GOP leadership stacks Energy & Commerce with climate zombies

By RL_Miller, cross-posted from Daily Kos

Rep. Rob Bishop (AP Photo)

Republican leadership is stacking the Energy & Commerce committee with known climate zombies — elected officials who question the reality of human-caused climate change, thus proving that stupid goes viral.

The strategy is part and parcel with Rand Paul (“abolish the Fed!”) chairing a banking committee with jurisdiction over the Fed, Joe Pitts (Stupak-Pitts, attacker of women’s health) chairing a health committee, and Rob Bishop (probably the worst member of Congress for national park issues) overseeing a national parks subcommittee.  Here, loading the dice is a particularly reprehensible strategy when gambling with humanity’s future.

New to the Energy & Commerce Committee, via The Hill’s E2Wire:

Charlie Bass (N.H.)
Brian Bilbray (Calif.)
Bill Cassidy (La.)
Cory Gardner (Colo.)
Morgan Griffith (Va.)
Brett Guthrie (Ky.)
Gregg Harper (Miss.)
Adam Kinzinger (Ill.)
David McKinley (W.Va.)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.)
Pete Olson (Texas)
Mike Pompeo (Kans.)
and Gregg Walden (Or.) is returning

Who are these Representatives? What’s their zeal for energy issues? Bilbray promotes biofuels. Cassidy has been quiet on climate/energy issues.  However, most of the incoming committee members are climate zombies.

Mike Pompeo officially represents KS-04, but unofficially he’s spawned by the Kochtopus: relies on Koch for his private wealth, won his primary with support from a Koch PAC, and Koch was by far and away the largest contributor to his general election campaign.  On the Energy & Commerce committee, he’ll give Koch the finest representation its money can buy has bought.

The website of Gregg Harper (MS-03) provides a clue to the likely priorities of the next Congress: hobbling the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I’ve joined Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and the House Republican leadership in co-sponsoring H.R. 391, which excludes carbon dioxide from the definition of the term ‘air pollutant’ in the Clean Air Act. Passing this bill is essential to halting the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide.”

Charlie Bass (NH-02) thinks there’s still a debate regarding the sources of climate change. Cory Gardner (CO-04) says “I think the climate is changing, but I don’t believe humans are causing that change to the extent that’s been in the news.”  Morgan Griffth (VA-09) thinks that “many scientists do not even believe” man-made global warming is even happening. David McKinley (WV-01) is still “waiting for valid science to convince him there’s a problem and whether man is to blame.”

Brett Guthrie (KY-02) believes that America needs “clean Kentucky coal” as part of an “all of the above” energy policy.

The biggest contribution of Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) to the climate issue is to claim that “Al Gore deserves an ‘F’ in science and an ‘A’ in creative writing.”  And Pete Olson (TX-22) relies on “climategate” to query the IPCC’s climate data.  Gregg Walden is the close friend and ally of Joe “I apologize to BP” Barton.

Adam Kinziger (IL-11) has taken the Koch-funded Americans For Prosperity’s “no climate tax” pledge, along with Bass, Gardner, Griffith, Harper, McKinley, McMorris Rodgers, Olson, Pompeo, and Walden.  Of the 13 incoming members, I consider 8 to be clearly infected with Teh Stoopid, while the AFP pledge has the same significance as a gory bite in Dawn of the Dead. Only Bilbray and Cassidy have not been spotted moaning and shambling.

It’s tempting to snark about “opposites day” and move on.  However, stacking the deck is part of a long-term strategy by GOP leadership.  In 2007 Jonathan Chait pointed to a disturbing pattern:

Your typical conservative has little interest in the issue. Of course, neither does the average nonconservative. But we nonconservatives tend to defer to mainstream scientific wisdom. Conservatives defer to a tiny handful of renegade scientists who reject the overwhelming professional consensus.

Meanwhile, Republicans who do believe in global warming get shunted aside. …Gannett News Service recently reported that Rep. Wayne Gilchrest asked to be on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio refused to allow it unless Gilchrest would say that humans have not contributed to global warming. The Maryland Republican refused and was denied a seat.

Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), both research scientists, also were denied seats on the committee. Normally, relevant expertise would be considered an advantage. In this case, it was a disqualification; if the GOP allowed Republican researchers who accept the scientific consensus to sit on a global warming panel, it would kill the party’s strategy of making global warming seem to be the pet obsession of Democrats and Hollywood lefties.

GOP leadership has been loading the dice by stacking relevant committees  with climate zombies at least as far back as 2007.  That strategy has paid off for them, if not for the planet. Members of Congress setting national energy/climate policy for the next two years include a Koch puppet, coal ideologues, climate zombies who profess confusion regarding causes of climate change, and those who want to stop the EPA from doing its job.  Let’s hope the next two years play out better than the end to a George A. Romero movie.

4 Responses to “GOP leadership stacks Energy & Commerce with climate zombies”

  1. 1 C02Pirate Dec 13th, 2010 at 7:47 am

    The reality is global warming has been with us for a long time, at least since around 1850 (the end of the little ice age).
    Since then the last 160yrs has seen only about a ~0.7C rise.
    This is hardly surprising at all and in reality is about what one would be expected given the warming trends that occurred long before any industrialization.
    In fact most of the warming (~0.5C) occurred between 1850 to 1940 which is just before the industrial boom.
    Only ~0.2C warming occurred between 1940 to 1995 and no significant warming (none greater than the margins of error) has occurred in the last 15yrs at the writing of this post.

    The cold hard reality is that any effect humans may have had on climate would seem to indicate cooling rather than warming.

    I know there will be those who will attempt to refute all the above but before you do – be aware that all data above comes directly from the IPCC and IPCC references.

    Before jumping into anything as heinous as cap and trade of god forbid C02/energy rationing consider the above.
    Also considered this – the most productive and fertile periods in history have been warm periods when everything grows and wild life flourishes. Cold has always meant sure death.

  2. 2 Madeline Kovacs Dec 13th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you, Daily Kos, for this timely observation.

    If anyone reading this blog is interested in digging even deeper, I highly recommend two separate New Yorker pieces:

    This 11/22 Comment by Elizabeth Kolbert:

    This In-depth look at the Koch Brothers and the things they fund under the table by Jane Mayer

  3. 3 Lieutenant Maynard Dec 24th, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    @ CO2Pirate
    I know who you are, where you live, and how you earn your wages …

  1. 1 GOP leadership stacks Energy & Commerce with climate zombies – It’s Getting Hot In Here | Farm Succession Planning Trackback on Dec 13th, 2010 at 8:45 am
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