Dawn of the brain-dead House: Politico reports GOP stuffing Energy and Commerce with ‘Climate Zombies’

Yes, the Politico has picked up the technical term “Climate Zombie.”  But the real news from the inside-the-beltway gaggle is that the GOP is shrinking the House Energy and Commerce committee and stuffing it with those zombies:

GOP LINEUP CARD – Republicans yesterday opted to shrink the size of the full committee by seven seats to 52 members, reserving 30 seats for themselves. They also filled out their side of the roster, naming a dozen new members to the panel (not including Greg Walden): Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (Wash.), Pete Olson (Texas), Brian Bilbray (Calif.), Brett Guthrie (Ky.), Gregg Harper (Miss.), Bill Cassidy (La.) and first-termers Charlie Bass (N.H.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Mike Pompeo (Kan.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), David McKinley (W.Va.) and Morgan Griffith (Va.). [The list was obtained by POLITICO from multiple GOP sources; the 30-22 split comes from a source familiar with the discussions:]

‘ZOMBIES’ – Seven of the panel’s newcomers are on ThinkProgress’s “Climate Zombie” list: McMorris-Rodgers, Olson, Bilbray, Harper, Bass, Gardner and McKinley.

This isn’t good for the country, of course, but it will keep ClimateProgress busy — see Why the victory of the Tea Party extremists (backed by Big Oil) over the slightly less extreme GOP establishment (also backed by Big Oil) is good for progressives, but bad for climate and clean energy.

Credit for coining the term, ‘climate zombie’, I believe, goes to R L Miller of DailyKos (see “Attack of the climate zombies!“).  The term has ‘life’, as it were!

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36 Responses to Dawn of the brain-dead House: Politico reports GOP stuffing Energy and Commerce with ‘Climate Zombies’

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    This is essentially a lobbyist lineup, either overt (as in Brian Bilbray) or otherwise. They might as well register with business cards showing who is paying them.

    Murphy and I are planning on writing an illustrated magazine piece about the committee’s membership. They are giving us plenty of opportunities for humor.

  2. Bill W. says:

    Bilbray, I’m sad to say, is my Congressman. Do you think I can do any good by picketing in front of his local offices?

  3. Peter M says:

    With this group of Zombies it may be later then they think—-

    which in the end will be all the more fascinating to see there demise.

  4. Colorado Bob says:

    Where are the Republican Scientists?
    Daniel Sarewitz writes in Slate today about a Pew poll showing that only 6% of scientists identify as Republicans (55% are Democrats and 32% are independents), a state of affairs he finds alarming. Matt Steinglass, though perhaps less alarmed, wishes Sarewitz had spent more time trying to figure out why so few scientists are Republicans. He proposes three possibilities:

  5. paulm says:

    Here is an excellent interview on CBC with Robert Watson (the guy is so upbeat!)

    (Senior Scientific adviser to the World Bank,Chief Scientific Adviser UK, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 1997 to 2002)

    Climate Inertia: Robert Watson

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    Changes In Solar Activity Affect Local Climate
    Raimund Muscheler is a researcher at the Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at Lund University in Sweden. In the latest issue of the journal Science, he and his colleagues have described how the surface water temperature in the tropical parts of the eastern Pacific varied with the sun’s activity between 7 000 and 11 000 years ago (early Holocene).

  7. Andy says:

    All of this would be hysterical if it were a Saturday Night Live skit…but it’s not! Unfortunately, we just keep falling further and further behind.

  8. Colorado Bob says:

    “These are the fiercest rains in Panamanian history since records began. Some people say it has not rained so much in the past 5,000 years.”

  9. paulm says:

    We can address Climate Warming from the dinner table….invite your neighborly republican/denier round….

    Laurie David On ‘Parker Spitzer’: ‘Modern Life Is Tearing Us Apart’

    In addition to having family dinners every single night, David has many achievements in environmental activism, including producing the 2006 Academy Award winner, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

    David admits that she is upset by how little progress is being made toward confronting global warming, but realizes that it is not an easy battle. “I just think the forces against change are so strong, so rich, so powerful, so organized, and they’re continuing to keep the public confused and misinformed about this issue,” she says.

    David expresses concern over the growing trend of Republicans who dismiss the scientific evidence of global warming. She says that she doesn’t understand “when science became something you believe in,” noting that “facts are facts.”

  10. BobbyBob says:

    This is slightly off topic, and it is probably old news to most, but I found it a little bit shocking, and I think it says a lot. On, if you change the “Edition” to “International” rather than US (It’s a link in the top left corner to do so), you get a new section of the news called “Environment” that has stories like “Case for man-made warming increased in 2010, scientists say”, but the US edition has no such section at all!

    Not much wonder the US is having trouble convincing people of the truth–the truth is actively hidden (no surprise there, I’m just surprised by how blatant it is).

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    Colorado Bob says “These are the fiercest rains in Panamanian history since records began. Some people say it has not rained so much in the past 5,000 years.”

    The list of infrastructures critical to the US, at least through the surfaced wikicable, cites the street of panama or something from there. Ofc no reason to change anything, from the usual suspects of denying the greatest threat of humanity.

    Maybe after all humans are infiltrated from some hostile alien group, which plans to boot earth, to make room for the colonization. But well even aliens can’t be so dumb to do this, knowingly risking a runaway greenhouse hell (look there at venus). Or waiting for 100.000 years till everything settles and another 100.000 years once the “new” ecological services formed. Maybe if it wear a neighboring star in our solar system (great war scenarios come to mind). But apparently any marsian species got wiped long out ago from some major collision, yet another extinction event – just without any wrong doing.

  12. Prokaryotes says:

    The Panama Canal reopened earlier Thursday after a suspension due to heavy rains that swelled nearby lakes flowing into the key transport route, which handles five percent of global trade.

    It was the first time the entire canal was closed since the 1989 US invasion of the Central American nation.

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    Or maybe the aliens have some preemptive agenda … or maybe they are bots which are controlled by some evil virus in order to stop our species in this quadrant. Or maybe humans are flawed enough to destroy them self.

  14. paulm says:

    New energy sources vital to tackle climate change

    The president of the UK Royal Society, Lord Rees, has said that it is “essential” for governments to prepare for the worst effects of climate change.

    “Even though there is uncertainty, I think that it is essential to prepare for the worst case”.

  15. Prokaryotes says:

    NATURAL GAS; the stuff which is 25 times more potent than Co2.

    I found this also “Interesting… very interesting.”

  16. Jeff Huggins says:

    Analyze This Please: “Centrist Democrats” On The Relationship Between The Environment and “Expanding Economic Growth”

    Check out the recent article in The New York Times, titled ‘E.P.A. Delays Tougher Rules on Emissions’, by John Broder and Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

    In it, they mention a Joshua Freed, the “director of the clean energy program at Third Way, a centrist Democratic group”. They quote Mr. Freed as saying, “The administration’s number one goal over the next two years is going to be expanding economic growth. The environmental regulatory process has always played out in that context, and that’s not going to change.”

    Wow, that’s quite an interesting quote and view: Protecting the environment has always played out, and will always play out, in the larger context of the goal to expand economic growth!?

    What does Mr. Freed mean by that statement? What does he mean by “expanding economic growth”? Does he mean this in the conventional sense, as in the case of perhaps 95 percent of present-day economists, who seem to have forgotten (or perhaps never realized in the first place) that the Earth is finite? Or instead, does he mean it in the sense of some definition of “economic growth” that can ultimately be reconciled with the notion of a finite planet and with the necessity that we humans treat it, and ourselves, sustainably? If he means the latter, the quote certainly doesn’t reflect that very clearly.

    And he is (according to The Times) a “centrist Democrat”. And he’s talking about the goals of the Obama administration, i.e., a Democratic administration.

    So is this an accurate expression of how “centrist Democrats”, and Democratic administrations, see (and will always see) the relationship between the environment and the government’s responsibility to protect it? I’ll repeat the quote again:

    “The administration’s number one goal over the next two years is going to be expanding economic growth. The environmental regulatory process has always played out in that context, and that’s not going to change.”

    If this is a correct quote, and if I’ve understood it correctly, and if it correctly reflects the stance of the modern Democratic party, then we will indeed need another party, or we’ll need to redefine this stance, entirely, taking into account that (last we heard) the Earth is a finite entity and the environment is a pretty important thing.

    If this is a correct quote of Mr. Freed, and if I’ve understood it correctly, but if it doesn’t correctly reflect the stance of the folks who can genuinely be called “centrists” in the modern Democratic party, then perhaps Mr. Freed should correct himself or resign.

    Or, if this is an incorrect quote (and that has certainly happened before), or a quote taken entirely out of context and plopped into a confusing article, then Broder and Stolberg should write a retraction, apologize to Mr. Freed, and do whatever else it takes to erase the confusion they may have caused.

    It would be interesting to hear what Climate Progress thinks of that quote, and what Andy Revkin and Dot Earth think of that quote, and it would also be interesting to give Mr. Freed a chance to clarify what he meant, if he meant something other than what the quote seems to suggest.

    Be Well,


  17. Tim Williams says:

    Meanwhile…David Shukman in his painful quest to provide balance in his state of the climate science report on the BBC early evening news manages to get soudbites from Pielke Jnr and David Holland. He’d have been better off, and more ‘balanced’, to have interviewed a Cocker Spaniel and a Grapefruit.

  18. Colorado Bob says:

    Jeff Huggins @ 15 –
    Allow me to translate . Like Jack, we will be trading our cow for a hand full of beans. But unlike Jack all we will receive in exchange, is a bad case of gas.

  19. Paulm says:


    Italian town’s wind farm windfall

    Wind powers the entire town of nearly 3,000 people.

    So efficient are the turbines that they produce 30% more electricity than is needed, and so the extra is sold back to Italy’s equivalent of the national grid.

  20. Michael Tucker says:

    Regarding Republican scientists or scientists who are persuaded by Republican policy, (#3).

    I would suggest you investigate scientific fields where the chances of running into this rare creature might be increased. I would look at geologists who are currently employed by oil and mining companies. Perhaps scientists who are involved in weapons and explosives development may be more likely to be conservative? Would we have counted Dr Teller as a conservative? I think the answer is yes.

    I think a lot of scientists avoid expressing their personal views to the public.

  21. Christopher Yaun says:

    Give new meaning the phrase “Burning Down the House”.

    Arson – an action creating great risk of damage to the dwelling of another by exposure to heat.

  22. paulm says:

    Find here information on Canadian – Historical trends of geophysical and weather related disasters in Canada (1900-2002) and there costs.

    I don’t know how the current government can have this sort of information available and the scientific information on Climate Change and not 1) admit to it 2) do something about it. Its criminal.

  23. caerbannog says:

    Bill W. said:
    December 10, 2010 at 11:53 am
    Bilbray, I’m sad to say, is my Congressman. Do you think I can do any good by picketing in front of his local offices?

    It might be more effective to get a group of people together and go to Bilbray’s next “town hall” meeting to challenge him on the issue.

    Point out to him that one of the world’s leading climate-research centers (the Scripps Institution of Oceanography) is just a few minutes down I-5 from his San Diego County residence, and ask him when he last bothered to speak with any of the scientists there. If he claims that he has spoken with any of the Scripps scientists, ask him to describe specifically what he learned from them.

    If he tries to dodge the issue, remind him that as a congressman, he would have no trouble getting the “VIP treatment” should he give Scripps a call, and that he has absolutely no excuse for failing to be fully informed about the science behind global-warming.

  24. mike roddy says:

    Caerbannog, I second your suggestion. Bilbray could talk to Somerville or Munk.

  25. Peter Sergienko says:

    @ Jeff: I think one of President Obama’s worst moments during the campaign was to repeat Bush’s statement that the American lifestyle is not negotiable. I understand the politics of it, but it was gratuitous bluster and just off-putting and silly coming from such an intelligent and accomplished person. Nature’s response to our lifestyle is not negotiable. We will negotiate eventually. The longer we wait, the weaker our hand gets.

    In the short term, with 10% unemployment, the political messaging has to be about jobs. However, no Democrat should ever reinforce the jobs versus the environment meme and all Democrats should be connecting job growth to greening the economy. If we can’t even keep this much straight, maybe we do need a third party.

  26. Ziyu says:

    Prokaryotes, I’m wondering, exactly how natural gas is more potent than CO2? Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong since it’s been a while since I did chemistry. Burning natural gas (mostly methane) is a combustion reaction so

    CH4 + 2O2 => CO2 + 2H20

    Why would natural gas be more potent unless directly released into the air? The reaction only results in energy, H20, and CO2.

  27. Prokaryotes says:

    Ziyu, this article illustrates why methane exploration is a big risk.

    Ice on fire: The next fossil fuel
    Deep in the Arctic Circle, in the Messoyakha gas field of western Siberia, lies a mystery. Back in 1970, Russian engineers began pumping natural gas from beneath the permafrost and piping it east across the tundra to the Norilsk metal smelter, the biggest industrial enterprise in the Arctic.

    By the late 70s, they were on the brink of winding down the operation. According to their surveys, they had sapped nearly all the methane from the deposit. But despite their estimates, the gas just kept on coming. The field continues to power Norilsk today.

    Where is this methane coming from? The Soviet geologists initially thought it was leaking from another deposit hidden beneath the first. But their experiments revealed the opposite – the mystery methane is seeping into the well from the icy permafrost above.

    For example china/japan other countries all start to dig up this stuff from the ocean floor, raising yet another risk for potential underwater landslides and methane bulbs.

    And then you still have the Co2 plus you have a lot of other stuff from chemistry within the process. The biggest issue just look at “Gasland” Movie to see the potential long term contamination of groundwater – even with accumulation of uranium.

    Fossil energy is the biggest threat to the survival of the human species.

  28. Bill Waterhouse says:

    BobbyBob #8 – CNN US edition used to have an environment section about 5 years ago. I remember checking it regularly and then switching to BBC when it disappeared from CNN. I think I recall a post here some time ago saying CNN’s advertisers didn’t like environmental stories. Maybe someone can find it.

    On republican scientists, I wonder if this has changed over time and whether corporate scientific denialism of the tobacco-cancer link, the insanity of StarWars, the denialism of the ozone hole, and now denialism of AGW (see Niomi Orestes’ “Merchants of Death”) has driven scientists away from the politicians that espoused these views? Comment that counting economists boosts republican numbers is hilarious but too true.

  29. Paulm says:

    25# Peter,
    “American lifestyle is not negotiable.”

    agree with you there. I couldn’t believe it when I hear him say it.
    It just shows that he hadn’t quite got it.
    I hope he has now, otherwise we’re more than toast, were extinct.

  30. Roger Wehage says:

    American lifestyle is absolutely not negotiable. Why do you think all those brain-dead republicans and tea partiers got elected? Which Amaricans will be the first to give up their god-given cars, McMansions, food, luxuries, and wealth?

  31. Ziyu

    Why would natural gas be more potent unless directly released into the air? The reaction only results in energy, H20, and CO2.

    A part answer is leaping at you straight out of your own question, ‘…and CO2.’

    Another part is due to the fact that the Methane absorption band is not saturated.

    I refer you to David Archer’s excellent ‘Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast’ of which two pertinent chapters are now available here:

    Sample Chapters

    As for the Czech (double) tax on solar energy production should we be surprised considering the ideological claptrap spouted around the blogosphere by one member (and I have come across another Czech ideologue) of that now clearly dysfunctional state. Lumogate anyone?

  32. Paulm says:

    We are all going to / will have to change our LS. 

    Changing our Behavior is Best Hope to Avoid future Suffering

    “Unless large numbers of people take appropriate steps, including supporting governmental regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, our only options will be adaptation and suffering,” he wrote in the concluding paragraph. (via OSU news)

    Dr. Lonnie Thompson, a well noted climate change expert from Ohio State University warns in a newly published paper that if humans don’t moderate their use of fossil fuels, there is a real possibility that we will face the environmental, societal and economic consequences of climate change faster than we can adapt to them, according to the Ohio State University Research News.

    May, 2007: Thompson is named to receive the National Medal of Science. [4] This honor is the highest the United States can bestow upon an American scientist.
    2008: Thompson was listed as one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment.[6]

    Many are already…

  33. Greg says:

    Thanks, Jeff and Peter for “The administration’s number one goal over the next two years is going to be expanding economic growth. The environmental regulatory process has always played out in that context, and that’s not going to change.” and
    President Obama saying “the American lifestyle is not negotiable.”

    Seems pretty clear that it means BAU in terms of economic and CO2 policy. Case in point, Cancun. Attempts to inform the public and their policymakers have been less than effective, but then we don’t have the $Bs for PR and propaganda the deniers have. Eventually the truth will prevail, but probably not until climate impacts become more obvious (i.e., economically impactful), which likely will also mean irreversible. Anyway, what’s the grand strategy?

  34. riverat says:

    26. Peter Sergienko says:
    December 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    @ Jeff: I think one of President Obama’s worst moments during the campaign was to repeat Bush’s statement that the American lifestyle is not negotiable.

    Just to be clear it was George H. W. Bush, the father, who said that during his presidency. His son, who undoubtedly felt the same, may have repeated it though.