In the ongoing congressional climate hearings, there have been some crazy moments from the GOP already. Smokey Joe Barton got schooled on continental drift. And John Shimkus suggested capping carbon dioxide was more of an assault to American freedom and democracy than 9/11:
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. [Video here.]
I’ve just done a piece for The Daily Beast discussing the latest GOP antics. As I put it:
For Republicans, who still can’t even agree that global warming is real and human-caused, this is a telltale moment. The House GOP minority leader, John Boehner, appeared Sunday on ABC News’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and confusedly suggested that carbon dioxide is a “carcinogen,” while also appearing to confound two separate greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide and methane. Boehner also mocked the idea that carbon-dioxide emissions are even something to worry about—calling it “almost comical”—and offered no clear plan for how his party would propose to deal with them.
Republicans like Boehner are dramatically stuck in the past—by which I mean, the pre-1859 past. After all, 1859 is the year that the Irish scientist John Tyndall correctly explained how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere “traps” heat radiation, an inescapable matter of physics that, even today, Boehner and his ilk seems unwilling to simply and plainly acknowledge.
You can read the full Daily Beast item here. 1859 was also, of course, the year Darwin published The Origin of Species. Certainly a suggestive pairing, given that global warming and evolution are surely the two most politicized science issues in the United States today.
NB: Compared with Tyndall, pictured here, Darwin didn’t have nearly as cool a beard.