Op-ed: Republican theater of the absurd on global warming

House holds hearing on bill that would strip EPA‘s authority to regulate greenhouse gases


By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Surreal politics trumped reason and science in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, as Congressional Republicans tried to put up a major roadblock on the country’s path toward a sane and sustainable energy future. Specifically, Representative Fred Upton, the new Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced a bill that would block the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases.

EPA plans to require new pollution controls on big plants are based on massive volumes of peer-reviewed science, all pointing toward the same conclusion — heat-trapping greenhouse gases are a threat to public health and the environment.


The Republican argument to strip away the EPA’s regulatory authority, on the other hand, is based on unfounded claims that the rules would drive jobs abroad — not to mention a fundamental denial of the science of climate change.

“I know American manufacturers can compete, but not if they are saddled with burdensome regulations that put us at an unfair advantage,” Upton said to the committee in an initial hearing on the bill.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson challenged those claims, pointing to several studies showing that the new requirements would actually lead to the creation of 1.5 million temporary jobs through 2015, as well as 2,000 long-term permanent jobs in operations and management.


Click here to read Jackson’s complete statement.

While Jackson stuck with the science, Congressman Edward Markey likened the Republican attack on the EPA to George Orwell’s Memory Hole, used by the Ministry of Truth in the novel “1984” to dispose of politically inconvenient facts.

“Today, Big Oil and Big Coal have been working with the Republican Thought Police to comb through each and every reference to global warming pollution in the Clean Air Act and then disappear them, sending scientific consensus down the Memory Hole at the expense of public health and welfare,” Markey said.


“But what this bill also does is bar EPA from doing anything further to reduce oil use from cars, trucks, planes, boats or any other source. The legislation might even nullify the progress you’ve already made over at the EPA in reducing demand for oil. The Republican bill could result in an increase in our oil dependence of more than 5 million barrels per day by 2030 – more than we currently import from OPEC,” he continued.





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