GOP in Charge? | Climate Denier Would Head Climate Committee

Kate Sheppard scared the hell out of me last night. It wasn’t Sheppard herself (who is a perfectly nice and decent person), but what the environmental reporter for Mother Jones said on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann yesterday.

Olbermann asked Sheppard about a report in Politico stating that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is gleefully anticipating taking the helm of the climate change committee — if the GOP win control of the House in November. And why is that such a concern?

Sheppard: We had a hearing a few years ago where [Sensenbrenner] asked a scientist about whether we should be putting catalytic converters on cows as a solution to global warming. He thinks of this as a giant joke.

Sheppard: For Sensenbrenner, climate change is a joke.

Ha ha … um… wait, that’s not funny. Having someone who doesn’t believe in climate change in charge of the climate change committee? Absurd? Yes. Funny? Not on your life. Or, more appropriately, not on the lives of our children and grandchildren who will be paying the price for Mr. Sensenbrenner’s ignorant obstructionism.

Sheppard spelled out in detail the tactics Sensenbrenner and other GOP chairmen would use to prevent even consideration of climate initiatives in the House.

Sheppard: They are just going to drag the administration officials out from doing their jobs and make them testify before these committees, drop subpoena after subpoena on them, and try to prevent them from doing their job. Whenever they ask for a report — basically, the Republicans just ask for a new report that proves what they want it to prove. They’re going to just have these people basically on trial in Congress day after day, and not just people in the administration but independent climate scientists as well, attempting to just bash them and instill fear in the scientific community. That’s basically their goal here.

And, they’ll score, too, especially if enough progressive voters sit out the election to make a “statement” about their  understandable frustration with the lack of progress on climate legislation and a host of other issues. Trouble is, as Sheppard’s example illustrates, the only message staying home will ultimately send is: “We capitulate.”

Elections matter — and this one matters more than most.

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