If your doctor warns you that your arteries are clogging & you're at risk of suffering the worst impacts of heart disease, you should wait & see if you have a heart attack first before doing anything.
That's the basic message you can expect to hear from polluter allies at today's House Energy & Commerce Committee Hearing.
Of course, the committee tipped its hand on who it's really beholden to last month at its first hearing on the issue. Did it call scientists to give the first word? Nope. The committee wanted to hear first from Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Big Oil's MVP who's calling the shots on climate policy. Today's science hearing came only after climate science champions like Rep. Henry Waxman & Rep. Ed Markey demanded it.
Here at the National Wildlife Federation, we'll be tracking the hearing here & providing live updates. You can also watch the hearing online at the House Energy & Commerce Committee website. Full updates after the jump.
12:47pm: The committee hearing is wrapping up, setting the stage for a possible Thursday markup of the Upton-Inhofe Polluter Loophole Bill.
12:40pm: Rep. Waxman points out the cost of inaction on climate change. What exactly would those costs be? Check out NRDC's report.
12:35pm: Following the conversation in Twitter's #climate category, several people have pointed out the climate denying Congressmen seem only interested in talking to the scientists who agree with them. Committee room becoming an echo chamber?
12:30pm: From the UK Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg: "Good point. Inslee: Media reports climate science as a divorce trial, he said, she said. Why give equal weight to deniers?"
12:26pm: Let's not forget just how gosh darn thankful Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) was for the help of Koch Industries in getting elected.
12:21pm: A note on irony. Steel industry magnate Andrew Carnegie was called a robber baron, yet he used his wealth to found the Carnegie Institution for Science that now employs climate scientist Dr. Christopher Field. The Koch brothers are using their wealth to found political front groups that work to block pollution controls thereby expanding the Koch's personal wealth. So what do we call the Kochs? Robber barons? Or do we need to come up with something worse?
12:15pm: The Carnegie Institution's Dr. Christopher Field points out that a single day of 104 degrees F temperature can reduce corn yield by 7%. Dr. Amanda Staudt says, "Most parts of the country are projected to see MANY more days above 100 degrees F each year if carbon pollution continues unabated." Learn more in Dr. Staudt's report on Global Warming and Heat Waves.
12:12pm: Watch video from Monday of Rep. Henry Waxman detailing the role Koch Industries plays in the climate debate on Capitol Hill.
12:08pm: As committee members from coal country continue acting like this is a question of whether we should do anything on clean energy while China does nothing, I'd like to point you to this headline from September 30, 2010: China leading the world in clean energy investment.
12:04pm: Dr. Richard Somerville points out that climate scientists have moved beyond whether our climate is changing - what's scary now is the rate of change.
12:03pm: From the hearing room, Twitter's @Kate_Sheppard reports, "There are a lot more Republicans here for hearing right now, so stream of skeptic questions directed at skeptic witnesses." Where are the defenders of science?
12:01pm: Twitter's @BLKahn says, "Now GOP Rep Griffith comparing Mars to Earth by way of Vikings."
11:58am: Super quick recap of some of the top campaign contributors to a few of the loudest questioners of climate science in this hearing. Oil & gas was the top contributing industry to Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) in 2010. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) had electric utilities, mining, and oil & gas in his top 9 contributing industries. Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) had both mining and oil & gas in his top 8 contributing industries.
11:51am: Roger Pielke, Sr. says that we need to look more to causes for temperature increases other than carbon dioxide, such as black carbon (a component of soot). Dr. Amanda Staudt, climate scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, says:
Controlling black carbon would be an excellent thing to do to slow climate change a little and, more importantly, to improve air quality. But, it only explains a small fraction of worldwide temperature changes over the last century and regulating it alone will not reverse global warming. And controlling black carbon involves many of the same actions as controlling carbon dioxide.
11:47am: Rep. Jay Inslee points out that even if the great scientists from history were here, the entire Arctic ice cap would have to melt before certain members would agree that climate change is happening.
11:43am: Another general comment on hearings like this - while mainstream climate scientists will refuse to comment on political or economic issues, the polluter-friendly climate deniers will gladly say (without a shred of scientific basis or expert experience) that the transition to clean energy will surely cause economic ruin.
11:40am: Dr. Christopher Field, director of the Department of Global Ecology
at the Carnegie Institution of Washington: "As of a few years ago, most scientists were projecting the kinds of events we are seeing now might occur in the 2nd half this of century."
11:37am: On Twitter, @EJGertz points out even climate skeptic Roger Pielke, Jr. doesn't want Congress deciding which scientists get funded or how IPCC does its assessments.
11:28am: Climate scientist points out that while climate scientists have largely come to the same conclusions (that the planet is warming & man-made carbon pollution is to blame), climate contrarians are wildly divided - some think it's not happening, some think it's happening but man-made pollution is not to blame, some think it's happening & man-made pollution is to blame but it won't be so bad, etc.
11:22am: One thing you really notice at hearings like this - it's not about the science. Pollution supporters keep bringing up the stolen email affair - but don't mention that independent organizations cleared scientists of any wrongdoing - never mind asking why hackers were illegally breaking into the computers of climate scientists & immediately delivering them to polluter allies. Representatives like Kentucky's Ed Whitfield say we should keep burning Kentucky coal as fast as we can - but that's his political opinion & has nothing to do with climate science.
11:12am: A climate scientist friend just emailed me: "All these panelists are old white men. Half are more-or-less retired and no longer actively doing research. Seems like this panel is not really representing the active scientific community more broadly."
11:06am: Now we have DDT advocate Dr. Donald Roberts, Professor Emeritus,
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD. He's repeatedly said he's not a climate expert, yet has then gone on to make a series of definitive claims not only about climate science but the economic impact of carbon pollution regulation. Read the full story of DDT at NRDC's website.
11:01am: Dr. Nadelhoffer says sewer systems in the Great Lakes area weren't built for the extreme weather events we're now seeing thanks to climate change.
10:59am: Dr. Knute Nadelhoffer, director of the University of Michigan, testifying now. Learn more about the impacts of global warming on the Great Lakes at NWF.org.
10:57am: Via Twitter's @Kate_Sheppard: Zwiers - also, for example, doubled odds of heat wave in Europe in 2000. 40,000 people died b/c of that heatwave.
10:55am: Dr. Francis W. Zwiers, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium Director at the University of Victoria (British Columbia) on extreme weather: "The question we're posing to ourselves ... is whether or not humans are tilting the odds."
10:38am: Climate skeptic Dr. John R. Christy says that Congress should set aside 10% of IPCC funding for people who agree with Dr. John R. Christy. Wait, the Republican witness is demanding taxpayer funding?
10:33am: "We have a window to act, but it closes soon ... the sooner we act, the lower the cost, and the greater the chances of success." - Dr. Richard Somerville, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California-San Diego
10:25am: Rep. Waxman uses the health example in a slightly different way - if my doctor told me I had cancer, I wouldn't scour the country to find someone who said I didn't need to be treated.
10:17am: Read a great primer on today's witnesses courtesy ClimateProgress.org.
10:13am: Rep. Rush showed off a large version of this cartoon.
10:08am: Member opening statements are typically not all that enthralling - while we're waiting for testimony, I'd recommend you check out an op-ed from four top climate scientists that ran in Politico today.
10:03am: Opening statements are underway.