Texas Governor Rick Perry has not exactly been equivocal in his stance on global warming. In a stump speech just days after announcing his candidacy for president, he proclaimed:
In his ‘Fact Checker’ column, Washington Post writer Glenn Kessler examined Perry’s claims and awarded them ‘four Pinocchios’ – the highest (or is that lowest?) score he awards to politicians who make factually indefensible statements. Kessler wrote that despite repeated requests, Perry’s spokespeople were unable to provide any kind of documentary evidence to support the claim of scientists manipulating data for monetary gain. That, of course, is because there is none, even though the assertion is frequently and casually tossed around within the denialist camp, despite the fact that the alleged Climategate conspiracy has been proven repeatedly to be nothing of the sort.
In last night’s Republican debate, Perry doubled down on his views on global warming, stating:
Leaving aside the question of whether addressing climate change – in the form of, for example, developing alternative energy and increasing efficiency in the grid – really would harm the economy (a particularly spurious claim in a year in which the United States alone has suffered ten billion-dollar extreme weather events), it’s hard to imagine what it might take to convince the governor of the validity of the science. As one fact-checker of the debate pointed out:
Perry deployed a particularly odd historical analogy to defend himself against the fact that close to 100 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring and that human activities are responsible. “Galileo was outnumbered for a spell!” he declared of the Italian astronomer whose heretical scientific views led to him being tried by the Inquisition. But, as veteran political observer Howard Fineman pointed out in a running blog during the debate, “He got the analogy exactly wrong. Galileo was the scientist; the church and its allies, who knew nothing about the scientific method, were lined up against him.”
IMAGE: Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry gets touched up during a break in the Ronald Reagan Centennial GOP Presidential Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Sept. 7, 2011, in Simi Valley, Calif. The debate is sponsored by POLITICO and NBC News. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)