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Amendment on climate science
Above is the amendment that Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky tried to attach to a bill Republicans on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce passed Tuesday. The bill, H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act, would block the Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing a rule to curtail carbon emissions of new coal- and natural gas-fired power plants until technology for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide has been used successfully in six states for one year.

As Schakowsky, California Rep. Henry Waxman and other Democrats on the committee lamented at the hearing—which you can view in full here—delaying the emissions rule is backwards thinking. As Rep. John Dingell of Michigan said, the bill is a waste of time because it will never clear the Senate or be signed by the president.

But Republicans on the committee went further than voting for this myopic proposal. Twenty-four of them present for the vote rejected Schakowsky's amendment flat-out. The 20 Democrats there voted for it.

Schakowsky got five minutes to make her case. Here's a shortened version:

Jan Schakowsky, September 2010
Try again in 2050, Congresswoman.
Three years ago, this committee reported out a bill to block EPA action on climate change, the Upton-Inhofe bill. On the House floor, Ranking Member Waxman offered an amendment to that bill stating that Congress accept EPA's finding that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activity, and poses significant risk for public health and welfare. Two hundred and thirty-seven House Republicans voted against that simple statement of scientific fact. Only one voted for it.

And here we are again, three years later, considering yet another Republican bill to weaken the Clean Air Act and block EPA from cutting carbon pollution and addressing climate change. The Republicans have remained obstinate in their refusal to take action on climate.

But year after year, the science behind climate change has become even more certain. In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, released a new report with urgent warnings. IPCC concluded that warming of the climate system is, quote, unequivocal, unquote, and that the observed changes since the 1950s are, quote, unprecedented over decades to millennia, unquote. Moreover, the evidence showing that humans are the primary driver of this warming has grown since the last IPCC report in 2007. [...] It is reckless and irresponsible for this committee to continue to ignore the warnings of the world's best climate scientists and our business leaders.

Not acting now to address climate change, she said, means acting in the future will be more costly and more difficult.

This, of course, makes no never mind to the likes of Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, who suggested a reading list for Schakowsky. It was made up mostly of notorious climate-change deniers.

Shimkus was unable to keep from inserting a sneer in his criticism, asserting that the scientists who want Congress to take the stance contained in Schakowsky's amendment are doing so for "taxpayers' dollars." Given the campaign contributions and grants from Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil and other corporadoes to deniers in and out of Congress, that assessment is a hoot. If the issue weren't so serious, it would be tempting to phone up Shimkus and deliver a couple of minutes of non-stop laughter. But the rejection of Schakowsky's amendment, like Waxman's three years ago, is anything but funny. On the contrary, as the congresswoman said, it is reckless and irresponsible.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 01:41 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and Daily Kos.

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