward to the more predictable seasons we used to know. Children could spend their summers outside without fear of damaging their lungs or having an asthma attack. The Wisconsin and national workforce could be boosted by the tens of thousands of new clean energy jobs.

This should not be a partisan issue; this is a common sense issue. It is time for senators like Ron Johnson to recognize the wants and beliefs of their constituents and represent them accurately in their votes. Wisconsin wants and needs a senator who believes that taking an active and supportive stance on climate change is essential. Our tests have shown time and again that Ron Johnson is not that senator.

Aldo Leopold said, “We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Wisconsin wants to use the land with love and respect. So many of us hunt, fish, hike and explore like the naturalists who have come before us.  We need a senator who represents those desires; but Ron Johnson is not one. Through his votes against climate change progress and his outright denial of its human implications, he abuses the land. If he continues down this path, not only will he lose his place in the Senate, but he’ll cost our children their future.

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One thought on “National Environmental Scorecard: Ron Johnson Scores Zero

  1. I’m an atmospheric physicist. I’ve published more than 200 scientific papers. For 30 years I taught at MIT, during which time the climate has hanged remarkably little. But the cry of global warming has grown ever more shrill. In fact, it seems the less the climate changes the louder the voices of the climate alarmists get.

    So let’s clear the air and get a more accurate picture on where we really stand on the issue of global warming, or as it is now called, “climate change”.

    There are basically 3 groups of people dealing with this issue: Groups 1 and 2 are scientists. Group 3 consists mostly at its core of politicians, environmentalists and media. Group 1 is associated with the scientific part of the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. Working group 1. These are scientists who mostly believe that recent climate change is due primarily to man’s burning of fossil fuels: oil, coal and natural gas. This releases CO2 (carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere and they believe this might eventually dangerously heat the planet.

    Group 2 is made up of scientists who don’t see this as an especially serious problem. This is the group I belong to. We’re usually referred to as sceptics. We note that there are many reasons why the climate changes: sun, clouds, oceans, the orbital variations of the earth, as well as a myriad of other inputs. None of these is fully understood and there is no evidence that CO2 emissions is a dominant factor.

    But actually there is much agreement between both groups of scientists. The following are such points of agreement.

    1. The climate is always changing.
    2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas without which life on earth is not possible, but adding it to the atmosphere should produce some warming.
    3. Atmspheric levels of CO2 has been increasing since the end of the Little Ice Age, in the 19th century.
    4. Over this period, the past 2 centuries, the global mean temperature has increased slightly and erratically by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or 1 degree Celsius. But only since the 1960s have man’s greenhouse emissions been sufficient to play a role.
    5. Given the complexity of climate, no confident prediction about future global mean temperature or its impact can be made. The IPCC acknowledged in its own 2007 report that: ”The long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” Most importantly, the scenario that the burning of fossil fuels leads to catastrophe isn’t part of what either group asserts. So why are so many people worried, indeed panic-stricken about this issue? Here’s where group 3 comes in: the politicians, environmentalists and media. Global warming alarmism provides them more than any other issue what they most want: for politicians it’s money and power; for environmentalists, it’s money for their organizations, and confirmation of their near-religious devotion to the idea that man is a destructive force acting upon Nature. And for the media, it’s ideology, money and headlines. Doomsday scenarios sell. Meanwhile, over the last decade, scientists outside of climate physics have jumped on the bandwagon, publishing papers blaming global warming for everything from acne to the Syrian civil war.

    And crony capitalists have eagerly grabbed for the subsidies that governments have so lavishly provided.

    Unfortunately, group 3 is winning the argument. Because they have drowned out the serious debate that should be going on.

    But as politicians, environmentalists and media types can waste a lot of money and scare a lot of people, they won’t be able to bury the truth. Climate will have the final word on that.

    Richard Lindzen, Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    [re-printed with permission]

    Aristotle Bean

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