In previously unreported remarks, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the top candidate for the chairmanship of the House energy committee, questioned the science of manmade global warming and called for Congressional hearings to investigate climate scientists. On January 14, 2010, Upton participated in a panel challenging the scientific consensus that fossil pollution is destabilizing the climate, arranged by Detroit News in conjunction with the 2010 North American International Auto Show. Moderated by global warming denier and right-wing radio host Frank Beckmann, “Are Green Auto Rules Based On Flawed Science?” also featured industry deniers Pat Michaels and Myron Ebell. When asked if “the emails from East Anglia University that seem to show a pattern of concealment at the least, deception at the extreme” should “affect climate policy here in the United States,” Upton claimed that there is “no real science” that supports climate policy and then called for Climategate hearings:
All of the steps Americans were going to take, businesses and individuals, the added costs that we were going to incur — Consumers Energy told us just because of cap-and-trade, energy costs would rise in Michigan by almost 40 percent by 2020. Are any of those incurred costs actually going to impact the rising temperature of debate? The answer was no. No matter what we did between now and 2050, it, 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.
In fact, the threat of global warming pollution has been understood since the 1950s. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that the enactment of U.S. climate legislation would greatly impact rising temperatures, reducing the risk of warming by 2 C from 99 percent to 25 percent, and the risk of 4 C warming from 32 percent to practically zero. That is why the National Academies of Science recommended in May that the United States “act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Upton is just one of several top House Republicans who have called for a witch hunt against practicing climate scientists. After Upton’s remarks in January, the scientists have been repeatedly exonerated of the unfounded charges of conspiracy and corruption laid against them by the right wing. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), in line to take over the oversight committee, has repeatedly called for hearings, and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) hopes to use the global warming committee to investigate scientists. Upton’s challenger, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), also wants to launch McCarthyite show trials on climate science.
The Wonk Room previously reported that Upton was “the only candidate to take over the House Committee on Energy and Commerce who doesn’t explicitly question the science of manmade global warming.” We regret the error.