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Only 6% of scientists call themselves Republicans. Watch “Chasing Ice” and you’ll know why.

Why would you support a political party that calls you a liar?

A study by the Pew Research Center revealed that only 6% of the country’s scientists now consider themselves to be Republican vs. 55% that call themselves Democrats. In a piece at Salon, Amanda Marcotte makes the case that this is for a very good reason.

After seeing the film Chasing Ice last night, I am certain Marcotte is 100% correct.

Here’s a bit of what Marcotte has to say (but, please, read her entire piece — it’s fantastic):

Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, who together wrote Merchants of Doubt, … explain that it was during the debates over tobacco’s carcinogenic properties that conservatives began their assault on science, claiming a controversy where there was none in hopes of delaying government interventions that would depress the tobacco industry’s profits. After that, the strategy was set. If scientists made proclamations that could undermine industry, conservative politicians claimed the research was more controversial than it was, offered up well-paid but unethical experts who claimed to have doubts, and introduced shoddy research with divergent findings. The strategy has been employed to resist and delay government regulation to combat acid rain, global warming, and the hole in the ozone. {…}

[S]cientists, as a community, admirably held off becoming overtly political until this shift occurred. Before recent election cycles, only researchers whose actual work was under attack who defended themselves. But now Republicans are a threat to science itself. In other words, scientists are simply acting like any other constituency, and throwing their support behind the party that fights for their interests and against the party that openly fights against them. This isn’t a threat to democracy, but a clear-cut example of how democracy works. {…}

Let’s be clear. Republicans don’t attack scientists because they want to punish them for supporting Democrats. If all scientists agreed tomorrow to stop donating to parties, expressing political opinions in public, or even voting, Republicans would not gratefully start agreeing with scientific consensus around global warming or embrace public health recommendations to reduce unplanned pregnancy and STDs. They wouldn’t even come around on the now 154-year-old theory of evolution. They oppose these ideas because they come in conflict with Republican ideological concerns.

In Chasing Ice, a film that should be required viewing for every American, you see what the decades-long argument over the reality of climate change has done. It has prevented us from taking action on a cataclysmic change to our planet’s surprisingly delicate global climate, taking us to a point where we may soon reach the point of no return.

A graph is shown at one point in the film depicting the 300+ glaciers that were on the planets several decades ago. Since then, a few dozen have disappeared completely and most have retreated dramatically. Only four have actually gotten larger. And yet climate change deniers point to that tiny fraction of glaciers to convince themselves and as many others as they can that human-caused climate change doesn’t exist.

As the photographer behind the film, James Balog, says so eloquently in Chasing Ice, despite what you will hear from ignorant men and women like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, or Senator James Inhofe, there simply is no debate about whether or not human-caused climate change is real. Except for a handful of industry-paid shills posing as legitimate climate scientists, the entire scientific community accepts this as a fact.

And when glaciers have retreated more in ten years than they did in the previous 100 years, you begin to see how terrifying this reality truly is.

Do yourself a favor and go to see Chasing Ice. Take a friend. It will change your life and give you a new perspective on the importance of dealing with climate change NOW.

And you’ll see quite quickly why only 6% of scientists call themselves Republicans. At the end of the day, it’s simply self-defense.

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