Supported by Tea Party polluters, incoming GOP energy chair Upton flips on threat of global warming

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, incoming energy chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) joined Americans For Prosperity (AFP) president Tim Phillips — a global warming denier who pushes the dumbest denier myth — to support the lawsuits by global warming polluters against climate rules. One of the companies leading the charge against the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding is Koch Industries, the private pollution giant whose billionaire owners have been directing the Tea Party movement through its AFP front group.

Brad Johnson has the story.

Upton once considered a “moderate on environmental issues,” but has worked hard to refashion himself as a hard-right defender of pollution in recent months. Some Tea Party groups tried to block Upton from taking the gavel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, attacking his past support for energy-efficient light bulbs. Upton previously claimed that “climate change is a serious problem” and that “the world will be better off” if we reduced carbon emissions. However, in the course of the past two years “” as he received $20,000 from Koch Industries “” Upton has shifted to oppose not only cap-and-trade legislation but any form of limits on climate pollution whatsoever, instead supporting investigations against climate scientists and lawsuits against the EPA and its supposed “unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs”:

April 2009: Climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions.

June 2009: We have a unique opportunity and a responsibility to reduce emissions and preserve our economy – the American public is desperate for solutions, but a national energy tax is not the answer.

December 2009: I think we can lower our emissions. I think the world will be better off if we did that, and we can do it without cap and trade.

January 2010: No matter what we did between now and 2050, it, there was no real science to verify that it would reduce the temperature rise that some predicted. And that’s why we do need hearings.

December 2010: Moreover, the principal argument for a two-year delay is that it will allow Congress time to create its own plan for regulating carbon. This presumes that carbon is a problem in need of regulation. We are not convinced.

“We think the American consumer would prefer not to be skinned by Obama’s EPA,” Upton and Phillips wrote in the Wall Street Journal, invoking the grisly image of the president murdering his fellow citizens. The world would be better off if Upton went back to believing instead in serious solutions to serious problems.

Brad Johnson, in a ThinkProgress cross-post.

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25 Responses to Supported by Tea Party polluters, incoming GOP energy chair Upton flips on threat of global warming

  1. David B. Benson says:

    Thomas Frank, in his The Wrecking Crew, calls that sort wingers and wingnuts.

  2. DavidCOG says:

    Note the strapline on his House page: “WORKING FOR A BETTER TOMORROW”

    Maybe he didn’t finish it off: “WORKING FOR A BETTER TOMORROW FOR MY BANK ACCOUNT”

  3. Will G. says:

    Upton is a disgrace to men like Inglis.

    Joe, I’d like to see your response to the Larry Bell Forbes article that is circulating (I may have missed it). Apparently the oceans are cooling and sea levels are falling. Awesome news!

    [JR: An amazing collection of disinformation!]

  4. paulm says:

    I just dont understand the GOP.
    Why aren’t they encouraging Obama to implement a carbon price.

    Surely logic dictates that the people will rebel and vola they would then win the next election!
    They really are donkeys.

  5. Colorado Bob says:

    Joe –
    A word about all this. For geological reason’s my friends and I started a charity 11 months ago to aid Haiti ……. My name here is linked to it.

    Since that time some of our money is moving into climate relief. We are at :

    Target: £500.00
    Raised so far: £49,517.37
    9903% of our goal this year.

    Atta Boys all around ! “I’mBuying” ……. We bought boxes …. all over the fucking world. My little sister just bought $20.00 bucks of the next box. Best gift I ever got.

    We raise another £482.63 , we bought 100 boxes. Shelter for 1,000 people. Here’s our list of the boxes we’ve bought.

    They are currently working in Columbia, shelter for 8,000 people –

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    I would really like to fill that last box before 2011 . 10 bucks is currently running at 6.49 British pounds.

  7. 350 Now says:

    Clever and very funny: Sam Seder on 12/28 MS-NBC’s Countdown and his ‘meteorological/political’ report about 1 minute into Story #1.

    Also a report from Dr. Reese Halter at:

  8. Colorado Bob says:

    Raised so far: £49,517.37 ($76,250.00)
    9903% of our goal this year.

    We were just going to buy one.

  9. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #6: The weather report was cute but Halter seemed a little confused about the science.

  10. Paulm says:

    Russia & Canada are in shock over global warming. (and I guess quite few others too)

    Fossil fuel revenge
    thousands of stranded passengers in Moscow’s airports
    Hundreds of airline passengers were stranded for up to 10 hours on the tarmac at overworked Kennedy Airport

  11. Paulm says:

    Gee, I bet the insurance sector is having a merry Christmas!

    The wide spread pounding across the globe this year is just humbling (and we are only at .8c)

  12. Mike Roddy says:

    Upton, McCain, and Graham didn’t flip. Somebody like Mitch McConnell gave them a little talk, one at a time.

    The message was this: You want support from RNC? Then become a global warming denier.

  13. Jeff Huggins says:

    Getting Tired — and Want To Get Serious

    I’m getting tired of this GOP-Tea Party-Denier stuff, and I’d like to get serious, now, about how to address this stuff.

    By the way, has anyone (at CAP, or commenters) read “Challenged By Carbon: The Oil Industry and Climate Change”, by Bryan Lovell (of Cambridge, and currently the President of The Geological Society of London), and also the speech that Rex Tillerson gave at Stanford (17 Feb 2009), which can be found on ExxonMobil’s website?

    Among other things, it’s fascinating (and helpful context) to read excerpts from the transcript of a debate between BP (Greg Coleman) and ExxonMobil (Dr. Frank Sprow), held at The Geological Society of London on 26 March, 2003, included in “Challenged By Carbon”. If my understanding is correct based on googling, Dr. Sprow is a Chem Eng from both Berkeley and MIT, but he certainly shows his ExxonMobil stripes in his comments during that debate. In any case, the book provides very helpful historical context for anyone who wants to understand the ExxonMobil (and oil) issue better. Also, it’s interesting to read Tillerson’s speech at Stanford, during which he said they (ExxonMobil) favor a carbon tax.

    I’ve been gone and not reading for awhile, so I may have missed what I’m about to ask about: Is there a game-plan for this coming year? Has anyone posted anything about what CAP, ClimateProgress, the movement(s), or etc. are going to do differently, and better, starting January 1st? Also, I just finished reading Donald Brown’s historical summary of the 20-year UN climate change process, and the outcomes at Cancun, viewed from an ethical standpoint (a very helpful summary), and I conclude that we need to do some things very differently, and much more effectively, than we’ve been doing them over the last twenty years, including last year. For the most part, what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working sufficiently. Does anyone disagree? Well then, when are we going to discuss what we ought to do differently?

    (Again, I’ve missed most of the last two weeks, so please point me back to the earlier post(s) if that topic has already been addressed head-on. Thanks.)



  14. Sou says:

    Democratic countries like to pretend they are free of corruption and graft. Nothing could be further from the truth. Political bribes are par for the course – calling it lobbying and influence doesn’t make it alright.

    How did we ever get to this situation? There are too many people in positions of trust who are only too willing to send their own nations and the world into turbulence and strife in return for money and power. Power to do what, exactly? The bidding of the silent backers one presumes. Which is hardly power, is it. They are nothing but puppets.

    They will be recorded in history as weak, corrupt villains, assuming their puppeteers allow us to have a history.

  15. matt says:

    While certainly not perfect – this is the sort of coverage I would like to see in the MSM. I’ve followed Goodman for years now, after stumbling upon a book of hers which began with the story of some Australians in Timor – an event shamefully neglected in Australia’s media until that time. My apologies for being off-topic. ;)

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    So it took just $20,000 from the Kochtopus to buy our dear friend. I suppose that, allowing for 2,000 years of inflation, that it is pretty equivalent to thirty pieces of silver, and it’s our grandchildren who will have to make the ascent to Golgotha.

  17. BillD says:

    Last night I watched a really excellent NOVA program on public TV (PBS) about history of antarctic ice. It was about a very success paleo-climate drilling project to understand the history of ice on Antarctica over the last 40 million years. Research sponsored by NSF with collaborators from New Zealand, Italy and Germany. The findings supported concerns that we are closer to meling of the Antarctic ice than earlier thought. Interestingly, one of the sponsors of the program was Robert Koch. The program focused on the research of this project, and the caviats mainly outlined a situation that is more precarious than earlier thought. Not a single tilt to the denier sphere. So, we can conclude that Koch had no influence on the program’s content.

  18. Bob Doublin says:

    #12 Or maybe they just told them they could now drop the act.They were never sincere to begin with,but it was very convenient to have a few supposedly “reasonable” ones around to get the other side to waste time, energy,and money on bipartisonship that we don’t have to begin with.(And hey,why not find out what the dems are planning while they’re at it?)Makes it that much more embarrassing to the dems when they’re stabbed in the back(you know,there’s nothing more contemptible than a GULLIBLE FOOL?)

  19. John McCormick says:

    RE # 13

    Jeff: “when are we going to discuss what we ought to do differently”…..when the big green suits start talking to people other than themselves.

    John McCormick

  20. Will G. says:

    #13 Jeff: I’m not sure your position (whether your a scientists or whatever) but if you want to be on the front lines in 2011 I would call the Greenpeace Activist Network and ask to join the lead activist network.
    Join here:

  21. Mark Shapiro says:

    What to do?

    Tell your congressmen what we need. Tell your friends and your local paper, too.

    We need a clean energy economy.
    We need fair taxes on the wealthy, like we had under Truman and Eisenhower.

    Those two needs may seem unrelated, but have we noticed that the denier voices are mainly pro-billionaire, anti-government, anti-regulation, anti-tax, and anti-democrat? Read Krugman. These guys have actually, literally, rehabilitated the old Ebenezer Scrooge.

  22. Ross Hunter says:

    #13 Jeff – I’ve been gone from here quite a bit so I’m not sure what the CP team is planning for next year. I know that Hansen has concluded that has made the best headway at recruiting people and making noise. I agree also, which is why I’ve stayed with them.

    The thinking even before Cancun and now starting to crystalize is, PEOPLE. We need more numbers. We need electoral strength combined with grass roots activism.

    Now, this doesn’t mean anyone knows how to do this. But that’s the strategy, that’s the direction, and that’s where help is needed.

    2011 will see calls for action, getting to the streets, and challenging the Kochs and Exxons head on. The California success with Prop 23 was the only good thing that happened last year, but it was a great thing, and a great model to follow.

    Note that Greenpeace (and Sierra?) joined with at the last minute for 10/10/10 – note thereby that groups can unite around winning tactics.

    Sorry if this sounds simplistic or unsatisfying. That’s all I got so far – but keep your anger and look for others with it too – there are plenty. Lots of action on Facebook, a movement is trying to surface. See you at the barricades!

  23. Jeff Huggins says:

    Thank you for your comments John (Comment 19), Will (Comment 20), and Ross (Comment 22). It’s late tonight, but I’ll try to respond with a bit more in the AM. Cheers!

  24. Jeff Huggins says:

    John (Comment 19): Good point. I agree.

    Will (Comment 20): Thanks for that suggestion. Probably a good idea. I’ll look into it.

    Ross (Comment 22): Ross, thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate them. At this point, I am entirely confused about what to think of in the following sense: Although I greatly admire Bill McKibben and his hard work and efforts, as an organization and movement often confuses and frustrates me: I’ve gone to their two main worldwide events, and I enjoyed them and found them helpful in some ways, and I have (or perhaps had?) high hopes for, but my view on them going forward will depend almost entirely on three things at this point: First, do they ( understand that different, additional, and much better strategies and approaches will be (and are) needed at this point? The initial events have been helpful in some ways — but not nearly sufficient — not even close — and merely more of the same will only LOSE us vital time. Do they get that? When and how will we know (and see) that they get that? This leads to the second point, which is (in concrete terms) what are they proposing next? And that question also has to do with this: I’ve asked and offered to get together with the 350 folks in San Francisco, and (so far) they’ve been too busy to meet and get my observations and ideas. As the months come and go, that gets frustrating. I’d be happy to meet with 350, discuss the current state of affairs, share ideas, offer some suggestions, and etc. But I’m not sure what to think if they are “too busy” to meet but, at the same time, want me (and us and everyone else) to show up at the next 350 event — and to also maintain “hope” in the face of our insufficient efforts and progress. As you can tell, I’m a bit grumpy this AM, and I’m hoping that the New Year will bring better engagement, more creativity, greater effectiveness, more cooperation, and so forth, starting January 3rd.

    If will be at the right and best barricades — and creatively and effectively — then I’ll be there and see you there. That would be great. But I haven’t heard, yet, what barricades are being planned, and nobody at 350 has been interested in hearing my ideas about that. So I make the offer once more.

    Cheers for now, and looking forward to 2011!


  25. 350 Now says:

    “Let your eyes be offended by the sight of lying and deceitful men.” – Hopi Indian saying

    This insightful quote was in a post from today’s Huff Post article on Rep. Upton. Sadly applies to Sen. Graham story also in today’s 2010 website reviews.