They said what?

Republican lawmakers sound off on global warming
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  May 6, 2009

Generation Green: Once derided as tree huggers, eco-friendly youth are now the nation's most powerful (and feared) voting bloc. So why isn't the GOP listening? By David S. Bernstein.

Cap and trade explained: The cool basics of the hottest topic in climate change. By Lissa Harris.
GOP leaders have a reputation for shunning science in favor of politics: on stem-cell research, evolution, and of course, climate change. As the global-warming battle heats up, so has their often-nonsensical rhetoric. Consider these recent developments:

* In mid April, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed at long last that it would regulate greenhouse gases that, it said, "endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act." Oklahoma senator JAMES INHOFE, top-ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, denounced the decision, and called for legislation "that stops the EPA in its tracks." Inhofe, who once called global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," recently insisted that the planet is actually cooling.

* Two weeks ago, to coincide with Earth Day, Democrats on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a series of hearings on a major energy and environment bill co-authored by Massachusetts congressman Edward Markey. The ranking Republican on that committee, Texas's "SMOKEY JOE" BARTON, complained that he was not allowed to invite outright warming-deniers to testify. Barton recently said that, if the global climate really is warming, it's no big deal: "When it rains, we find shelter. When it's hot, we get shade. When it's cold, we find a warm place to stay."

* During the hearings on that energy and environment bill, which calls for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, Republican congressman JOHN SHIMKUS of Illinois called the proposed legislation "the largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I've ever experienced," adding that "I've lived through an impeachment, two wars, terrorist attacks . . . I fear this more than any of the above activities."

* House Republican Leader JOHN BOEHNER of Ohio, appearing on This Week with George Stephanopoulos just before Earth Day, called it "almost comical" to suggest that carbon dioxide is harmful, because "every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide." Actual scientists went berserk explaining why Boehner's remarks were comical — but other Republicans began parroting the line.

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  Topics: Talking Politics , Politics, Jim Inhofe, Environmental Policy,  More more >
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