You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Conservatives Are Out of Touch with the World

The Republican response to Obama and the Paris climate talks is exactly what you'd expect.

Saul Loeb/Getty Images

The climate change conference in Paris is the closest the world has ever come to reaching an agreement that covers 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, but conservatives in the United States are focused on other matters. For example, President Barack Obama’s indifference to time limits. Addressing the world leaders assembled in Paris on Monday, he went over his allotted time by 11 minutes, ignoring multiple buzzers along the way. It caught the attention of the Washington Free Beacon, The Blaze, and the Drudge Report.

Why the focus on relatively minor developments? Conservatives are hitting on the point that they think this conference is a waste of America’s time.

You can get a taste of what else conservatives have been paying attention to at the conference from Drudge’s feed:

According to conservative columnist Charles Hurt, another of Obama’s infractions came at his press conference on the conference’s second day, held just before he returned home to Washington, where he looked “so old and gaunt, he makes Keith Richards look like Justin Bieber.” Hurt continued: “Part of the looniness of it all stemmed from the giant scam he and other world leaders are trying to put over on advanced countries, punishing them for their industriousness by redistributing billions and billions of dollars from hardworking American taxpayers and handing it over to tin-pot dictators in disheveled Third World countries.”

Some conservatives, though, insist there is a bigger conspiracy going on. They claim Obama has hatched a plot to make the U.S. inferior to the rest of the world. “President Obama’s opening remarks at the Paris climate agreement were effectively an apology for industrial progress,” was Heritage Action Nicolas Lori’s interpretation of Obama’s line that he recognizes America’s role in creating the climate change conundrum and the country’s responsibility to address it.

The other strain of conservative thinking is that this deal is undemocratic. Fox Business host Stuart Varney made the argument that reaching a climate change agreement somehow goes “around the will of the people.” “Not since Woodrow Wilson’s failed campaign to impose the League of Nations on America has a president been so contemptuous of the will of the people,” wrote Jeffrey Folks at American Thinker. They ignore the fine print of the Paris agreement: It rests primarily on countries setting their own targets and establishing their own plans for how to meet those goals.

If all else fails, conservatives have also reminded us that this whole climate issue is probably some hoax. Breitbart listed 12 reasons why the conference is a waste of time—arguing both that there is no global warming to worry about and that, if there is, the agreement wouldn’t make a difference anyway. Another reason to ignore Paris, according to Breitbart: Climate scientists are “talentless low-lives.”

If a Republican wins the presidency in 2016, then there’s nothing to worry about if you’re someone who doesn’t think climate change is real. Several GOP candidates have pledged that they wouldn’t go to a meeting like Paris, despite all of America’s major allies sending their top leaders.

Jeb Bush wouldn’t waste his time, and Donald Trump thinks even sending a vice president “might be too high a position.” Chris Christie said Obama is “focused on the wrong climate change.” “The climate change that we need is the climate change in this country,” he said, suggesting that issues such as race and religion should take priority. Marco Rubio insisted the climate “has always been changing” and there is no consensus on “what percentage of that is due to man’s activity.” Not to be outdone, Ted Cruz is hosting a hearing next week disputing climate change science.

“I watched much of his press conference, and his passion comes when he’s talking about climate change,” Carly Fiorina said of Obama on a conservative radio show. “He has no passion when he’s talking about defeating our real enemy, which is ISIS.”

Moreover, both the House and Senate voted to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s power plant regulations. The House vote fell in the middle of the Paris talks this week, in an attempt to cast doubt on the U.S.’s commitment to its own domestic proposals that are so key to the agreement. Obama, of course, will veto it.

Conservatives in the U.S. may be turning their backs on the Paris talks. That doesn’t make the conference irrelevant, however. On the contrary, as the rest of the world moves toward a deal—one that is critical to the future of civilization—it’s Republicans who are making themselves irrelevant.