When the anti-science crowd first took over in the Gingrich Congress, I had the pleasure of testifying in front of Dana Rohrabacher’s House subcommittee three times.
The former Reagan speechwriter is a garrulous and affable politician, but a hard-core and implacable denier — so dead set against anything that smacks of climate, that he worked hard to shut down every applied clean energy program at the Department of Energy. Heck, he helped zero out the urban heat island mitigation program — which was arguably the single most cost-effective climate and clean air strategy ever devised, encompassing adaptation, mitigation, geo-engineering and smog reduction — simply because it was part of the President’s climate action plan and we called it “Cool Communities.”
Now, Politico reports, the pro-nuke, anti-climate California Republican is battling Ralph Hall (R-TX) to chair the House Science Committee:
Rohrabacher gave his roughly 25-minute pitch to the House GOP steering committee Monday and said the Science panel should be used to spur the next generation of nuclear energy and give a platform to those that question or outright reject science suggesting that humans are causing global warming.
The panel “needs to be used as a bully pulpit because many of the issues brought up by the Democrats is based on phony science,” Rohrabacher told POLITICO. This especially is true of global warming, “which is a total fraud,” he said. “We need to make sure that the Science Committee has a debate which both sides can equally present their sides.”
Rohrabacher once joked that dinosaur gas might be the cause behind global warming.
“We don’t know what those other cycles were caused by in the past,” he said at a February 2007 hearing. “Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?”
If only he were joking. He is deadly serious about his denial.
Rohrbacher sparred with Richard Alley about the causes of past warming at the recent House hearing on climate science. As Climate Science Watch put it:
This exchange, on whether human activity is responsible for significant warming and what can be learned from the advance and retreat of ice sheets and glaciers, is a case study of a politician with a predetermined conclusion and political agenda showing more interest in using a scientist as a foil than in learning from him. Alley took him on so effectively that Rohrabacher finally escaped by switching his attention to Pat Michaels and letting him have the last word.
For those are interested in what does control Earth’s temperature, see:
- In must-see AGU video, Richard Alley explains “The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History.”
- How carbon dioxide controls earth’s temperature, NASA’s Lacis: “There is no viable alternative to counteract global warming except through direct human effort to reduce the atmospheric CO2 level.”
What is oxymoronic, though, as my colleague Richard Caperton put it, is that nuclear power is so damn expensive and logistically complicated, that “if you don’t believe in climate change, there’s pretty much zero reason to invest in nuclear power” (see “Intro to nuclear power” and “Nuclear Bombshell: $26 Billion cost “” $10,800 per kilowatt! “” killed Ontario nuclear bid“).
The deniers who don’t care about the impact of carbon emissions should be cheering the rise of plentiful, low-cost natural gas, which is essentially the death knell for nuclear power (see Exelon’s Rowe: Low gas prices and no carbon price push back nuclear renaissance a “decade, maybe two”). But then, consistency and logic were never the strong suits of the Gingrich crowd.
For the record, Hall would only be a ‘better’ chair in the Bizarro world we now find ourselves in:
“I’ve had people tell me if we had all the money in the world, put it in Texas Stadium, people couldn’t change nature’s future one iota,” Hall told POLITICO earlier this month. Next year, he pledged to have witnesses “testify under oath what the facts are and not to throw away money on something that has real question whether or not it’s going to do what they say.”
Well, if you had all the money in the world and you put into Texas Stadium, then, no, I don’t suppose you could change nature’s future one iota. But if you took a few percent of the world’s money and put it into energy efficient and low-carbon technologies and infrastructure, then yes, you could change the future rather dramatically (see “Introduction to climate economics: Why even strong climate action has such a low total cost“).
No matter who wins the House Science Committee gavel battle, we face a descent back into the Dark Ages.