Ostriches of a feather stick their heads in the sand together.
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) is a true champion of the antiscience wing of the conservative movement stagnation (see Rep. Shimkus: Cutting CO2 emissions is “Taking away plant food from the atmosphere”). [Note to self: It isn’t a wing of the right wing that is anti-science, it’s the whole damn conservative bird ostrich.]
He knows with 100% certainty that humans can’t cause devastating sea level rise because God said in the Bible he would “never again” devastate humans with a flood again:
[Note to Shimkus: If you believe “God’s word is infallible, unchanging” why do you then talk about “The Age of the dinosaurs,” when CO2 concentrations were 4000 ppm? Seriously, I missed that part of the Bible. If you are going to base your decision-making on absolutist religious beliefs, fine, but then spare me the science lecture. For those who do quote science, it’s worth noting that a 2008 study in Science (subs. req’d) of the Cretaceous [aka the heyday of the dinosaurs] found “sea level that is 170 meters [550 feet!] higher than it is today.“ Of course, much of the United States was a shallow sea during the Cretaceous (see figure below). Irony can be so ironic!]
That is old news. A lead profile of Shimkus in E&E Daily (subs. req’d), however, makes some “birds of a feather” news with this amazing quote from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee:
“He’s one of my champions,” Barton said. “I wish I had another dozen John Shimkuses on the committee.” Barton called Shimkus “one of the Knights of the Roundtable that you’d put on the field and you’d have confidence that he could win.”
[Note to Barton: Shimkus doesn’t look like an expert jouster to me. And I also wonder about whether he would participate in pagan rituals, let alone a brutal fight when I though the Bible is all about turning the other cheek. Also, all that Merlin magic stuff from the days of King Arthur is, of course, blasphemous. So you might want to come up with a better metaphor.]
Of course, what does one expect from Barton (see Rep. Barton: Climate change is ‘natural,’ humans should just ‘get shade’ “” invites ‘expert’ TVMOB to testify).
It’s like the saying goes, ostriches of a feather stick their heads in the sand together.
Here are other nonsensical and/or self-contradictory statements by a man who believes the Bible is word for word absolutely accurate:
As for other sources of climate science that inform his decisions, Shimkus said, “I taught world history. I understand there was an ice age … seasons come and seasons go.”
“I do not believe the world’s going to end because of the 2 percent man-made greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere,” he said. “And even if it were, we’re not going to stop it.”
Greenhouse gases actually comprise about 1 percent of the atmosphere, according to a climate scientist with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. But the level of those gases has increased because of human activity and is the highest it has been in 650,000 years, said James Hurrell, senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
“Humans have clearly upset the balance and significantly altered an important part of the climate system,” Hurrell said.
The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in 2007, states that evidence of global warming is “unequivocal” — and there is a 90 percent chance that greenhouse gases produced by human activities have driven most of Earth’s overall temperature rise since 1950.
During the interview, Shimkus fetched a copy of a recent New York Times Magazine with a cover story on Freeman Dyson, a scientist who has suggested that added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is plant food. In fact, Shimkus asked about carbon dioxide feeding plants at a March hearing.
“So if we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?” Shimkus asked a witness at the hearing. “So all our good intentions could be for vain. In fact, we could be doing just the opposite of what the people who want to save the world are saying.”
For the record, E&E Daily notes:
A leading Christian environmental group disputed the absoluteness of his assertions, saying Shimkus’ use of the passage from Genesis ignores that God gave man free will.
“This idea that God is not going to allow us to do things that are bad … he gave us human freedom,” said the Rev. Jim Ball, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, a coalition of Christian groups supporting action on global warming. “If we’re doing bad things, the idea that God would just magically stop us is not Biblical.”
Shimkus, who accepts every word of the Bible as true, said this week, “I will stand on my faith that it will not end because of a flood.”
He said that he made the statement and read from the Bible during the hearing because others on the committee in private meetings had kept saying the world would end because of climate change. As for other causes of world demise including fire and hailstorms, he said, those are possible.
Woo-hoo. No flood, but maybe wildfires and megadroughts and catastrophically bad weather. How reassuring.
And for completeness’s sake, here is a map from Wikipedia of the United States during the age of the dinosaurs that Shimkus so longs to return to in spite of the fact that it isn’t in the Bible — what does that say about the man’s beliefs?