Climate Change Crazy Talker May Win House Environment Post

Rep. Shimkus Says Cap and Trade Is Worse Than Al Qaeda Attacking the U.S.

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Elections matter.  And here’s one we reason we know that.  Rep. Henry Waxman today is the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  He’s the Waxman of "Waxman-Markey," the House bill that attempted to make a modest dent in the nation’s climate change emissions.

You may not have agreed with his approach, but you knew Waxman was trying to do something to address climate change. Don’t expect much from the four GOP representatives who are competing to take Waxman’s place as chair of the Energy Committees starting in January 2011.  As "Think Progress" reports, three of the quartet are climate change deniers.

Perhaps the most colorful of the four is Rep. John Shimkus (R-IIl.).  Rep. Shimkus said at a committee hearing that the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade approach was a graver threat to freedom and liberty than the 9-11 attacks.

I think this is the largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I’ve ever experienced. I’ve lived through some tough times in Congress — impeachment, two wars, terrorist attacks. I fear this more than all of the above activities that have happened.

(Tell that to the families of people who died on 9-11, in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, Mr. Shimkus.)

He also has implied that the earth will be worse off if we reduce CO2 emissions because cutting such emissions is “taking away plant food from the atmosphere.”  Maybe true, if your plants have evolved to live in really, really hot places.

But Rep. Shimkus didn’t stop there.  He said that we didn’t have to worry about climate change because God promised Noah, after the Flood, not to destroy the earth.

It’s hard to know how to respond to such thinking, except, perhaps, to agree that climate change won’t destroy the earth.  That’s not what we’re worried about.  But it may kill all the polar bears, pika, coral and thousands of other species, displace tens of millions of people, acidify the oceans, and make life on this planet – the only one we’ve got – a lot more expensive, inhospitable, and unpleasant. 

For those who are truly "conservative" – those who want to keep it like it was, to see life (human and otherwise) flourish as it has for centuries – those threats should be enough of a call to action.

Ted was an attorney in the Rocky Mountain regional office from 2003–2018. He protected wilderness, roadless areas and the planet's climate on behalf of conservation groups in the Four Corners' states.