The lede from Reuters this morning regarding the political impact of super storm Sandy:
Oct 31 (Reuters Point Carbon) - Monday's mammoth storm that caused severe flooding, damage and fatalities to the eastern U.S. will raise pressure on Congress and the next president to address the impacts of climate change as the price tag for extreme weather disasters escalates. [...]
Jennifer Morgan and Kevin Kennedy of the World Resources Institute, wrote in a blog post Tuesday that the silence on climate change on the campaign trail was "extremely troubling" given the recent spate of extreme weather events and their economic impacts.
"We need our elected officials to break their silence on climate change. Whether climate change comes up in the final days of the campaign or not, the next president and Congress will need to step up and do more on this issue," they wrote.
The staff at Reuters can say whatever they wish, but if Republicans win the election, we will continue to see climate change ignored, dismissed and derided. Remember that the chairman of the House Science committee, Rep. Ralph Hall said this about climate change research:
Hall told National Journal that he's "pretty close" to the views of his fellow Texan, Governor Rick Perry, in feeling that climate science may be an idea hatched by scientists to garner federal funding for their research. And when NJ pointed to an article saying that nearly all climate researchers think human activity has led to global warming by increasing greenhouse gas emissions, Hall replied, "And they each get $5000 for every report like that they give out." ...
In an interview with National Journal last year, Hall was asked about climate change and said, "I don't think we can control what God controls."
Here's a rundown on the views of current Republicans on the Science Committee (via Facing South:
Rep. Paul Broun, MD, (R-Ga):
"God's word is true. I've come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell.
Broun has also said, regarding climate change:
[T]hat climate change is nothing but a “hoax” that has been “perpetrated out of the scientific community.”
Vice Chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.),:
Sensenbrenner is another climate science contrarian. In a 2009 interview with a conservative talk radio host, he claimed that science on global warming is "inconclusive." He also asserted that "temperatures peaked out globally in 1998," when in fact nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since 2000, according to NASA. Sensenbrenner has said he believes solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles that anything humans do, even though scientists have found changes in solar brightness are too weak to explain changes in the earth's climate.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.):
Rohrabacher has made a number of scientifically questionable statements, including the idea that an earlier period of global warming may have been caused by "dinosaur flatulence." Last year, after coming under fire for seeming to suggest that if global warming is real it could be addressed by cutting down trees (when in fact forests reduce global warming by absorbing atmospheric carbon), he issued a statement saying, "I do not believe that CO2 is a cause of global warming."
These are the men in charge of deciding what bills related to Science funding gets out of the Science committee. Do you think devastating wildfires, heatwaves and drought the last decade, much less the mammoth (pun intended) super storm Sandy are going to change their views, particularly if a Republican is in the White House? No, until Republicans such as these (and do you know of many who do not profess similar view getting elected?) are no longer in office, our Congress will only act to weaken or eliminate laws and regulations regarding mitigation of climate change. So long as they are in power, at best a Democratic President and/or Senate can keep the harm they can do to a minimum, but no real legislation dealing with the devastating consequences of continuing to dump gigatons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere will come out of Congress.
Global carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel combustion reached a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2011, according to preliminary estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA). This represents an increase of 1.0 Gt on 2010, or 3.2%. Coal accounted for 45% of total energy-related CO2 emissions in 2011, followed by oil (35%) and natural gas (20%).
Instead, we will continue to see a Noah's ark of anti-environmental legislation to eliminate regulations related to air and water pollution, including any action by the EPA on carbon emissions, much like last year.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Rep. Edward J. Markey, and Rep. Howard L. Berman released a new report that provides a detailed analysis of the anti-environment record of the House in the 112th Congress. In the first session, the House Republicans voted 191 times to weaken environmental protections.
“The House Republican assault on the environment has been reckless and relentless,” said Rep. Waxman. “In bill after bill, for one industry after another, the House has been voting to roll back environmental laws and endanger public health. The Republican anti-environment agenda is completely out-of-touch with what the American public wants.”
“House Republicans didn’t wait until Christmas to hand out gifts to polluting industries. They’ve been doing it all year long, amassing the worst environmental record of any Congress in history,” said Rep. Markey. “These votes are just a preview of coming attractions if the fossil fuel industries get their way and place more Republicans in Congress and the White House. With that kind of cast, anti-environmental blockbusters will be the norm, sending more mercury into our kids, more air pollution into our lungs, and more carbon pollution into our atmosphere.”
So with all due respect to the author of the Reuters article that Congress and the President, Romney or Obama, will be forced to deal with climate change next year, the chances of that happening, despite all the evidence, despite the massive damage of climate related events such as Sandy, are zilch. As long as Republicans like Ralph Hall, Paul Broun, James Sensenbrenner, Dana Rohrabacher and the current Republican leadership who put these men on the House Science committee control Congress nothing will be done. And if Romney is elected and the Senate flips, expect all those anti-environmental bills House Republicans voted on last year to be re-introduced in Congress and signed into law by Romney.
As noted Fox News commentator Sarah Palin would say, "You Betcha!"