Will a Threat to U.S. Credit Rating Convince Republicans to Care About Global Warming?

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P) warned today that climate change will force down the credit ratings of countries throughout the world. Will this be the straw that breaks the climate-deniers back?

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Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P) warned on Thursday that climate change will force down the credit ratings of countries throughout the world. Will this be the straw that breaks the climate change-deniers' backs?

"Climate change is likely to be one of the global mega-trends impacting sovereign creditworthiness, in most cases negatively," S&P notes, adding "Assuming that extreme weather events are on the rise in terms of frequency and destruction, how this feed through to our ratings on sovereign states bears consideration." According to the S&P, climate change will do most harm to the credit ratings of developing nations, but the U.S. also stands to take an (albeit smaller) hit.

The S&P report closely follows one published by the CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board on Tuesday, which found climate change to be a risk to national security. The study was penned by members of a military research organization, including many former military officials, who discuss in detail the effects of drought and rising sea levels on global unrest and instability. In an introductory note, the Military Advisory Board wrote that they hope the report won't be judged on partisan grounds:

We are dismayed that discussions of climate change have become so polarizing and have receded from the arena of informed public discourse and debate. Political posturing and budgetary woes cannot be allowed to inhibit discussion and debate over what so many believe to be a salient national security concern for our nation. Each citizen must ask what he or she can do individually to mitigate climate change, and collectively what his or her local, state, and national leaders are doing to ensure that the world is sustained for future generations... Time and tide wait for no one. 

According to the New York Times, U.S. leaders who don't dispute climate change as a man-made phenomena recognized the importance of the report. But it appeared to do nothing to budge climate change deniers. Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma dismissed the report because "there is no one in more pursuit of publicity than a retired military officer," which is a ridiculous statement in a world of Kardashians. He continues:

I look back wistfully at the days of the Cold War. Now you have people who are mentally imbalanced, with the ability to deploy a nuclear weapon. For anyone to say that any type of global warming is anywhere close to the threat that we have with crazy people running around with nuclear weapons, it shows how desperate they are to get the public to buy this.

We're not exactly sure what this means, but it seems to have something to do with looking back wistfully on a time when war meant the threat of nuclear attack and men dealt with problems like crazy people making senseless decisions. You know, the good old days, that also sort of resemble the current days, in certain parts of the world.

To be fair, Inhofe has already cemented his position on climate change. He wrote a book, published in 2012, titled The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. We have not read this book, but Amazon's book description tells us that addresses issues like:

Americans are over-regulated and over-taxed. When regulation escalates, the result is an increase in regulators. In other words, bigger government is required to enforce the greater degree of regulation. Bigger government means bigger budgets and higher taxes. More simply doesn't mean better. A perfect example is the entire global warming, climate-change issue, which is an effort to dramatically and hugely increase regulation of each of our lives and business, and to raise our cost of living and taxes. 

If this is really where Inhofe is coming from, he'd do well to consider S&P's report. But we have a feeling he won't.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.