WC has, shall we say, criticized the U.S. House Subcommittee on the Environment. Perhaps a better word would be mocked. Or ridiculed. But that subcommittee is merely a small, egregious part of the larger problem of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
At a September 17, 2014 hearing, John Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, schooled the Republican members of the Committee on their criminal stupidity. Well, Dr. Holdren was more polite, but that’s what he did.
Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, had a few words to say about the Committee meeting. You may have seen this already, but it is worth watching again.
But just for the intellectual exercise, let’s perform a thought experiment on the claim by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R.,Coal) that scientists have concluded CO2 is causing climate change because that’s how they get grants. Apart from being criminally ignorant, is the distinguished Representative from Indiana really suggesting that the fossil fuel industry wouldn’t shower money on any reputable scientist who thought CO2 was harmless or beneficial? Don’t you think that Rep. Bucshon’s donors would be delighted to write big checks to someone who could prove the overwhelming majority of climatologists wrong?
But let’s step back from the logical flaws of the Republican committee members’ “thinking,” and even from Jon Stewart’s dead-on mockery. Dr. Larry Bucshon is a successful cardiothoracic surgeon. He understands science; he knows the scientific method. He understands the implications of greenhouse gases; he even knows the statistical certainty of climate science. He otherwise could not have gotten through medical school. So, at least in the case of Rep. Buchshon, it comes down to this: he’s either being criminally cynical in his claimed position or engaged in breath-taking self-deception. Either possibility gets him campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.1 His congressional district, in southern Indiana, is a significant coal producer.
Honesty, candor and self-awareness? No so much.
It’s the difference between a statesman and a politician. And Rep. Bucshon isn’t on the very short list of statesmen in the Republican Party.
- Jon Stewart confused Koch Industries in his Koch Enterprises. The latter is one of Rep. Bucshon’s contributors, and has no affiliation with the billionaires. ↩