I don’t envy climate change when it eventually sits down to meet the Republicans on the House Science and Technology Committee. Will climate change be offended that one member believes it originated from dinosaur flatulence? A recent draft National Climate Assessment report says there is
“Unambiguous evidence” the Earth is warming primarily from human activity. The assessment released through U.S. Global Change Research Program tallies the wide-ranging effects of climate change, such as water supplies stressed by declining runoff and increased risk of heat stress and waterborne disease, and notes that U.S. infrastructure is already being harmed by sea-level rise, storm surges and heavy downpours.
U.S. temps will continue to rise two to four degrees F; without actions to reduce global emissions, an increase of 10 degrees F is possible by century's end. This report, as you might imagine, suggests some action be taken to increase resilience to changes that it says cannot be avoided.
For the next few years, however, the House Committee on Science and Technology probably isn’t the place to look for progress on this issue. Here are a few quotes that fly in the face of science from the Committee's Republican members.
Committee member Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) says, “I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old.” As if not to be outdone by his fellow congressman, Commitee Vice Chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
decried climate change theory as a “massive international scientific fraud” and evidence of what he called “scientific fascism.” Another climate skeptic on the committee this year, Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), suggested in a hearing that “dinosaur flatulence” might explain historic warming patterns.
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), the outgoing Chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, said,
“I'm really more fearful of freezing […] And I don't have any science to prove that. But we have a lot of science that tells us they're not basing it [global warming] on real scientific facts.”
Incoming Chairman Lamar Smith (also of Texas) questions why the “lapdog media” isn’t skeptical of climate change and says the panel will “create a forum for discussion.”
There's about as much hope of action from the House Science Committee run by Republicans that happily have planted their heads in the sand as there is of polar bears surviving massive glacial and sea ice meltdowns.