Last night on Fox News’ Red Eye, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) explained to host Greg Gutfeld why he does not believe that human activity is causing global warming. McCotter, who is the chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee, a GOP group charged with helping Republican lawmakers come up with legislative ideas, has used his global warming denials as a pretense for fighting to block cap-and-trade proposals.
Environmental groups have declared that McCotter is a “Caveman Congressman.” The satirical Caveman Energy Caucus website notes that lawmakers like McCotter have “chosen OLD energy when they voted no” on Waxman-Markey clean energy legislation. Ironically, as he explained his backwards denial of settled climate change science, McCotter cited the experience of his cavemen namesake to note that the melting of glaciers had a positive effect:
MCCOTTER: Remember, the people who talk about the melting of the glaciers and others, imagine if you were in a peninsula around 1,000 BC or so or earlier and your name was Tor and you’re out huntin’ mastodon. And you didn’t notice that the glaciers were melting and leaving the devastating flooding in its wake that became the Great Lakes in the state of Michigan.
So I think what we have to do is go back in history and look at this and realize that the Earth has been here a long time and they’ve selected periods of time and say somehow this proves there’s a manmade global warming occurring is absolutely wrong. We have to look at the different periods of history, we have to look at the different effects, and then we have to have direct empirical data to correlate between man’s activity and the effect on the planet, and that is yet to be proven and highly doubt that it’s going to be any time soon.
McCotter is wrong on several fronts. First, the glacial melt which formed the Great Lakes occurred between a period of 15,000 and 10,000 BC, not 1,000 BC, as McCotter claims. But we do not have to look to the past to see shrinking glaciers. Global warming is currently melting 18,000 Himalayan glaciers — the largest concentration of glaciers outside the great polar ice sheets. The global trend of melting glaciers has only accelerated, with 2009 marked as the 18th consecutive year glaciers around the world have decreased in size.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has conclusively shown that carbon emissions, caused chiefly by the burning of fossil fuels, are the largest contributor to global warming. If McCotter is interested in what sets this “period in history” apart, he should know that every single year of this century (2001-2008) has been among the top ten warmest years since instrumental records began.
Cross-posted on ThinkProgress.