flagRecently, two Democrats on opposite sides of the country distinguished themselves by bringing the issue of climate change front and center. 

In New Hampshire, Brown Waffles and Shaheen Calls Him Out

On Saturday, Republicans squared off with each other in New Hampshire’s GOP primary forum. In attendance was former U.S. Senator Bob Smith, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and former State Senator Jim Rubens. When the moderator asked the three men, “Do you believe that the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven?” both Smith and Brown told the moderator “No.”

(Rubens answered “absolutely, yes,” which the audience found delightful.)

But Scott Brown’s opinion seems to be in flux. In 2010, during his U.S. Senate special election, Brown did not seem so sure about the cause of climate change. In a debate with Attorney General Martha Coakley, he said, “I [have] said the climate is always changing. The question I have is, is it man-made, or does it just happen naturally?”

He seemed to have made up his mind when he was running against Elizabeth Warren in 2012. In their televised debate, the moderator asked, “Do you believe climate change is real and, if so, what should the federal government be doing about it?”

Brown replied emphatically: “Yes, I do, I absolutely believe that climate change is real and I believe there is a combination between man-made and natural. That being said one of the biggest things we can do is get an energy policy and we don’t have one. Wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, geothermal, coal…”

Skip to the 48:20 time stamp on the video below to see for yourself:

Last Saturday, Brown seems to have flopped again, and on Monday incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen let the voters know her opinion hadn’t changed. “Scott Brown is wrong,” she said in a statement. “Climate change is very real, and here in New Hampshire we are already seeing consequences.”

Recently, Brown’s spokeswoman, Elizabeth Guyton, tried to clarify the issue. She said Brown “believes that the climate is changing by a combination of natural and man-made causes.”

In Nebraska, Hassebrook Wants Wind, Not Oil

In Nebraska’s gubernatorial race, Democratic candidate Chuck Hassebrook has come out against the Keystone XL pipeline that is poised to bifurcate the state:

“I believe, from all my experience, that building the infrastructure to help facilitate that development [of tar sands] will help speed that development, and ultimately I think that contributes to climate change,” he told ThinkProgress. “For me, it’s a climate change issue.”

His Republican opponent, Pete Ricketts, is all for the pipeline. His belief is that it “will provide economic benefits for Nebraskans in terms of new jobs and increased local tax revenues.” This, despite the fact that the U.S. State Department’s January report on the pipeline said it will create a total of “35 permanent employees” after the one to two years of construction jobs are completed.

Hassebrook, on the other hand, wants Nebraska to invest in its underdeveloped wind industry. “We’re way behind most of our neighbors, and it reflects a profound lack of leadership,” he said. “And it is costing us thousands of good jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in local tax revenue.”

Today, two-thirds of the state’s power comes from coal, which is just fine with Ricketts. When asked about the danger that fossil fuels might pose to the climate, Ricketts told the Omaha World-Herald, “it is far from clear — despite what the other side is saying — it is far from clear what is going on with our climate.”

Hassebrook is on the very opposite end of the spectrum: “This is an issue where I think we have an obligation to our kids and grand-kids to step up, and I take that responsibility very seriously. I think to walk away from that responsibility to the next generation — because it’s easier to just walk away and ignore it — is anything but conservative, and it doesn’t reflect Nebraska’s values.”

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One Response

  1. Oedipus Rex says:

    Yes, it is far from clear… for a guy with the scientific mindsight of a 3rd grader.
    What a douche!

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