John Oliver Schools The Climate Change Denialists

Marco Rubio may or may not be ready to hold the most powerful job in the world, but one thing is clear: He’s certainly prepared to run for it, at least in the modern Republican Party. If there was any doubt on that score, it was settled during an interview on ABC News on Sunday, when he checked one of the most important boxes on any GOP hopeful’s job application: declaring that he did not, could not, would not, believe that climate change is real. “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” Rubio said. “I think severe weather has been a fact of life on Earth since man started recording history.” Those two sentences alone are a clinic in the art of the counter-factual, non-scientific dodge that can never be proven wrong because it says nothing at all. It opens with the obligatory hedge of belief—as when the heads of the major tobacco companies testified before Congress in 1994 that they did not believe nicotine was addictive, though it has been scientifically proven to be, because belief need not have anything to do with fact and, in the case of the tobacco boys, had the additional advantage of not leaving them open to perjury charges. Rubio adds the obligatory soupçon of contempt for the scientists—or “these scientists” he calls them, one of those rhetorical eyerolls that dismisses an entire community of professionals as little more than a faction of hacks. MORE

LA TIMES: Such sentiments, of course, are designed to shore up Rubio’s support among the GOP crazies — uh, sorry, tea party types — who began to doubt his conservative cred after he pushed for immigration reform, as my colleague Brian Bennett reported. And also to keep the money spigot open from conservatives such as the Koches. So, “mission accomplished”? Um, maybe, maybe not. You see, the news from scientists — you know, the folks who actually study this stuff because they know something about it, and not politicians who use it to score cheap political points — just keeps getting in the way. On Monday came headlines such as this: “Glacial Region’s Melt Past ‘Point of No Return,’ NASA Says.”  And this: “West Antarctic Ice Sheet’s Collapse Triggers Sea Level Warning.”  Yep, more ice melting. More water pouring into the world’s oceans. More water that will also pour into cities such as, ahem, Miami Beach — which, as Rubio probably knows, is in Florida. MORE

RELATED: Ann McElhinney and her husband Phelim McAleer describe themselves as journalists/documentary filmmakers whose only agenda is to tell the stories that aren’t being told: That environmentalists like Al Gore, James Cameron and Gasland director Josh Fox are (in order of appearance) liars, hypocrites and cheaters; that global warming/climate change is scam; that scientists who insist otherwise are only in it for the money; that fracking is harmless; and fossil fuel consumption is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I would call her a paid shill for Big Energy. Her latest film, Not Just Evil But Wrong, argues that decades of peer-reviewed climate science is just plain wrong. By her own admission, Mine Your Own Business, the 2006 leave-the-poor-little-mining-companies-alone-themed documentary she made with her husband, was funded by a Canadian mining company called Gabriel Resources. That is not journalism, that is corporate propaganda. She is currently on a tour of Pennsylvania college campuses (that brings her to Temple today at 1 PM) that is being funded by Americans For Prosperity, which is funded by the Koch Brothers who have massive holdings in fossil fuels like oil and gas and have spent upwards of $50 milion spreading the gospel of climate change denial and underwriting dubious scientific studies that confuse the matter and sow doubt in the minds of the American people. And it’s working. Every year polls show that less and less Americans think climate change is real or cause for concern. MORE