A Farewell to the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

01 Dec

The incoming House Republicans announced today that the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming (aka the global warming committee) will bite the dust when they take over next year. The committee was established by Pelosi in 2007 during the Al Gore / IPCC AR4 furor when confronting climate change had perhaps its highest support ever. Since then the committee, led by Ed Markey, has paraded through various scientists and activists who all agree that climate change will kill us all (or at least most of us). I’d decided to look back over the past three years and give you some highlights, a sort of montage you might see at a funeral.

Let’s start with the Chairmen, Ed Markey. This committee was basically the Ed Markey show, and here are some highlights (emphasis mine).

February 2007 press release, congratulating Al Gore for winning the Oscar:

Congratulations to Vice President Gore on his well-deserved recognition for the Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Al Gore won for acting – acting to create a powerful documentary that has startled his fellow Americans into heeding the scientific warnings about global warming. Now it is Congress’ turn to earn its own Oscar for acting – by acting on legislation this year to respond to this urgent and imminent calamity.

March 2007 press release, commenting on the establishment of the new committee:

We are facing an issue which will test the capacity of democracy to respond in time to affect the fate of the planet. We have the technology, the ingenuity, and the experience to reverse the inexorable buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses. The Speaker is moving boldly and quickly so that we have time to take steps proportionate to the threat now, in the 110th Congress. We have lost a decade watching the President and the Republican leadership play the politics of climate change denial; now it is time to play catch-up, before it is too late

Feb 2007 press release, Markey talking to Climate Action Day Rally:

We must redouble our efforts to ensure that we never deepen our addiction to oil and emission of greenhouse gasses by drilling in the Arctic Refuge. Drilling in the Arctic Refuge would amount to a declaration that we remain in complete denial about our oil addiction, its impact on our planet, and our obligation to future generations. It is obscene that we would even consider turning the Arctic Refuge into a filling station while refusing to get real on fuel economy

May 2007 press release, Markey states that global warming could destroy insurance industry (and blames Katrina on global warming):

Scientists have made it clear that global warming causes more severe weather events like Katrina and the recent damaging Nor’easter, and a hotter world will only precipitate more of these events,” said Rep. Markey. “Along with lives lost, and homes and businesses ruined, the sheer economic costs of more than half a trillion dollars over the past 25 years is staggering. We need to enact real solutions cutting global warming pollution to protect our economy and American families bearing the brunt of these costs.

Sept 2007 press release, Markey commenting on the projections that polar bears would mostly die in 50 years:

This is becoming a tragic metaphor for the administration’s voluntary approach to global warming — instead of meeting the challenge, the Bush administration is happy to float along, waiting to see if the planet, and polar bears, will sink or swim.

“Now that the President has said global warming is a serious problem, he must follow it with action by granting these bears a place on the endangered species list. And then he must recognize that global warming affects our favorite species—human beings—and support legislation that cuts global warming pollution to save all of us.

Here is a quote which got a bit of attention in the climate blogosphere. He was talking about an ice sheet which broke off of Greenland:

An iceberg four times the size of Manhattan has broken off Greenland, creating plenty of room for global warming deniers to start their own country.

Here’s a nice little gem about the IPCC:

I believe history will look back upon the work of the IPCC — and especially the Fourth Assessment — as the very credible force that helped the world avoid catastrophic global warming conflicts and secure an equitable energy peace.

My favorite Markey quote is below. It was said in a press release in May 2007. Here is Markey reveling in his economic ignorance:

We need mighty efforts, not minuscule ones like we are seeing from this administration. We need an 80 percent reduction in global warming pollution and a national program to get us there, not a one percent reduction that disappears with the next energy cycle.

This blip in emissions proves that moving our country away from fossil fuels can reduce heat-trapping pollution, but that we need a mandatory program to produce the steady, sizeable reductions needed to protect the climate and move towards a cleaner energy future.

I am so glad he isn’t going to be the Chairman any longer. An 80% reduction in ‘pollution’ (CO2, the stuff you need to live) would utterly destroy the US economy. Even better, he wants it to be mandatory, because he at least realizes that no one would voluntarily return to poverty. There are literally hundreds of these press releases, almost all from Markey, which resemble those above. He sings the praises of the IPCC, he points out when Mann was exonerated, he chastises Bush for everything all the time, and lauds Obama for everything all the time, etc. He is the epitome of a political tool. Chairman Markey, you will not be missed.

Other than issuing lots of rambling press releases, the committee also held hearings on climate change, and had many famous witnesses. Here are some samples.

On January 30, 2008, the committee held a hearing entitled “Learning from a Laureate: Science, Security and Sustainability.” As you may have guessed, the highlighted speaker was Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC. Markey gave the opening statement praising Pachauri and the IPCC, then Pachauri took to his usually doomsday speech. Here is a photo of the Chairmen together:

Chairman Markey along with Chairman Pachauri

Listen to the end of Pachauri’s speech:

It’s nice to know that we if we all just act together, we can save all wildlife on the planet and all of humanity too. However, Pachauri is far from the only doomsayer to testify before this committee. Dr. James Hansen has testified before them multiple times. Here’s another photo of two doomsayers:

Markey and Hansen

Hansen testified before the committee on June 23, 2008 in a hearing entitled “The Climate Threat to the Planet”. It was a celebration of the twenty-year anniversary of his first testimony before congress. I don’t know exactly what they were celebrating, since his predictions are shown to be false.

He also testified back in April of 2007, in a hearing entitled “Dangerous Climate Change“. Not surprisingly, the hearing found that……climate change is dangerous! With a title like that, who needs objective science? Hansen wasn’t alone at the committee, Dr. Judith Curry testified as well. She makes comments implying that recent hurricane activity was due to climate change. I wonder if today she would make the same statement.

Those are a few of the higher caliber hearings, but there are dozens more covering a broad range of topics. Here are some of the titles:


Select Committee Chairman Markey Brings Actor, Experts, Officials Highlight Potential of 150 MPG Vehicles

United Nations Top Climate Negotiators Appear Before Global Warming Panel –
Congress Pushing Action as World Meets to Discuss Way Forward on Warming

A Spark Neglected: Wildfires and Global Warming –
Select Committee to Examine Link Between Changing Climate, Frequency and Intensity of Wildfires

From the Wright Brothers to the Right Solutions: Curbing Soaring Aviation Emissions –
Select Committee Hearing to Examine Aviation’s Impact on Global Warming

Nuclear Power in a Warming World: Solution or Illusion?

Rising Tides, Rising Temperatures: Global Warming Effects on Oceans –
Select Committee Hearing Dives Into Climate’s Sea Changes

The Future of Oil: Peak Prices, Peak Production, Piqued Consumers –
Oil Hearing: Peak Prices, Peak Production, Piqued Consumers

Get Smart on Smart Grid –
Select Committee Hearing to Focus on Technology Solutions for Updating Nation’s Energy Grid to Incorporate Renewable Energy

Getting from Point A to Point Green –
Select Committee Hearing on Green Transportation Policies

Personally, I don’t think we will be missing anything once this committee is disbanded. Yes, there may be fewer West Wing stars visiting capital hill. It’s true, Ed Markey won’t have nearly as many opportunities to issue rambling press releases. Also, anonymous staffers won’t have to make up cheesy titles for their hearings anyone.

These are things I am willing to go without, even more, things which I will be glad to no longer pay for. I propose a toast – to the short lived Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming – may we always remember you as a hyper-partisan pseudo-scientific political sham.


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Posted by on December 1, 2010 in Politicians, Uncategorized


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