During climate hearing, Markey asks if anti-science GOP will repeal gravity, heliocentrism, relativity

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With sardonic humor, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) mocked yesterday’s markup of legislation to overturn the scientific finding that fossil fuel pollution is causing dangerous climate change.  Brad Johnson has the hilarious story (with video).

Markey, who championed climate legislation that passed the House of Representatives in 2009, protested the energy subcommittee’s consideration of the Upton-Inhofe bill to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules on climate pollution, including its endangerment finding:

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to a bill that overturns the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet.

However, I won’t physically rise, because I’m worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating about the room.

I won’t call for the sunlight of additional hearings, for fear that Republicans might excommunicate the finding that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Instead, I’ll embody Newton’s third law of motion and be an equal and opposing force against this attack on science and on laws that will reduce America’s importation of foreign oil.

This bill will live in the House while simultaneously being dead in the Senate. It will be a legislative Schrodinger’s cat killed by the quantum mechanics of the legislative process!

Arbitrary rejection of scientific fact will not cause us to rise from our seats today. But with this bill, pollution levels will rise. Oil imports will rise. Temperatures will rise.

And with that, I yield back the balance of my time. That is, unless a rejection of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is somewhere in the chair’s amendment pile.

Watch it:

After Markey’s remarks, the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), approved the science prevention bill by a voice vote.

Brad Johnson, in a Wonk Room repost.

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36 Responses to During climate hearing, Markey asks if anti-science GOP will repeal gravity, heliocentrism, relativity

  1. “There is nothing as deceptive as an obvious fact.” -Sherlock Holmes

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Markey and Inslee give us hope, and remind me what an American can be. Thanks, and the humor helps, too.

  3. peter whitehead says:

    Obviously the pretence that the earth is round is a plot to limit economic growth – the endless flat earth is essential. Just like the original Mad Hatter, we need to move down the table when the plates are dirty.

  4. Bill W says:

    I’m sure the reference to Schrodinger’s Cat went over the heads of all the Republicans, and probably nearly all the Democrats, present at the hearing.

    I think the GOPers have more in common with Maxwell’s Daemon, trying hard to get around the laws of physics.

  5. They just have to repeal the second law of thermodynamics, and all our energy problems will disappear.

  6. Steve Metzler says:

    If he doesn’t get re-elected, Markey could consider a future career as a writer for The Onion.

    My fav Onion piece, ever:

    Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    The utmost important topic when it comes to national security, in fact the survival of the entire species and the planet as we know it since the dawn of man.

    US navy faces up to a new enemy – climate change–climate-change.html

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    … the potential influences of anthropogenic warming are reviewed in relation to an array of geological and geomorphological hazards across a range of environmental settings. A programme of focused research is advocated in order to: (i) understand better those mechanisms by which contemporary climate change may drive hazardous geological and geomorphological activity; (ii) delineate those parts of the world that are most susceptible; and (iii) provide a more robust appreciation of potential impacts for society and infrastructure.

  9. Chris Winter says:

    Senator Markey blasts the malarkey.

    I love the barely suppressed grin on the face of the woman sitting behind him as he read that statement.

  10. Ed Hummel says:

    Now if Markey could get the president to be just as sarcastic concerning all the deniers in Congress and continually hold them up to ridicule instead of trying to be nice to them, we just might convince enough undecided Americans (the true believer followers of Inhofe are beyond hope) that the situation is getting desperate and that we have to immdediately implement some drastic mitigation policies. Too bad I don’t have much hope that such a thing will come to pass before it’s too late to do much good.

  11. George Ennis says:

    Actually it is this approach that may offer a way forward. Getting Americans to laugh at the buffoons denying the science of climate change. Laughter is corrosive once it is transformed into getting people to laugh at someone or an idea. Corrosive in that it will undermine the legitimacy, political and social of the anti-science crowd.

  12. Jim Groom says:

    George @7 is on to something. There is no reason to treat these cretins with respect.

  13. cameron says:

    “After Markey’s remarks, the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), approved the science prevention bill by a voice vote.”

    Does this mean they approved the bill overturning the conclusions that fossil fuels contribute to climate change?

    If so sarcasm is a less than ideal way to challenge it, in fact it seems like a worthless gesture, a fit but not anything that is going to affect real change!

    I’m 27 and not entirely cynical yet. yet!

  14. Colorado Bob says:

    BBC –

    1841: The situation at the nuclear reactor at Fukushima seems to be worsening. Japanese authorities are now to release radioactive vapour to ease pressure, AP news agency reports. Engineers are trying to fix the cooling system to the main reactor, damaged in the quake.

    The reactor venting is necessary to keep it from exploding. Without pumps, this process lowers the water level covering the fuel rods.

    If they can’t circulate cooling water , they can’t keep this up very long.

  15. Colorado Bob says:

    1836: The power of the earthquake off north-east Japan shifted the earth’s axis by nearly 10in (25cm), reports, citing the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology. The phenomenon is not unusual for a major quake.

  16. Mike Roddy says:

    Yeah, this humor piece of mine seems to have done a little bit of good:

  17. David Smith says:

    How many Republican Congressmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Answer: Ahhh, what’s a light bulb.

  18. Seth says:

    David Smith@16:

    “How many Republican Congressmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Answer: Ahhh, what’s a light bulb.”

    Actually I think the answer is: ALL of them. One to screw in the incandescent bulb, and all the others to vote unanimously that “if incandescent light bulbs were good enough for the Founding Fathers, then they’re good enough for US!”

  19. Seth says:

    Satisfying as Markey’s little bit of snark was, I’m not sure it is smart to bait these Know Nothings with remarks about Relativity. One of their staffers might look into a physics text book, discover that relativity is somewhat baffling to the mathematically unsophisticated and then write up an amendment cancelling funding for NSF grants to physicists.

    Better to leave the Know Nothings in ignorance of the existence of difficult theoretical ideas. They didn’t hesitate to cut funding for volcano monitoring (just before an eruption) or to cut funding for tsunami monitoring (just before the current earthquake and tsunami in Japan). Cutting esoteric theoretical research would be even easier.

  20. cameron says:

    To re-iterate:

    They passed the legislation anyway?

  21. scaz says:

    I wonder if avoiding future lawsuits has any role in their present push for climate denialism.

  22. Jakob Wranne says:

    Brains at work.
    There are few things as good a tool as sincere humor.
    This I will pass on. Thank you for publishing.

  23. cameron, people are saying that it is bound to pass the full House, and then comes the battle:
    A parallel bill has been introduced in the Senate, although passage remains uncertain. President Obama has vowed to veto such legislation, which would undercut his administration’s policy of encouraging clean energy innovation with billions of dollars in support and rules that make it more costly for industry to keep spewing carbon dioxide.

    Some coal state and oilpatch Democrats in both chambers also support the legislation, so it is not certain that the president’s allies could prevent a veto override.

  24. Jay Dee Are says:

    I’m with Charles Siegel (#5), it’s time for Congress to unload that annoying second law of thermodynamics. In addition to the energy benefits (turning slothful waste heat into useful work), other benefits will also accrue. The denialist claims that the famous Kiehl and Trenberth climatological energy diagram violates the second law of thermodynamics will become moot. Farmers will be able shovel manure back into cows to recover hay. The mind boggles.

  25. dhogaza says:

    “Here is a list of 24 counterexamples: any one of them shows that the theory is incorrect.”

    Followed by 24 comments, as I sit here typing the 25th.

    Eerie …

  26. dhogaza says:


    They passed the legislation anyway?

    Passed it out of the committee, not sure when it’s scheduled for a full house vote. The full house, being full of science-denying Republicans, will, of course, also pass it.

  27. Prokaryotes says:

    Re LB’s

    Bills to Roll Back Light Bulb Efficiency Standards Not a Bright Idea

  28. colinc says:

    @24. Mike…

    That is some truly scary shit at that link! Moreover, thanks (I think?!), as it adds more evidence to my “theory” that there is NO college degree at any level in ANY field from ANY institution that can (or should) be construed as indicative of intelligence, knowledge or understanding! All those Ph.D. reviewers (and authors of that drivel) are abject morons, just like Palin, Beck, Inhofe, O’Reilly and the VAST majority of the simpleton population of this planet! Alas, it also makes me more aware that I was either born on the wrong stinking rock or about a million years too soon. The “human” species deserves nothing less than total obliteration!

  29. Solar Jim says:

    Thank you Congressman Markey!

    It takes but one bright source to light up a room of darkness.

    With time, this regressive Global Oil Party shall not stand.

  30. Marion Delgado says:

    This is why Australian blogger Tim Lambert doesn’t just do climate. The tight-knit bunch Naomi Oreskes has described so well really do anti-science and that’s all they’re doing.

  31. David B. Benson says:

    Score one voice vote for the fis, forces of ignorance and stupidity.

  32. adelady says:

    Ridicule is a very, very important tool. Often, the person(s) ridiculed don’t fully understand the issue.

    But for people who do, it’s a much stronger reinforcement. Not a serious approval yes you’re doing it right and here’s a gold star, but a laugh shared between the rational grown-ups who really know what’s going on. A bit like growing up and being accepted into the adult community of ‘those who know’ how Santa does his thing.

    And let’s face it. Those who’ve stared into the abyss need a good laugh every now and again.

  33. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Off topic:
    @Steve Metzler, post #6
    Do we know each other?

  34. Don Gisselbeck says:

    Mike at #24
    Wow! Now we have another group of out-liers to compare climate do-nothings to. Two volumes “proving” Geocentrism ?! The time, the paper, the ink! It’s worse than thinking about Charlie Sheen.

  35. Tony O'Brien says:

    However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

    GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, Sep. 17, 1796