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Climate-Denying Congressman Lambastes Science on Capitol Hill


#1

Climate-Denying Congressman Lambastes Science on Capitol Hill

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

A Republican congressman on Wednesday stepped up his ongoing anti-science campaign, accusing the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of "hyping a climate change agenda."

What's more, the remarks from Texas Rep. Lamar Smith laid bare how climate deniers are seeking to derail attempts to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for covering up their role in global warming.


#2

The need to be called "c-coo, c-coo's" not "tweets"


#3

These are the same people of other eras that had "scientific" disagreements about asbestos, vinyl chloride, tobacco, coal dust, silica, tetrachloride, etc. They will reap
trillions in profits, collect billions in subsidies, avoid payment of taxes, and unload the cost on the public.


#4

Maybe these congressmen should also be investigated for deceiving the public and aiding and abetting a criminal act under the Ricco statutes? They get away with being presented facts and then simply dismissing them as if they have the option of a choice about whether something is true or not (and of course receiving compensation from the fossil fuel interests.

Luckily there isn't a wealthy and powerful special interest group insisting that the Earth is flat because these 'round Earth' deniers would come out of the woodwork for that too.


#5

Watching this felt like some sort of perverse filibuster on a matter that has nothing to do with what is"believed". The ideologue's nail set by the Senator, being 'belief', he then hammers away at someone who is in the institutional position of having to engage in ongoing scientific research. As if it has no applicable concern until it is finished, and this is not something will ever be finished to his demanded satisfaction, only in constant change. It is a matter that is an already moving train.

He seems totally unaware that he was clacking like a loose sack of hammers propped up at a train station awaiting a train full of nails he could pound on. Nothing relevant was asked of the NOAA rep.

Revealing is the dissociative ideological cant delivered like a metronome ticking away as if he were alone in front of a mirror in an empty room.


#6

Lamar Smith is a Representative from a state which has some of the highest rates of anthropogenic warming denialism in the country. He is very popular among his constituents precisely because they feel he does a good job of representing their views, even in some cases where he doesn't hold those views himself.

Smith's own view is that "climate change has the potential to impact agriculture, ecosystems, sea levels, weather patterns, and human health." He is uncertain as to the degree to which anthropogenic factors are causing climate change, but he does feel that whatever the human contribution, it can be decreased by developing and expanding clean energy technologies.

And towards that end, he has been a strong advocate for wind power development (Texas now far outproduces Germany in wind power on a per capita basis). He has also championed solar development in Texas. He introduced legislation that created incentives for plug-in hybrids, established grants for public-private solar partnerships. expanded the Renewable Fuel Standard, increased the corporate fuel economy standards, required increased efficiency for consumer appliances, and established a competitive grant program to promote the development of advanced hybrids. He was also the lead driving force behind H.R. 4084--a bipartisan bill to support federal research and development and stimulate private investment in advanced nuclear reactors (which recently passed the House unanimously).

Frankly, I don't care if Smith is uncertain how much humans have contributed to climate change, or even that he strives to protect the views of his denialists constituents. When it comes to practical accomplishments that have good odds of making a real contribution to addressing global warming, I would rate Smith above the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Amory Lovins, or Naomi Klein.


#7

Sweet!


#8

Lamar Smith, Republican
James Inhofe, Republican
Rick Snyder, Republican

Why do these people get elected and re-elected?

Are we really that far gone?


#9

Not sure about Lamar's full resume . . . . but i would politely suggest that you view his 'accomplishments' beside his accomplishments in maintaining the status quo of dirty energy in the Oil State. The Republican playbook is full of the Machiavellian enterprise of calculated 'compromise'. What is important in that dark contest is impressions rather than facts. Will Lamar's actual 'accomplishments' actually make a dent in our pollution and global climate issues? Hard to believe, but maybe you will update me.
Slagging celebrities doesn't add to your argument. Demonstrating how Lamar's efforts will significantly reduce pollution and greenhouse gases does.


#10

Hey Trog? I missed seeing you comment on the article reporting on how the Irish Sea is now one of the most polluted (by radiation) bodies of water because radioactive waste from Fukishima is being shipped to a facility in Scotland and radioactive water is being flushed into the sea.

Odd that you always chirp in about pro nuclear stuff but well gee I guess you must have missed that article?

Care to comment on how Fukishima radioactive waste is being transported to Scotland and is contaminating the Irish Sea with radioactivity?


#11

"i would politely suggest that you view his 'accomplishments' beside his accomplishments in maintaining the status quo of dirty energy in the Oil State."

Texas oil production has actually tripled within Lamar Smith's time in office. (And the petroleum industries' economics have been helped by the low-cost energy dumps from wind power.) So of course he has oil-friendly policies. As you observed, Texas is the Oil State, and Smith represents accordingly. If Smith were to be replaced today, Texans would probably elect someone less moderate (Smith is an old-school Republican) and less informed about science.

"The Republican playbook is full of the Machiavellian enterprise of calculated 'compromise'."

Smith does compromise (a lot of Republicans do not) in part because he serves conflicting constituencies. But his energy policies have followed a pretty consistent philosophy. Smith feels energy is important, and also that energy independence is important. He also feels that we are not nearly to the point of being able to slam the door on traditional fossil fuels. But he does feel we ultimately need to get away from them, so he strongly supports research and deployment of low carbon energy, transportation, and efficiency technologies--including tariffs, grants, public funding, and public-private partnerships. He also feels that carbon cap and trade would just create just another financial gimmick market for Wall St. to play with and he's not far from James Hansen's view on that. So he supports direct public funding for research and early deployment, but ultimately he feels the best way to get off fossil fuels will be for better options to take their place due to natural market forces.

"Will Lamar's actual 'accomplishments' actually make a dent in our pollution and global climate issues?"

His efficiency requirements and CAFE standards will probably prove helpful. The large expansion of wind and solar he supported has not made a dent yet, but if renewables advocates are right, they will eventually. And if any of the advanced reactor projects he is supporting pan out (and more than one could) that might make a very respectable dent.

"Slagging celebrities doesn't add to your argument."

The examples I cited are lionized as climate champions, nevermind Leo and his yacht trips, Leo and Naomi jetting all over the planet, and Lovins' long track record of failed projections. Meanwhile, all three want to see our dominant form of low-carbon energy abolished, and no further development in that area. To the degree they have any success towards that end, I think their accomplishments could easily wind up a net negative with respect to moving away from fossil energy. I think they have some good intentions, but good intentions can go horribly wrong when decoupled from science and reason--a point with particular salience in an article that unfairly slagged Smith as being "anti-science" (for citing an article in Nature).

"Demonstrating how Lamar's efforts will significantly reduce pollution and greenhouse gases does."

That's an unreasonable standard. Nobody can know the future, and Smith cannot accomplish that on his own. But a reasonable case can be made that his actions have a high likelihood of helping--especially in his role as a Republican. When leftist Klein couples action on climate change with an attack on industrialism, capitalism, and conservatism, she plays to the watermelon stereotype which only deepens the divide and hardens opposition to any policy she's advocating. When Smith says we need improved efficiency, more low carbon energy, and more alternate energy research, all justified on traditional conservative and market grounds, he helps to unify people around taking action, or at least, he creates that possibility. It's up to us whether we care more about seizing an opportunity for progress when it presents itself, or flinging poo at someone who could be helpful.


#12

To those commenter(s) who champion L. Smith's push for solar and wind energy, you may want to examine why...the fossil fuel (oil) companies in the state of Texas are investing heavily in said industries. So altruism is not necessarily Smith's motivation. As for his voting record on the environment (utterly abysmal), take a gander at this summary: http://www.ontheissues.org/TX/Lamar_Smith_Environment.htm

His allegiance is not to the common constituents in Texas but it is absolutely tied to Big Oil as he enjoys getting his palms greased....:frowning2:


#13

Time to push FOR a subpoena requiring release of emails -- not those among NOAA scientists discussing climate issues, but those of Lamar Smith with his fossil fuel industry donors discussing anti-science strategy.


#14

"I missed seeing you comment on the article reporting on how the Irish Sea is now one of the most polluted (by radiation) bodies of water"

The Dead Sea is more radioactive. I believe the claim is that the Irish Sea has one of the largest deposits of man-made radionuclides (mostly in the sediments along the eastern reaches of the sea), and so far as I know, that claim is true. (Even if it's not true, there's bound to be someplace for which it is true.) The radionuclide dumping that took place there during the Cold War was considerable. For many radionuclides, the annual discharge values from the 70's up to the early 90's ranged up to more than a hundred times more than recent values. Even so, the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland reported in 2005 that doses of man-made radioactivity received by the heaviest consumers of seafood in Ireland was 1.10 microseiverts and the corresponding natural radioactivity dose in that food was 148 microseiverts. In terms of risk to this group, their projection was that heavy consumption of seafood would generate a 1 in 18 million chance of causing cancer. I assume man-made radionuclide levels would be higher for sediment-dwelling seafood from off the Cumbrian coast.

"because radioactive waste from Fukishima is being shipped to a facility in Scotland and radioactive water is being flushed into the sea."

As I recall, the article didn't say "because" (it just left it for you to make that inference), nor did it claim any spent fuel was shipped from Fukushima Daiichi. The facility was Sellafield (which is in England) and it has been processing spent fuel from a variety of countries, some of which was from Japan, some of which was from Tepco, some of which may have been from one or both of their Fukushima facilities. But the overwhelming majority of the radioactive contamination at Sellafield was discharged or spilled decades ago. If you want to see what their current discharge values are, you can view them here, at the bottom of page 17: http://sustainability.sellafieldsites.com/files/2013/05/Sellafield_AnnRep_2015_Lo_Res_web1.pdf
All values have been well below the regulatory limits for years, so I don't expect they have a lot of incentive to change their practices.

"Odd that you always chirp in about pro nuclear stuff but well gee I guess you must have missed that article?"

I advocate for certain kinds of nuclear power. That doesn't mean I have to support, defend, or promote every kind of nuclear power and every nuclear-related policy. Just like my support for many uses of electricity does not require me to support the electric chair, my support for certain hydroelectric power plants doesn't require me to defend Banqiao or to give any assurances about the safety of the Mosul dam, and my general support for progressive values doesn't require that I endorse every dumb thing which happens to fall out of any progressive's mouth.

"Care to comment on how Fukishima radioactive waste is being transported to Scotland and is contaminating the Irish Sea with radioactivity?"

My feeling is that Fukushima presents a laundry list of how nuclear power should not be done, and I think it has been a major factor behind the current vigor with which very different forms of nuclear are being pursued. I do debunk gross misconceptions about Fukushima (in part, because it's just embarrassing when other progressives who claim to be on the side of science totally blow the science) but that doesn't mean I favor early-design, aging, water cooled, solid fuel, low efficiency, waste-spawning reactors with marginal containment (none for the primary spent fuel pool), poorly sited, marginally regulated, and run by corrupt incompetents. So when Greenpeace posts another boilerplate screed against a form of nuclear power I don[t support which is worded carefully enough to be mostly in the vicinity of technically correct, my inclination is to let it slide--especially when it's sinking on its own from lack of interest.


#15

Very verbose and naturally ...you don't answer the questions asked. Do you think you are fascinating maybe? You do go on about you...lol. My guess is that you need a puppy to share with but all this sharing about you is ridiculous.

P.S. Try not to get a puppy that glows in the dark.


#16

"To those commenter(s) who champion L. Smith's push for solar and wind energy, you may want to examine why...the fossil fuel (oil) companies in the state of Texas are investing heavily in said industries."

Of course. Not just oil but also gas. It's not pure coincidence that gas is a major backup for intermittents in Texas.

"So altruism is not necessarily Smith's motivation."

It's very likely not a motivation at all. But does a windmill erected for profit reasons operate differently than one erected for altruistic reasons?

"As for his voting record on the environment (utterly abysmal), take a gander at this summary:"

What do you think the job of a Representative should be? Smith seems to take the view that his job is to represent his district. I strongly disagree with many, probably most of Smith's positions, but he's never been a bait-and-switch candidate, he's always been up front about who he is and where he stands, and he's been elected over and over by wide margins for nearly 30 years now.

Texans generally view greens as anti-business, anti-industry, anti-technology, anti-growth, anti-agriculture, anti-hunting, anti-recreation, anti-America and anti-God. Smith only helps his approval ratings by getting a low score from environmentalists.

"His allegiance is not to the common constituents in Texas"

I'm guessing you are not from his district.

"but it is absolutely tied to Big Oil"

Do you understand how popular oil is in Texas?

"as he enjoys getting his palms greased..."

So who do you think greased his palms on raising the fleet cafe standards, tightening consumer appliance efficiency requirements, and on his push for support for advanced hybrid and advanced reactor research and development? But even if he is on the take (and isn't that the default assumption for anyone in politics these days?) I would still rather have someone doing good things for bad reasons than doing bad things for good reasons--especially when the good things just might help save the planet.


#17

"Very verbose and naturally ...you don't answer the questions asked."

Addressing a question doesn't always require answering it, especially when the question is inapplicable or based on mistaken assumptions.

"Do you think you are fascinating maybe? You do go on about you...lol. "

Maybe some people on CD might give everybody a break and try being civil when someone disagrees with them. (I'm going from memory, so I'm probably not quoting you exactly there, but it should have been close enough to sound at least vaguely familiar.)


#18

Lol what a hypocrite. Another who trots out that I am not civil after being uncivil to me first. I think it is the first refuge of those who lose debates and a cheap shot at best.

A quote from you to me >>> "As for me, I write for rational adults who have something longer than a Twitter attention span. If that is not you then my suggestion would be that you skip my comments in the future..."

Hypocrite.


#19

Hokay 1) You called for my comment in full knowledge that I routinely use more words than you can handle. You instigated this and it was clearly you who was first to be uncivil here--else you would have cited an example from here. 2) I thought it was hilarious that you, of all people, would make a call for civility, which is why I made a mental note of your words. If you really had any sort of commitment to civility, you would not be scrounging for an instance of someone being uncivil to you as a pretext to toss your commitment out the window. 3) Even if you had found an instance of me being uncivil to you in some previous thread, any reasonable person would understand why that does not at all establish that I was uncivil to you first. 4) By no stretch of imagination does the example you cited (my response to another instance of you whinging about the length of my comments) constitute an actual instance of incivility, and pretending to be the aggrieved party isn't fooling anyone. And 5) I tossed your words back at you to show your hypocrisy. Not because I endorsed them or bought into them myself. I'm a campaigner from the usenet atheism and Creationism flame war days. Abuse doesn't bother me and I have no problem giving as good as I get. The bulk of the so-called progressive commentariat on CD has made it clear they detest my presence here and would prefer that inconvenient information and dissenting views be driven out rather than tolerated, much less dealt with. I'm not here to give everybody a break. And if I'm civil, to whatever degree I am, it's only when I think that's a more effective way to convey information, make an argument, or represent a position. Using your words to show what a hypocrite you are doesn't violate any position I hold, so your "I'm rubber, you're glue" response is as vacuous as it is childish.

And if you are annoyed at the length of that response, I would remind you again that nobody is forcing you to read what I write. But if you would like to try again, feel free, and I'll see if I can't produce something longer.


#20

Such self absorbed drama. You started being rude and often are towards people who oppose nuclear power including me. I dared correct your excesses back when you were insisting that nuclear radiation in low levels wasn't harmful and other things of a similar nature.

It is not the length per se it is your delusions about the need to share about yourself. Seriously man you need a puppy to be fascinated by you. You'd feel better from its attention.

I see no need to engage in a refutation of you talking about how you talk and so forth like you always do. I am not fascinated by you and maybe you think that you are the last word on nuclear power because you can google an article or what have you but you are narcissistic and in need of therapy, a course in manners as well as in ethics and most importantly...

Get that puppy. It'll hang on your every word which you quite apparently need.