Another day, another Republican pretending ignorance on climate science. This time it's John Barrasso (R-WY), claiming that the role of human activity in climate change is not known.
It's easy to see why the Party of Stupid gets even stupider on climate change - they're boxed in to a corner of their own making. If they acknowledge reality, their base will tear them apart. If they deny reality, the media will tear them apart.
Here's a thought experiment for Dr. John Barrasso, who used to be an orthopedic surgeon before representing the state of Wyoming: A patient presents with a serious, potentially life-threatening condition you haven't treated before. Do you: (a) consult with another doctor, a textbook, WebMD, or any authority at all, or devise an experiment to determine the cause of the condition, or try anything at all you've learned during your many years of training; or (b) shrug and watch the world burn?
After all, it's not like there's a shortage of reputable documents written by scientists who can help. Here's the Great Plains section of the National Climate Assessment, predicting water shortages, changes to agriculture, and locusts in Wyoming. It was written by a bunch of scientists. The Senator could try asking them. Maybe Michael Mann would be happy to educate the doctor on Climate Science 101.
Or he could try reading a Wyoming science textbook... Oh wait. A remarkably honest Wyoming Republican legislator explains that treating global warming as settled science would wreck Wyoming's economy: "'[The standards] handle global warming as settled science,' said Rep. Matt Teeters, a Republican from Lingle who was one of the footnote's authors. 'There's all kind of social implications involved in that that I don't think would be good for Wyoming.'"
It's almost like Republicans aren't really stupid. It's almost like they're too ashamed to admit that they're deliberately turning a blind eye to the slow-motion poisoning of our atmosphere by their campaign contributors.