A few weeks ago, The Volusia Tiger Bay hosted an evening of debates, which included three of the Democrats running for Congress from CD7, including yours truly, and six of the Republicans. Two of the four questions asked of us were related to global warming and climate change, which I characterized as an immediate and existential threat to Planet Earth. Here is some of what the six Republicans opined – each one, seemingly, soft-pedaling the imminent danger of rising temperatures across the globe and calling for as little action as possible.

Scott Sturgill: “Global warming, sure. There are issues where you know we could do better as a society. But the Earth takes care of itself. It’s an ever-changing battle. So again for all the people who want global warming and want, you know, to pursue that avenue, I hope you enjoy the high prices. I hope you enjoy the excess penalties that we’re paying. I’m not a big believer there.”

Anthony Sabatini: “We know that the effect of people living in Western developed countries is very limited in the global effect on climate change and countries like India and China are the main contributors to this problem. And that by restricting our own people and attacking them and making it so they can’t live a good, fruitful life and can actually use energy to their own consumptive needs, we’re just unilaterally disarming ourselves as a country, while these bad actors aren’t doing the same.”Erika Benfield: “Florida, of course, has a ginormous (sic) amount of shoreline, but we have to be mindful of how those things are affecting us so I definitely think it should be discussed, should be talked about, but I’m not for anything that is government overreach that’s gonna hurt Americans.”

Ted Edwards: “As far as global warming, yes, based on the rising temperature, I think we would all agree there’s a change that’s been happening in our climate. We need to make sure we do what we can to address that. … Certainly we need to do what we can to protect our environment, but we need to do it on a reasonable basis.”

Al Santos: I think the role of the government should be as a leader of the world to start off a program or to continue with the program of planting trees all over the world. I think we should be planting billions of trees, you know. That’s going to take some time.”

Brady Duke: “Our environment should absolutely be stewarded. We have been blessed with creation and we should absolutely steward the resources within it every chance we can.” 

This is not leadership. This is dancing around the issue and making sure not to say anything that will offend the Republican Party base, the very base that wishes to hide their heads in the ever-increasing hot sand, pretending that this looming crisis is not what it is; that it’s some kind of liberal hoax, even after the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has declared a Code Red. This is not leadership; this is the abdication of leadership and none of these candidates deserve to be elected to Congress.

If we don’t take immediate, decisive, and strong government action against global warming, we will be cursed by future generations for letting this planet burn. We were warned over and over again by respected scientific voices. We were cautioned over and over again that we are running out of time. But we are choosing to do little or nothing. These Republicans are more than ready to join the estimated hundred or so climate change deniers in Congress, while making mealy-mouthed gestures that mean zilch. Shame on them and shame on us if we let them get away with it.