Sensenbrenner: ‘CO2 Is A Natural Gas. Does This Mean That All Of Us Need To Put Catalytic Converters On Our Noses?’

Speaking at the Heartland Institute’s climate denial conference in Chicago this afternoon, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) said that labeling heat-trapping carbon dioxide a pollutant is “propaganda.”

Sensenbrenner is a long-time climate disinformer who says that the science of man-made global warming is an “international conspiracy.” He also happens to be Vice Chair of the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology.

Blatantly ignoring the “science” part of his committee responsibilities, the Congressman today attempted to argue against the basic physics of CO2 in the atmosphere:

“CO2 is a natural gas. Does this mean that all of us need to put catalytic converters on all our noses? The fact that people think CO2 is a pollutant … basically goes into propaganda.”

The so-called “radiative forcing” of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels has contributed enough heat in the atmosphere over the last century to equal roughly half a billion Hiroshima nuclear bombs each year. As one researcher explained: “When there’s more energy radiating down on the planet than there is radiating back out to space, something’s going to have to heat up.”

Rep. Sensenbrenner took his unscientific personal conclusions one step further, saying he believed CO2 would help “crop yields go up” and make it “easier to feed 7 billion people.”

“I’m not one of the people going around saying CO2 is bad for you,” he concluded.

In fact, scientists around the world are calling man-made global warming one of the biggest threats to agricultural production. In Texas, a brutal warming-driven drought cost farmers $7.5 billion last year; In Thailand, “weather whiplash” in 2010 devastated rice crops, causing $40 billion in lost economic productivity; and in Mexico, severe drought reduced agricultural output by 40% already this year.

These incidents came as world food prices hit record highs in 2011 due to a combination of extreme weather events and rising oil prices. In the lead-up to these global price spikes, 2010 was the warmest year on record globally — with 19 nations setting all-time heat records.

Sensenbrenner delivered his speech to a crowd of roughly 200 people at the Heartland Institute’s 7th annual international climate conference — a yearly gathering for the nation’s most active climate change disinformers. The Heartland Institute has come under fire in recent weeks for a disastrous billboard campaign linking people who understand human-caused global warming to mass murderers. Since the billboard was put up, 12 companies have pulled their support for Heartland in the lead-up to the conference.

Sensenbrenner ended his speech with an appropriate anecodote. He referenced New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman, who wrote in a 2009 column that climate deniers were practicing “treason against the planet.”

“Mr. Krugman, I plead guilty as charged,” boasted Sensenbrenner — a politician who helps oversee one of the most important scientific committees in Congress.

The crowd burst into gleeful laughter.

Sensenbrenner also assured the crowd that Mitt Romney would not take action on global warming. When asked by an attendee who said he was “scared to death” that Romney would change his stance on man-made global warming and support renewable energy, Sensenbrenner replied, ” I don’t think that’s true. I talked to Romney before the Wisconsin primary.”

36 Responses to Sensenbrenner: ‘CO2 Is A Natural Gas. Does This Mean That All Of Us Need To Put Catalytic Converters On Our Noses?’

  1. Billy Snapp says:

    Sensebrenner? More like Nonsensebrenner ha ha. But seriously, there’s a big difference between oxidizing carbon that is “in” the natural cycle, and newly-introduced carbon that comes from a long-lost reservoir.

  2. Tom says:

    “Leaders” like Sensenbrenner (and most of the rest of our politicians) are precisely why we’re on the road to extinction.

    why not just build more nuke plants, since that’s going so well . . .

  3. TK Vanacoro says:

    Sensenbrenner: ‘CO2 Is A Natural Gas. Does This Mean That All Of Us Need To Put Catalytic Converters On Our Noses?’

    Let’s test that theory. Why doesnt’ Mr. Sensenbrenner have a nap in a room filled with CO2 for, oh, three hours or so.

    After he has rested, we can have a conversation about CO2 with his newly gained perspective regarding the impact of CO2 on the human body!

  4. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Senator for coal interests.

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    You look at that standard odobenidine visage and body habitus, you study the simple imbecility of the words, and then you must surely question just why we came down out of the trees, an adventure shortly to be terminated. Then, when you contemplate that our governing institutions, that we Westerns hysterically assert are the envy of the world, place creatures like this at the apex of power…well you’ve just gotta laugh.

  6. Joan Savage says:

    Wikipedia has quite a list of Wisconsin manufacturers. Many of the Wisconsin products are gasoline engines of one sort or another, or equipment that uses a high voltage power supply. Surely they have a powerful lobbying impact on Congressman Sensenbrenner.

    “Wisconsin is home to a very large and diversified manufacturing economy, with special focus on transportation and capital equipment. Major Wisconsin companies in these categories include the Kohler Company; Mercury Marine; Rockwell Automation; Johnson Controls; Seagrave Fire Apparatus; Pierce Manufacturing (fire apparatus); Briggs & Stratton; Miller Electric; Milwaukee Electric Tool Company; Bucyrus International; Joy Global Inc.; The Manitowoc Company; Modine Manufacturing Company; Reliance Controls Corporation; Super Steel Products Corp.; Ladish Co.; Oshkosh Truck; Harley-Davidson; Ashley Furniture; and the Ariens Company.”

  7. Joan Savage says:

    Bucyrus makes the mammoth mountain-top mining equipment and is based in Wisconsin, so that is more likely the coal connection.
    Here’s a video of some Bucyrus equipment in operation;

    But for the record, Sensenbrenner is congressman and no coal was recently mined in Wisconsin.

  8. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    My brother-in-law (A Harley rider) says there has never been an internal combustion engine made in Milwaukee that didn’t leak oil.

  9. Rob Jones says:

    Its pretty obvious that this imbecile has little grasp on reality. He has no understanding of what a catalytic converter actually does and similarly has no idea of what constitutes a pollutant. If you has a fair mined and unbiased media that were prepared to ask some rather simple questions of this goose then the entire country would be laughing at his ignorance. The fact that the media don’t is indeed the bigger issue here. If an about face does not happen very soon these partisan hacks in the media will be the undoing of us all. Homo sapiens indeed, it would be more accurate to describe our current generation as Homo stultus.

  10. Mike Roddy says:

    Good one, Mulga. I was going to make a comment, but yours said it better than anything I could have thought up in this spot.

  11. Charles says:

    It is truly tragic that a person with so much power–and Vice Chair of the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology to boot!–can be so scientifically illiterate.

  12. Sasparilla says:

    Very true Mulga.

  13. Deborah Stark says:

    It absolutely infuriates me that these willful obstructionists like Sensenbrenner and James Inhofe have such influence over public policy. Their relentless obfuscation of the increasingly observable impacts of climate change in progress is wasting precious time and will have a direct influence on the lives of the generations coming up behind us. I look at my granddaughters and I just cannot believe the (excuse me) f-ing insanity that is allowed to drag on and on and on when we need to be well underway with the work of mitigating the potentially worst effects of global warming.

    I’ve been watching this crap for over 15 years now and I have had it. The only thing that keeps me going at this point is that I can make every effort in my own life to use energy wisely and keep my personal impact down. This sets an example for my granddaughters and for others as well. And, guess what? I live very well and am grateful for that.

  14. Sasparilla says:

    Nonsensenbrenner definately! Good one Billy.

  15. Sasparilla says:

    It definitely should be pointed out that the folks attending this “conference” are the true believers who came to the Heartland Institute conference after its billboard fiasco – true wing nuts of the Koch empire…

    Obviously nonsensenbrenner qualifies as a partner with these folks.

    With regards to Romney and climate change or green energy I’d bet nonsensenbrenner is right on that point – the Koch (and others) driven subversion of the GOP has made supporting climate change or green energy death votes for any GOP politician – guaranteeing a primary challenge from a well funded Tea Party candidate who will more likely than not knock them off.

  16. Sasparilla says:

    Mistyped there – that’s more than likely knock them out the veteran candidate in the primary challenge.

  17. Theodore says:

    I love the picture. Very cute. It makes me wonder what could be done in photoshop with that open mouth and a catalytic converter.

  18. sailrick says:

    of course Sensenbrenner isn’t alone. GOP politicians say the darndest things.

    GOP congressman Rohrbacher suggests trees cause global warming

    Speaker of the House Boehner says CO2 emissions nothing to worry about because humans breathe CO2 in and out.

    Michelle Bachman says there have been no scientific studies showing CO2 is harmful.
    I guess she missed the 10,000 (up to about 2006) published research papers that show that CO2 causes global warming.

    GOP Rep Fred Upton says there can be no global warming because God won’t allow it to happen.
    Another brilliant Congressional committee chairman.

    Senator Inhofe;

    “Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

    Rep. Shimkus:
    “Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”

    Speaker of the House – John Boehner
    “The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical”

    Republican Joe Barton introduced Monckton to a U.S. House committee hearing as an expert witness on climate change

    Barton (R-TX) describes Christopher Monckton

    “as being generally regarded as one of the most knowledgeable, if not the most knowledgeable, experts on the skeptic side.”

    God help us

  19. reuel says:

    So the Congressman wouldn’t object if we piped our sewers into his yard? After all, poop and pee come out of our bodies as well. Was it the Romans or the French who first figured out that human waste was killing them?

    “Crap” is the only word needs to respond to statements like his.

  20. Max says:

    I believe some of the blame for Sensenbrenner’s continued presence in the House must go to the citizens he represents who have been reelecting him by overwhelming numbers for over 30 years now.

  21. David White says:

    What bothers me even more than miscreants like this are the people that keep voting them into office.

  22. Raoul says:

    Do these guys really believe the human body is a carbon-creating machine? Don’t they understand what is a natural cycle? Isn’t there some mandatory course in basic biology in the US high schools?

  23. Toby says:

    This is the conference climate scientist Professor Scott Denning attends every year, and gets a rousing reception.

    The fact that these attendees applaud both Sensenbrenner and Denning just about shows how smart they are. Officially, they regard Denning as a liar and a faker.

    Last year, Professor Denning told them they were “arguing over decimal points”. I wonder if he will respond to Sensenbrenner’s asinine remarks.

  24. Peter says:

    People like Sensenbrenner will have a ‘shelf life’ just so long. When the climate begins to unravel look for republicans to lose in mass numbers. Its only a matter of time.

  25. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    That would be Wisconsin’s 5th district, consisting of Milwaukee’s western and northern suburbs.

  26. Raul M. says:

    Joe, certainly you know that his remarks were mention for a “special” audience. He could have summed things up by saying that he is on track for a third chin and that is the way we like it.

  27. Joan Savage says:

    Sailrick, Thanks very much for the handy list. It supports the possibility that each of them has had to concoct a rationalization, as they are not consistent with each other.

  28. Mike Roddy says:

    Maybe Sensebrenner is a replicant, planted here by wizards from another planet, who hope to see our species destroyed so that they can take over.

  29. Raul M. says:

    Children’s sunglasses will rise, but the sunglasses having good UV protection is important for children to see life’s diversity.
    Again let me say for those who have not put their UV barrier contact lenses on, you should make special effort to protect your eyes.

  30. Eric Shumard says:

    Perhaps the Congressman meant to say CO2 scrubber, like the ones that the Apollo 13 astronauts improvised to prevent their death from excess CO2. The catalytic converter on a car actually produces CO2.

  31. BBHY says:

    Boehner said “the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.”

  32. Tom L says:

    He’s a replicant for sure but I think their incubators are down here with us functioning much like a vending machine. Insert your cash and out drops a botulism-swollen and very dangerous can of Pork ‘N Beans.

  33. Chris Winter says:

    It’s a strong temptation to tear this torrent of misinformation apart factoid by factoid. But that would be a waste of time. It might educate some lurkers, but it will do nothing to change this Congresscritter’s mind — or his electability.

  34. riverat says:

    Nah, they’ll just change their tune and say thy were for “sensible” mitigation all along and the D’s stood in their way. It won’t take their supporters long to forget they were against it.

  35. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    One awaits the day (from the look of him, not far off) when Mr Sensenbrenner returns to the carbon cycle himself.