Rep. Shimkus: “Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a flood.” Rep. Barton: “I wish I had another dozen John Shimkuses on the committee.”

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?

File:US cretaceous general.jpg

22 Responses to Rep. Shimkus: “Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a flood.” Rep. Barton: “I wish I had another dozen John Shimkuses on the committee.”

  1. sidd says:

    Rep. Shimkus may be correct when he says his world in Illinois will not end due to flood.

    Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for, say, a large part of Bangladesh.

    But in his view, I imagine, that part of the globe is peopled by heathens, destined to damnation in brutish life and briny death.

  2. paulm says:

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  3. paulm says:

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  4. carl says:

    I have an answer to these crackpots. Let’s build a monument to those that deny climate change. Put there names on this monument so that they will be disgraced for eternity !!!!!!!!!! There children and grandchildren, if there will actually be any, could be shamed worse than, pick some a$$hole here, know to every child in the world as a loser beyond losers’. Someone to be reviled forever, and ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Well, technically he may be OK saying,

    ‘God said in the Bible he would “never again” devastate humans with a flood again.’

    Because the next flood devastation will be by our own hands.

  6. Bullwinkle says:


    I love that idea. I was thinking of an AGW ‘Most Wanted’ list, but a monument with their mugs chiseled in stone for all future generations is much better! A wall of shame…

  7. nathansrigley says:

    “Put there names on this monument so that they will be disgraced”

    A website based on this concept may be a small tool against disinformation.

    you need to make a sister site Joe

    you can have profiles on the worst disinformationists, polluters, and malovent companies, in a nicley ordered fashion so people can check to see who we should stand behind and who we should shun.

  8. Aaron says:

    The video was good for a laugh. I like the smirk of the woman behind him when he started out by quoting genesis.

    And lastly I also liked how he showed a picture of miners who lost their job due to the clean air act. Oh boo hoo, people working in one of the most un-environmentally friendly industries, lose their job when some politicians finally wake up and realize the effects it has an the surrounding ecosystems.

  9. Aaron says:

    Nathan, does a reasonably good job of this…though not solely dedicated to climate deniers, but instead includes other as well

  10. Rick Covert says:


    Already been done. Check out George Monbiot’s article in The Guardian called, “Top Ten Climate Change Deniers.”


  11. nathansrigley says:

    Aaron, thats a really cool site! thanks for directing me there :)

    I did grow up on comic books though, so extreme justice is my flavor for the types that are hellbent on destroying the planet. I would still like to see someone blatantly pegging them as the criminals they are.

    Im pretty sure Bill Maher reads climate progress, maybe he would be willing to run with that idea>

  12. carl says:

    This wall of shame needs to be physical, something that the news media can use in a news report …. something that people can visit…something physical.

    Not sure how you feel about this, but I think a HUGE mistake made in the reporting is that they use C rather than F when reporting temperature rise. Ditto on centimeters vs. feet. ……. most Americans don’t do the math and it looks smaller than it actual is.

  13. Will Greene says:

    And I’m guessing temperatures were much, much higher in the Cretaceous period, am I right? My question for Dr. Romm or others that I’ve had for a while is, Dr. JR has said at 1000ppm 1/3rd of the planet will be desert. Was at least 1/3rd of the planet desert in the Cretaceous Period when CO2 ppm (as the ostriches in Congress often tell us) was at 3000-4000ppm? Anyone with knowledge on the dinosaurs should know this answer, thanks!

  14. Chris S says:

    If I were Rep. Shimkus’ pastor, I would be terribly ashamed by his misuse of Genesis. I would also take him to the other end of the book and remind him that there will be a time “for destroying the destroyers of the earth” (Revelation 11:18).

  15. David B. Benson says:

    “Deserts take up about one third of the Earth’s land surface.” from

  16. Bullwinkle says:

    Thanks, Rick! Nice site, but even that top 10 list missed George “denim is evil” Will.

    Carl, I still like the physical monument idea. Something future generations can throw eggs at and pee on.

  17. Will Greene says:

    I guess my question David Benson is, we all know that the dinosaur’s habitat in the Cretaceous period was generally forest, rivers, lush tropical rainforest (I’m just going off of every dinosaur documentary I’ve ever seen). If the ppm CO2 during this time was 3000-4000, wouldn’t we expect an arid, charred, desert habitat, that’s constantly flooded with torrential downpours and hot acidified deadzone oceans?

  18. riverat says:


    If you build your monument be sure to site it above 250 feet in elevation. Estimated sea level if all of the Antarctic ice melts is 230-240 feet. Put it on a nice bluff that overlooks the (new) ocean.


  19. justus says:

    Joe, I respectfully suggest you’ve missed a great messaging lesson here – a potential future post? As for Shimkus – fish in a barrel. But one of the phrases/ ideas he latches onto provides a re-framing opportunity – to the benefit of the whole pro-future community (that’s the people who like life and civilization).

    One of the principle messaging mistakes made by the old-school enviro community is this nonsense about ‘saving the planet’ or ‘saving the earth.’ So Shimkus is technically right – we will not destroy the earth. Nor will we ever ‘save’ it. Maybe this seems like splitting hairs, but I think it’s important; I think we need to be clear about what’s at stake. Not something abstract like ‘the planet’ but something very specific – the health and future of most living things, including humans, and the very foundations of our civilization…

  20. David B. Benson says:

    Will Greene — Actually, some dinos lived in polar regions with six months of night; wasn’t green and lush there. It is hypothsized that feathers evolved to keep warm and giving us our only surviving descendants of the dinos: birds.

    What will happen to modern climate, with the modern distribution of the continents, from excess CO2 is the expansion of the Hadley cells, causing the desert areas to move further north in the northern hemisphere and further south in the southern hemisphere. Since total percipitation will remain about the same or increase, it’ll be wetter in what remains of the temperate reegions, probably bad for agriculture there as well.

  21. Will Greene says:

    David Benson, it is interesting that a world with 3000 ppm CO2 had polar regions that led to the development of feathers in some dinosaurs. Of course if you consider the other dinosaurs, none of them developed fur or feathers which suggests a very hot planet. I would like to see a piece by Joe about the climate the dinosaurs lived in. Since the deniers always bring up the climate of the dinosaurs, I would like to know the truth on the subject. Really, the fact that sea level was 170 meters higher back then is enough to prove that the 3000ppm CO2 did have a considerable impact on climate.