The GOP’s anti-science climate zombies claimed their first victim late this week, with House Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-OH) announcing his intent to shut down the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming when Republicans take control of Congress in January.
Rep. Boehner claims he is wielding the axe in order to “save several million dollars” by shoving the climate issue back into the exclusive purview of the House Committee on Science and Technology. In fact, Boehner is proving to the public that the GOP fails to recognize the serious consequences for America’s economy, national security, public health and future generations posed by climate change.
While the Democratic leadership of the waning 111th Congress failed to get legislation passed into law to address climate change, the House global warming committee, led by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), convened dozens of important hearings and briefings featuring top climate scientists and national security experts to educate Congress and the public about the need for swift action to secure America’s energy independence, create clean energy jobs and mitigate climate change emissions. Markey’s committee also played a key role investigating the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, demonstrating its role as an important polluter watchdog in Congress.
With climate issues now shoe-horned into the House Committee of Science, there is simply no way climate change will receive the critical focus it deserves, since climate science will compete with all other scientific matters for attention from Congress.
As Chris Mooney noted on DeSmogBlog this past week, the partisan divide over climate change science is set to severely undermine efforts to deal with the greatest threat facing humanity. The GOP, Mooney says, “has drifted farther and farther away from the scientific community,” with only a small number of moderate Republicans remaining who respect science, particularly the scientific consensus on climate change.
While incoming House Speaker John Boehner thinks he’s saving millions of dollars with this move, the fact is the GOP’s climate science denial could cost the U.S. economy billions, perhaps trillions, in lost opportunities to lead the clean energy future and in growing economic burdens created by climate disruption.
Rather than ‘saving’ us, the GOP is setting the country on a dangerous course of inaction and active obstruction, leaving the rest of the world to wonder whether the U.S. is headed toward total scientific illiteracy and denial under Republican leadership.