At a public forum today, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the new head of the House energy committee, denied that climate change is manmade. Upton, who received $20,000 from Koch Industries in his most recent campaign, had called for a reduction in greenhouse emissions as recently as June 2009. Upton has now introduced legislation with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) to overturn the scientific finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that greenhouse pollution threatens public health. This morning, Upton was pressed by National Journal‘s Ron Brownstein as to why the Upton-Inhofe bill describes climate change as “possible.” After repeated attempts to avoid the question, Upton finally explained his wide-straddling stance: he accepts that the planet is warming, but not that the billions of tons of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity are a cause:
I have said many times, and there was a report a couple of weeks ago that in fact you look at this last year, it was the warmest year in the last decade, I think was the numbers that came out. I don’t — I accept that. I do not say that it is man-made.
Upton then repeated the falsehood that “even if cap-and-trade had been enacted, it would not have changed the temperature by a tenth of a degree anywhere in the world.”
In reality, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that U.S. cap-and-trade would avoid several degrees of catastrophic warming. And 2010 was not just the hottest year this decade, but the hottest year in recorded history. This is why the National Academies of Science found last year that “climate change is occurring and is caused in large part by human activities” and that the United States should “act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Instead, tomorrow Upton will hold a hearing with several witnesses funded by Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries to praise the Upton-Inhofe pollution act.