“If wishes were horses then beggars would ride, on clouds of white stallions with bright fiery eyes, chasing dreams of tomorrow into yesterday’s skies.” – Mason Williams
The House Republicans have killed the Select Committee on Global Warming, and now they’ve taken the next step: legislating climate change out of existence. Yes, that’s right: all our troubles are at an end. Who needs a magic wand when you have a House full of Republicans?
Sean Pool writes in Science Progress,
House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee demonstrated their commitment to science denial Wednesday by unanimously voting down three separate amendments offered by Democrats to reaffirm basic facts about climate science. They then unanimously voted to pass the Upton-Inhofe bill to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific endangerment finding on greenhouse pollution.
What’s next, a headline like “Breaking News: Gravity No Longer Exists; Is Dismissed by House Republicans as anti-Christian Secularist Plot!”?
This is essentially what Democratic Representative Edward Markey asked:
Just as the Bush administration in 2003 thought to make disappear the Iraq insurgency by not permitting the use of the word “insurgency” Republicans today think they can make global warming disappear by pretending it doesn’t exist. But closing your eyes as a train barrels toward you won’t stop you from being crushed and dismembered beneath its wheels.
This is really taking the “making your own reality” thing a bit far, don’t you think? I mean, we all realize by now (or should) that conservatives believe they can make their own reality as they go and then change it with a snap of the fingers and move onto another reality.
The three amendments voted down?
- Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado offered an amendment that simply reaffirmed what EPA scientists stated, that “‘the scientific evidence is compelling’ that elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases resulting from anthropogenic emissions ‘are the root cause of recently observed climate change.'” That amendment was rejected in a party-line vote with all Republicans voting no.
- Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington state offered an amendment, again quoting the EPA, which stated “the public health of current generations is endangered and the threat to public health for both current and future generations will likely mount over time as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere and result in ever greater rates of climate change.” This, too, was rejected in a party-line vote with all Republicans voting no.
- The last amendment, offered by Rep. Henry Waxman of southern California, asserted even more unassailable scientific findings. His amendment stated simply that “Congress accepts the scientific finding of the Environmental Protection Agency that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.” It was also unanimously rejected in a party-line vote with all Republicans voting no.
But as Senator Patrick Moynihan said and Senator Al Franken repeated, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” How unsurprising that both men have “Democrat” after their names.
The facts, in this case, are deafening. As NASA reported in 2010:
Except for a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s, the surface temperature of our planet has increased since 1880. The last decade has seen global temperatures rise to the highest levels ever recorded.
2009, they reported, was the second warmest year on record and the end of warmest decade.
You can believe there is no climate change or there is no global warming, but you can’t simply legislate facts out of existence. Rising temperatures and rising sea levels cannot be wished away anymore than can melting polar ice caps.
Facts tend to be “in your face” and this has never been truer than of the facts surrounding climate change. As Sean Pool goes on to point out,
Let’s keep in mind that virtually every credible climate scientist and science organization, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, has declared climate change a “settled fact.” Here is another quote from the academy which reaffirms all three of the rejected amendments:
Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities … and in many cases is already affecting a broad range of human and natural systems.
Despite the evidence, these “in your face” facts we find all around us, the committee of the colossally stupid voted 34-19 to pass the Upton-Inhofe bill (H.R. 910). This effectively means that the federal government cannot regulate the carbon pollution that is warming our planet’s atmosphere. The Project on Climate Science summed it up nicely:
Through this antiscience legislation, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is substituting ideology for the intensive, comprehensive, peer-reviewed analysis of thousands of scientists, including the scientists at the EPA.
The kicker? One of these colossally stupid republicans said he voted against scientific fact because it violates his religious beliefs. He’s betting on God’s “promise” that the earth would not be destroyed by a flood.
He might want to take another look at the evidence of rising sea levels:
Failing that, maybe we can relocate him forcibly to the Maldives, which are soon to disappear beneath the seas that aren’t rising because the planet isn’t warming because of all the CO2 we’re pumping into the atmosphere. As the Christian Science Monitor reports,
According to the CIA World Factbook, some 80 percent of the 1,192 coral islets that make up the Maldives are one meter or less above sea level, making it the world’s lowest country. The UN climate panel predicts that, unless greenhouse emissions are curbed, sea levels could rise by 25 to 58 centimeters by the end of the century. More recent studies, such as this one published in the journal Science, sharply increase the projected sea level rise, to as high as two meters.
So that’s comforting, to know our welfare is being guided by this man’s belief in mythology. As a Heathen I could argue that Ragnarök means I don’t have to worry about global warming either but I can separate my religion from my science, and I would never think it right to let my religion determine what’s best in scientific terms.
By the way, ProgressOhio.org reports that “the 31 Republicans and three Democrats who voted in favor of H.R. 910 have received a grand total of $343,750 from Koch Industries, an average of more than $10,000 each.”
Even Bible-fearing men are willing to sell their souls cheaply. Welcome to the U.S. House of the Koch Brothers. Bribe early, bribe often.
Image from TropicalRainforestAnimals.com
Temperature Diagram from NASA
Rising Sea Levels from University of Colorado at Boulder