When the new Congress convenes tomorrow, climate change deniers will ascend to the chairmanships of several important House committees.
The new Republican majority has named Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) vice chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology under incoming chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX). Sensenbrenner, who denies the evidence demonstrating that human-induced greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change, has already announced his intention to obstruct the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of emissions. Hall displays little understanding of the evidence supporting the scientific community’s broad consensus on climate change, including incontrovertible evidence that Earth’s temperatures are clearly rising. Hall commented recently that his committee faces challenges from both global warming and “global freezing.”
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) will become chairman of the Committee’s Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee. In 2009 Broun called global warming “one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community,” to thunderous applause from his colleagues. Broun likely will seek to use Congress’s authority to subpoena and investigate climate scientists.
The Republican leadership has also split the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee in two. The Economy and Environment Subcommittee will be chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), who famously believes that climate change can do the world no harm because God promised to keep Earth safe for humanity after Noah’s flood. As Shimkus puts it, “I believe that’s the infallible word of God, and that’s the way it’s going to be for His creation.” The new Energy and Power Subcommittee will be chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), a longtime antagonist of the EPA and a staunch advocate for Kentucky’s coal industry who does not regard global warming to be an important issue. Whitfield’s subcommittee will oversee energy issues and the Clean Air Act.