What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 16, 2011

Elections Have Consequences

And among the consequences of the last one is another GOP war on science.

Witness the House Energy And Commerce Committee yesterday. From the NYTimes:
Moving on a central tenet of the Republican energy and environment platform, a House committee on Tuesday approved a measure to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Republican leaders promised a floor vote on the bill before the Easter recess.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the bill, known as the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, by a vote of 34 to 19. Three Democrats, Representatives John Barrow of Georgia, Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike Ross of Arkansas, voted with the unanimous Republican majority.

The bill would repeal the E.P.A.’s finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are a threat to human health and the environment and would bar the agency from imposing new rules to control them. Its Republican sponsors argue that new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from refineries, power plants and other major sources would drive up energy prices, depress the economy and hamper job creation.
And here's what the EPA said in December, 2009:
After a thorough examination of the scientific evidence and careful consideration of public comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. EPA also finds that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat.

GHGs are the primary driver of climate change, which can lead to hotter, longer heat waves that threaten the health of the sick, poor or elderly; increases in ground-level ozone pollution linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses; as well as other threats to the health and welfare of Americans.
Scientific consensus shows that as a result of human activities, GHG concentrations in the atmosphere are at record high levels and data shows that the Earth has been warming over the past 100 years, with the steepest increase in warming in recent decades. The evidence of human-induced climate change goes beyond observed increases in average surface temperatures; it includes melting ice in the Arctic, melting glaciers around the world, increasing ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, acidification of the oceans due to excess carbon dioxide, changing precipitation patterns, and changing patterns of ecosystems and wildlife.
And here's where the EPA begin:
The Administrator has determined that the body of scientific evidence compellingly supports this finding. The major assessments by the U.S. Global Climate Research Program (USGCRP), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the National Research Council (NRC) serve as the primary scientific basis supporting the Administrator’s endangerment finding
The U.S. Global Climate Research Program according to its website "research carried out under the auspices of a number of Agencies of the US Federal Government." And they are:
  • Agency for International Development
  • Dept. of Agriculture
  • Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin. (also, National Institute of Standards and Technology)
  • Dept. of Defense
  • Dept. of Energy
  • Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health
  • Dept. of State
  • Dept. of Transportation
  • Dept. of the Interior, US Geological Survey
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics & Space Administration
  • National Science Foundation
  • Smithsonian Institution
You can read their latest findings here. They include:
Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.
Climate-related changes are already observed in the United States and its coastal waters. These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. These changes are projected to grow.
And so on.

The IPCC report can be found here. (We all know the anti-science crowd doesn't accept anything the IPCC says as credible so let's not waste any time going there. It's still true, however, that the Earth is warming and that Greenhouse Gasses are largely to blame.)

And the National Research Council's Division of Earth Science says:
A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems, concludes this panel report from the America's Climate Choices suite of studies.
None of that science had any meaning for the anti-science Republicans now running the House Energy and Commerce Committee who voted against this:
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.’’.
They then voted (all the Republicans on the committee and three democrats) voted in favor of HR 910 - which denies the science. All that science ignore for all that Koch money.

Elections have consequences, in this instance it's a mind-numbing war on science.


rich10e said...

yawn...working on anything new David???

Anonymous said...

Dave Thanks for keeping on this issue btw the EPA released a new rule today that would provide many health benefits to our region. I wonder if the GOP will now start denying that toxics exist in the pollution coming from coal fired power plants that plague our region. http://action.sierraclub.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=199861.0