Rep. Barton: Climate change is ˜natural, humans should just ˜get shade — invites ‘expert’ TVMOB (!) to testify

The conservative movement stagnation has never had a serious strategy for responding to major global environmental problems (see “Hill conservatives reject all 3 climate strategies“). Two decades ago, Secretary of the Interior, Donald P. Hodel proposed a “personal protection plan,” at a meeting of President Reagan’s Council on Domestic Policy, suggesting that “hats, sunglasses and sun screens could be effective alternatives to an international treaty as a way of protecting people from the ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth because of depletion of the ozone layer.” Guest blogger Satyam Khanna has news on a modern-day Hodel in a post first published by Think Progress. I add comments on the GOP’s “expert” witness, The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (aka TVMOB) at the end.

In a hearing Wednesday on adapting to climate change, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) denied the consensus on man-made climate change, saying it is “natural.” His solution to the warming planet? Just get some “shade”:

BARTON: I believe that Earth’s climate is changing, but I think it’s changing for natural variation reasons. And I think man-kind has been adopting, or adapting, to climate as long as man has walked the Earth. When it rains we find shelter. When it’s hot, we get shade. When it’s cold, we find a warm place to stay. Adaptation is the practical, affordable, utterly natural reflex response to nature when the planet is heating or cooling, as it always is.

“Nature doesn’t seem to adjust to people as much as people adjust to nature,” he added. “Adaptation to shifts in temperature is not that difficult.” Watch it:

Last year, Barton — known as “Smokey Joe” for his efforts on behalf of big polluters — stalled congressional efforts to decrease power plant emissions.

twit3.gifJR: Amazingly, Barton had called as the GOP’s expert witness The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, as he prefers to call himself, or TVMOB, as I will call him because, damn, the acronym is just too sweet. Barton says (here) “I especially want to thank Lord Monckton for testifying. He is generally acknowledged as one of the most knowledgeable, if not the most knowledgeable, expert from a skeptical point of view on this issue of climate change.”

For a different view of TVMOB, see “How to diss-a-peer: Real Climate Scientists take on TVMOB” and “Irony-gate: Viscount Monckton, a British peer, says his paper was peer-reviewed by a scientist.

[Please note that the picture above is not TVMOB nor do I think he would ever participate in this.]

Related head-in-the-sand conservatives:

18 Responses to Rep. Barton: Climate change is ˜natural, humans should just ˜get shade — invites ‘expert’ TVMOB (!) to testify

  1. Bob Wallace says:

    Remember, Reagan’s solution to the ozone hole was that people should wear sunglasses. (Damn the skin cancer. Full speed ahead!)

    It’s a Republican tradition to give half-assed answers to big problems…

  2. cugel says:

    Munchkin (aka Baron Monckhausen) has a talent for self-promotion, at least in the US. Is there something about US conservatives that makes them go gooey over a British “aristocrat”? (Third-generation Viscountcy awarded for royal bag-carrying; there are Boy Scout badges which carry more kudos.)

    Here in the UK he’s just another chinless wonder.

    “He is generally acknowledged as one of the most knowledgeable, if not the most knowledgeable, expert from a skeptical point of view on this issue of climate change.”

    That’s got to to spark some resentment. Lindzen, for instance, was on the case for decades before this johnny-come-lately chimed in.

  3. Ronald says:


    But then we have a Representative from the state I live in (I don’t want to say my state because of embarrassment) that questions the Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve Chairman, on what in the U.S. Constitution gives them the power to do the things they do in their positions. That she doesn’t know that Congress is called out in the Constitution to Legislate and the President is to carry out those laws goes a long way to explain how bad we are off with these people. She was later on Hannities radio show as some type of hero. scarry.

  4. half-assed answers to big problems…

    His answers fall short of half assed by many orders of magnitude.

    On a related note, Don McLeroy and the Texas Board of Education.

    Answer me this supergeniuses, where is the freakin outrage here?

  5. Theodore says:

    Popular values are changing. People once generally supported universal sufferage. The problem with that is that persons of less intelligence elect their own kind. So, how many of you still support voting rights for the slow ones among us?

    I support an aristocracy of intellectual merit. Forget democracy. It doesn’t work. It’s time for constitutional reform.

  6. Col says:

    According to the AFP, there is a real religious dimension to the testimony. Any reactions Joe?

    …” Addressing the hearing on the “balanced Biblical view” for environment and development issues, Pastor Calvin Beisner — national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance, a coalition of clergy, theologians and religious leaders — questioned proposed efforts to combat climate change.

    “I am convinced that policies meant to reduce alleged carbon dioxide-induced global warming will be destructive,” he said.

    “The Biblical world view sees Earth and its ecosystems as the effect of a wise God’s creation and … therefore robust, resilient, and self regulating, like the product of any good engineer.”

    Beisner argued that policies to reduce carbon emissions would destroy jobs and be prohibitively expensive.”….


  7. paulm says:

    He has no idea…

  8. Maarten says:

    I just watched the video showing Mr. Barton TX: Robotic moron, or moronic robot? He doesn’t seem to believe or understand what is reading, it’s so lifeless, probably just meant as a distraction; at which he succeeded: We still don’t discuss SOLUTIONS.

  9. Aaron d says:

    It still amazes me that these people can recite out and out lies to other members of congress. Any half-whit with a computer can look up info on the so medieval warming period yet this guy feels comfortable saying whatever chris monckton tells him to be true.

  10. MarkO says:

    I am outraged at your use of an image of a ‘Twit of the Year’ award winner. Please, please, do not disrespect twits around the world by associating them with deniers/delayers. A twit will use a gun to commit suicide (even if it requires repeated attempts due to poor aim) and would never choose a method that would take all of civilization with him!

  11. DavidCOG says:

    An essential piece of reading for help in understanding the mindset of Britain’s favourite Denier:

  12. Gail says:

    I love the analogy of using shade as protection from the heat.

    Today, I had to back out of a long, narrow, rural dirt road because it was closed due to massive equipment blockage, removing trees. I was a bit peeved because there was no sign advising the road was impassible, and stopped to complain with the fellow who was waving me back. He explained that his private company, hired by JCP&L, cannot legally close the road so that meant effectively, it was open, as long as I didn’t mind sitting around for several hours for them to move out of the way.

    Since I was going to be hideously late to my appointment anyway, I decided to ask him some questions.

    As you are in the business, I enquired, I wonder have you noticed that all the trees are dying?

    Well, he allowed, yeah, a lot of them…

    No, no, I interrupted. Can we say ALL of them???

    Well, yeah, he said, they really are all dying. We’ve taken down 100 this month for the utility, never seen anything like it.

    WHY isn’t anyone noticing? I demanded. It’s like everyone is deranged.

    He said, Ya know, most people just don’t care.

  13. Alex says:

    Col, it’s interesting that people like Barton don’t consider the other possibility. As I suggested on my blog:

    For those with a Bible-based perspective, the question becomes whether there’s direct divine control over Earth’s life-supporting systems (thus we can freely trash them), or whether a quasi-equilibrium has been set up that allows our actions (born out of free will) to show either stewardship or disregard. And which seems more responsible: To assume the former because it’s easy and convenient, or the latter because it’s not worth gambling with the future? Rather than selectively interpreting the Bible as supporting careless plunder, several religious groups have decided it’s best to err on the side of caution, and accept some responsibility for the environment that sustains us.

  14. jorleh says:

    What to do with the “deniers”? Too much energy wasted for nothing.

    I would recommend not to take notice of them at all. That mob is like creationists, nothing to do with science. They must be put in their own anti-science dungeon to rot there.

  15. Col says:

    Thanks Alex.

    I don’t know what to make of those types of interpretations of the Bible and those types of religious folks. I know a lot of people who believe in God and see that as a reason to do more about the environment, not less. They see science as the study of the work of a creator and to the extent that this creator speaks through that creation, science is a way to listen to that creator. The creator, in this view, is saying through science, “my system I’ve built is self-regulating you out of itself because of what you’re doing”. They think of free-will and knowledge within these parameters as clearly meaning, “Change your ways to fit harmoniously within the system … or die”.

    I don’t know what to make of that religious take any more than the previous. But I like the conclusion better.

  16. Linda S says:

    Maybe we could take all the deniers, drop them in the ocean, and see if they augument the ability of the world’s waters to absorb CO2. Finally, a use for them! (Shark bait if the first intention fails)

    I know I’m being really snarky and that helps less than zero, but really — the world has suffered enough of these guys!

  17. J4zonian says:

    Alex, Col,

    I think you misoverestimate the rationality of humans. We do not look at the arguments and pick the rational one; almost exclusively we feel emotions and then pick verbal explanations and justifications (in story form) that make us feel OK because they’re internally consistent with the emotions, and the acts the emotions make us commit.

    The emotions themselves are made unconscious by our systematic (although also unconscious) training as children to be unaware of and unresponsive to our own inner wisdom (which is also physio-emotionally based).

    The dominant emotions in our society are fear, grief and rage (in conservatives’ case, because of the sense of abandonment and aloneness-in-a-dangerous-world they feel.) Fix that, and you can then change the story they tell themselves and the arguments they will believe. Make a conservative feel safe and connected, and you can cure him/her of his/her conservatism.

    I realize liberals have our own pathologies that need to be healed, so let’s get right on it. Become aware today! Get into therapy! Make today the first Love A Reactionary Day of the rest of your life!

  18. mel says:

    Most of the politicians and even a few of the scientists where I live are total deniers even though a main part of our economy is a national lab where climate change research is funded. Alas they do have an outsized influence on public policy. I think the nation has already decided what to do about climate change–nothing. Without a carbon tax or cap and trade there can be no real progress. This will not happen–not even with the Democrats in charge.