The defeat of Missouri Rep. Todd Akin to the U.S. Senate is good for science because Akin lost his House seat in pursuit of higher office. Akin sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Anyone who sits on that committee and ever believed that a woman’s body can magically prevent pregnancy through rape lacks a grasp of science and shouldn’t even be let through the doors into the committee. At least that won’t be a problem after January in regards to Akin.
Of course, Georgia Rep. Paul Broun, who commented that evolution is “straight from the pit of hell,” is still on the committee. If it was just Broun, things might be manageable enough so that science could still be a focus of the committee instead of religious extremism. Unfortunately, it isn’t just Broun who is a problem.
Committee Chair Rep. Ralph Hall from Texas is stepping down after six terms. That’s a good thing. As the National Journal reports, Hall sees conspiracy, not science when it comes to climate change.
Asked if climate change is causing the Earth to become warmer, the lawmaker charged with shaping national science policy responded, “I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls.” Hall said that on the issue of climate science, he is “pretty close” to the stance of his fellow Texan, Rick Perry—believing that climate science may be a conspiracy theory put forth by scientists who are working in concert to receive funding for research. A reporter pointed out that last year, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a survey concluding that 97 percent of climate-science researchers are in consensus that human activities have led to global warming. “And they each get $5,000 for every report like that they give out,” Hall scoffed. He added, “I don’t have any proof of that. But I don’t believe ’em.”
He doesn’t have any proof, but he thinks that climatologists get a quick $5K for every fake report they can produce. That’s an easy conspiracy to swallow since the Congressman feels that God’s in control of the climate and humans have no influence anyway. Yet in Hall’s mind, it seems that God only controls the climate, not the weather. Hall criticized the Obama’s administration’s request for an increase in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget for climate change research while holding funding for weather research without an increase as an “inappropriate prioritization of climate over weather.”
Seeing Hall leave his gavel should also be a good thing, but the three Congressmen vying to replace him are not much better. California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner and Texas Rep. Lamar Smith prefer to pick and choose their science as well.
Rohrabacher considers climate change the work of the “scientific-technological elite.” Rohrabacher believes that solar flares may be the cause of climate change and Mars is a perfect example because its polar caps recede and expand. At least that’s the best I can figure from his pseudo-science.
Rohrabacher is on the issue of climate change so well that he has found that the conspiracy goes much deeper than $5K checks being passed out for bogus studies.
“Make no mistake; the man-made global warming theory is being pushed by people who believe in Global Government. They have been looking for an excuse for an incredible freedom-busting centralization of power, and they found it in the specter of man-made global warming,” said Rohrabacher.
There it is. The melting of the Arctic ice cap is the fault of global government. This is not a joke. This man really wants to head one of the top government positions on science in the country.
Rohrabacher used his scientific knowledge to discern that the explanation by scientists for a sudden climate change 55 million years ago was not the usual scientific explanation. Nope, it was as likely caused by dinosaur flatulence as anything else.
“We don’t know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?’ Rohrabacher said.
At a Congressional hearing, Rohrabacher listened to a climate change expert and a discussion on how the decay of plant matter creates carbon emissions. That brought a great idea to Rohrabacher’s mind, which he had to blurt out as an epiphany of sorts.
“Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rain forests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?”
“Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?” he continued.
While Rohrabacher said that cutting down trees will reduce the possibility of the earth warming, a scientific impossibility, he quickly backpeddled with a press release later.
“Once again those with a global agenda have created a straw man by misrepresenting the position of their critics. I do not believe that CO2 is a cause of global warming, nor have I ever advocated the reduction of CO2 through the clearing of rainforests or cutting down older trees to prevent global warming.
“To suggest that I’m advocating such a radical approach instead of simply questioning the policy is a total misrepresentation of my position.”
Exactly what Rohrabacher believes is the real question. His denial does not match his earlier statement. At this point, he stands a good chance of being the next chair, and the only thing for certain is that he is not a friend of science.
Then there’s Congressman Sensenbrenner. Sensenbrenner and Rohrabacher must read from the same science book. Sensenbrenner is also a believer in the solar flares cause global warming.
“I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do and our lunar, our rovers on Mars have indicated that there has been a slight warming in the atmosphere of Mars and that certainly was not caused by the internal combustion engine.”
No evidence has been discovered that Mars is warming. If Sensenbrenner is going to be convinced by the data of rovers wandering Mars as proof that global warming is real, then NASA should turn some of those rovers loose on Earth so we can put an end to climate-change skepticism.
Sensenbrenner is even having trouble reading thermometers. He believes that the earth is really cooling as this comment shows:
“What the science says is that temperatures peaked out globally in 1998. So we’ve gone for 10 plus years where the temperatures have gone down.”
This wasn’t a one-time statement either. Sensenbrenner also said, “We’ve actually had global cooling in the last ten years.” Actually, the last ten years have been the hottest of recorded history. There has been a slowing of increase, but that is the same pattern seen over the last century or so. There are rapid periods of heating and then slower periods where the earth appears to plateau. Yet it always plateaus at the new high. A plateau is not cooling.
That leaves the future of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology in the hands of Texas Rep. Lamar Smith as our last hope. To Smith’s credit, he seems to believe that there might be climate change. He may not be sold that its human caused but at least he’s grasping that the world’s climate is changing. Compared to the others seeking to chair this committee that makes him a genius.
On Smith’s website, he notes:
Like many Americans, I am concerned about the environment. The Earth has undergone tremendous change in the past and is experiencing similar change now. Climate change has the potential to impact agriculture, ecosystems, sea levels, weather patterns, and human health.
That’s almost enough to get giddy about. However, Smith is not out of the conspiracy-minded state when it comes to climate change. He blamed ABC, CBS and NBC for reporting that “was largely slanted in favor of global warming alarmists.”
In normal times, Smith becoming chair would be cause for alarm. Looking at the alternatives, he looks extremely qualified. Whomever gets to lead the committee, the best that can be hoped is that it’s someone who is so thoroughly incompetent or confused that any damaging anti-science agenda will fail miserably.