Democrats roll out climate change big guns, Republicans remain immune

Climate hearing appears to fail to sway Republicans before Thursday’s vote on curbing Obama‘s green ambitions

Rep. Henry Waxman

California Democrat Henry Waxman described the Republican's bill as 'breathtakingly irresponsible'. Photograph: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Democrats have attempted to get Republicans to confront the science on climate change, in an effort to halt moves to block regulation of greenhouse gas pollution. But it’s not clear that the appeal to reason worked.

In an increasingly contentious hearing, Republicans insisted that science on climate change was “not settled” or accused world-recognised experts who had been called to testify of holding “elitist and arrogant views”.

“They literally just try to make somebody out to be a flat earther if they disagree in a scientific way,” complained Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise.

Democrats had pushed for Tuesday’s hearings in the hopes that testimony from climate scientists might give Republicans second thoughts in their moves to strip the Obama adminsitration of its powers to act on climate change.

Republicans are set to move as early as Thursday to vote on the bill that would achieve this. It would permanently block the Environmental Protection Agency from reducing greenhouse gas emissions from factories and would block any further reductions of car exhaust emissions after 2016.

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2 Responses to Democrats roll out climate change big guns, Republicans remain immune

  1. George Ennis says:

    These hearings never were about trying to understand the climate science. They are just an effort to provide a fig leaf to the naked efforts of the GOP to destroy any ability of the the US government either to measure, mitigate or manage climate change.

  2. Alan Burke says:

    Into ignorance

    Vote to overturn an aspect of climate science marks a worrying trend in US Congress.

    As Nature went to press [2011-03-16], a committee of the US Congress was poised to pass legislation that would overturn a scientific finding on the dangers of global warming. The Republican-sponsored bill is intended to prevent the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions, which the agency declared a threat to public welfare in 2009. That assessment serves as the EPA’s legal basis for regulation, so repealing the ‘endangerment finding’ would eliminate its authority over greenhouse gases.

    That this finding is scientifically sound had no bearing on the decision to push the legislation, and Republicans on the House of Representatives’ energy and commerce committee have made clear their disdain for climate science. At a subcommittee hearing on 14 March, anger and distrust were directed at scientists and respected scientific societies. Misinformation was presented as fact, truth was twisted and nobody showed any inclination to listen to scientists, let alone learn from them. It has been an embarrassing display, not just for the Republican Party but also for Congress and the US citizens it represents.

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    Nature 471, 265–266, 17 March 2011, doi:10.1038/471265b

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