I would add that the governor has it exactly backwards. There is evidence that climate skeptics are working off a political agenda. See [University of Alabama-Huntsville scientist and climate change skeptic] Roy Spencer’s statement, "I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government." There’s no way that you can reach that conclusion by looking at data, and it is typical of the political views of skeptics. It’s a pre-determined political goal.
That is the most disconcerting part to me – scientists should always be critical about their work and that of their peers, but not for political reasons. To jump from climate data to minimizing the role of government seems to me something that is completely driven by political ideology and it has no place in science.
Another interesting article I came across recently was this describing how white conservative males tend to doubt climate change more than the general population. Again, it’s pointing to how climate science gets politicized from the right in the US, from those in organizations with outspoken views and resources to publicize them. It doesn’t surprise me that the trend towards climate skepticism is increasing in this group from the way the issue is so vehemently denied and associated with extreme anti-Americanism or anti-business in conservative networks. Interestingly, social conservatism isn’t always linked with disbelief in climate change – the UK and Germany were cited as examples – which makes me wonder why the US alone is so set against climate change.
My thoughts from all this is that American politicians are holding too much to their ideologies and not paying attention to facts. When people are unwilling to be flexible with their views, they cannot do what is best for the whole community. It doesn’t matter if the first ones to be hit aren’t going to well-off Americans; there are already people suffering from rising sea levels, prolonged drought, and poor agricultural yields. We as human beings have a responsibility to take care of each other and this planet. This isn’t about who’s right or who’s wrong or what political party is in charge – this is about everyone’s well-being in the present, as in NOW. We are in a point in time when action needs to be taken by community leaders on environmental issues like climate change and unless the political right gets their heads out of the sand, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.
There are things the everyday person can do, however, and the first and foremost is to get informed on the issue. For credible sources of information on climate science, here are some resources provided by the Australian Primary Industries Adaptation Research Network (PIARN):