What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 25, 2014

Pennsylvania Science Deniers In The US House Of Representatives

I can hear you all asking, "Science denier?  That's pretty strong language, isn't it?  How are you defining that term in this context?" I can hear you following up with another question.

So many good questions, my faithful inquisitors, I'll answer them simply:
In this instance, a "Congressional Science denier" is one who voted for this amendment.  
Here's Huffingtonpost for some context on the amendment:
The House passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill on Thursday that would bar the Department of Defense from using funds to assess climate change and its implications for national security.

The amendment, from Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), passed in what was nearly a party-line vote. Four Democrats voted for the amendment, and three Republicans voted against it. The bill aims to block the DOD from taking any significant action related to climate change or its potential consequences.
Or as Representative Henry Waxman said on the House Floor:
Well, I think that is science denial at its worst to say that the Defense Department cannot recognize damage caused by climate change. It looks like it is trying to overturn the laws of nature.

So we would tie the hands of the Defense Department and tell them that even though we might have exacerbated heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods, water- and vector-borne diseases, diseases which will pose greater risk to human health and lives around the world, and wheat and corn yields are already experiencing the negative impact and we have a larger risk of food security globally and regionally, if scientists tell us that, we are not allowed to have our Defense Department pay any heed to it.
Huffingtonpost said it was a near party line vote so who broke with their party?

The four Democrats who voted for the amendment were:
Barrow (of Georgia)
Cuellar (of Texas)
Mcintyre (of North Carolina)
Rahall (of West Virginia)
And the three Republicans who voted against where:
Garrett (of New Jersey)
Gibson (of New York)
LoBiondo (of New Jersey)
Other than that, all House Demorats voted NO and all House Republicans voted YES.  Here's the Pennsylvania delegation and how they voted (the list is arranged by Congressional District) and here's the roll call if'n y'inz wanna check my work, en'at:
1. Bob Brady (D) - Voted NO
2. Chaka Fattah (D) - Voted NO
3. Mike Kelly (R) - Science Denier, Voted YES
4. Scott Perry (R) - Science Denier, Voted YES
5. Glenn Thompson (R) - Science Denier, Voted YES
6. Jim Gerlach (R) - Science Denier, Voted YES
7. Pat Meehan (R) - Science Denier, Voted YES
8. Mike Fitzpatrick (R) - Science Denier, Voted YES
9. Bill Shuster (R) - Science Denier, Voted YES
10. Tom Marino (R) - Science Denier, Voted YES
11. Lou Barletta (R)- Science Denier, Voted YES
12. Keith Rothfus (R)- Science Denier, Voted YES
13. Allyson Schwartz (D) - Voted NO
14. Michael F. Doyle (D) - Voted NO
15. Charles Dent (R)- Science Denier, Voted YES
16. Joseph R. Pitts (R)- Science Denier, Voted YES
17. Matt Cartwright (D) - Voted NO
18. Timothy F. Murphy (R)- Science Denier, Voted YES
And finally, since you're all shivering with anticipation, here's what they were voting on - it's an amendment to HR 4435:
None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation's Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866.
That's what the science deniers don't want.  As Representative Waxman pointed out in his comments:
This is incredible, because the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review called climate change ``an accelerant of instability or conflict'' that ``could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments.'' But the McKinley amendment tells the DOD to ignore these impacts.
But that was waay back in 2010. What does the 2014 Quadrennial Review have to say about Climate Change?

Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating. These changes, coupled with other global dynamics, including growing, urbanizing, more affluent populations, and substantial economic growth in India, China, Brazil, and other nations, will devastate homes, land, and infrastructure. Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.
Yea, but...to Representative McKinley (this from his comments on the House Floor):
[T]his amendment would prohibit the Department of Defense from spending money on climate change policies forced upon them by the Obama administration.

We shouldn't be diverting our financial resources away from the primary missions of our military and our national security in pursuit of an ideology. [Emphasis added.]
So face it, if you live in Pennsylvania and if you live in a "red" Congressional District, you're represented by a science denier.  Get used to it.

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