To address the profound state of GOP’s climate change ignorance, Democrats have repeatedly requested formal hearings on the subject. Since May 2011 at least seven attempts have been made by the Democrats to stage hearings. To date they have all been declined by the GOP.Most recently top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Bobby Rush of Illinois cited data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the basis for their hearing request.
Waxman is the ranking Democrat on the Republican-majority energy committee and Rush is the ranking Democrat on the panel’s subcommittee on energy and power. They addressed the letter to their counterparts Chairman Fred Upton and Rep. Ed Whitfield. The letter cited Republican refusal to accept the scientific observation that the earth is warming.
Part of the NOAA data including temperature statistics for January which were the fourth warmest on record. In January the average temperature in the US (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) was 5.5 degrees above normal. NOAA reports also show that above-normal temperatures are part of a global trend. According to NOAA statistics the years between 2001-2011 are among the warmest years worldwide in recorded history.
In a Mach 7, 2012 letter to GOP committee leaders, Waxman and Rush wrote that a hearing to discuss these findings would “provide members with a more robust understanding of the scientific consensus around rising temperatures.” They went on to say, “Denial of basic science is a serious obstacle for action to understand and address global climate change,”
In the letter, the two Democrats also pointed to NOAA information which revealing that the first two months of this winter are the fourth warmest on record, with 22 states experiencing unusually high temperatures.
Some of the most anomalous warm weather this winter occurred in the Northern Plains where temperatures climbed to 71 degrees in Jackson County, on January 5. Minnesota temperatures in December and January were 10.1 degrees above average, the warmest such period on record for that state.
Thus far there has been no response from the GOP to the request for climate change hearings. It may very well be that in addition to serving the interests of their patrons in the old energy economy, Republicans enjoy their ignorance because it gives them a platform to resist the Democrats.
© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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