From The Huffington Post:
What do you get when you take an ignorant Republican Congressman and cross it with a serious policy issue like climate change?
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) shared a moment of sheer absurdity with Britain’s stuffiest global warming denier Lord Christopher Monckton in last week’s Energy & Commerce hearing on climate change adaptation. Please note, Monckton has no formal training in the science of climate change, but it was decided by the Republican members that he would make for great expert testimony at the hearing — no more suitable has the phrase WTF ever been.
Shimkus encouraged Lord Monckton to talk about how Earth is a “carbon starved” planet, making it seem as though we desperately need to seek out new sources of CO2 emissions if we have any hope for survival as a species. After all, the pair agreed, “carbon dioxide is plant food,” so why on Earth would we want to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and other sources?
[...] Monckton cites the Cambrian period as evidence that plants love carbon dioxide.
As the National Wildlife Federation points out, the irony abounds.
“A time when there were no land plants? That’s your shining example? Come on. Lord Monckton may be the darling of the denier crowd, but he wouldn’t stand a chance on “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”
Leading the horse to water, Shimkus asks, “If we decrease the use of carbon dioxide are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?”
“Yes indeed you are,” Monckton replied.
Republicans don’t want to hear from real scientists like the climatologists at NASA and the National Academy of Sciences. They prefer to hear only from people who parrot the right wing’s forgone conclusions — what’s good for Big Business and polluting industries is best for America.
BuzzFlash has videos of Shimkus at the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing earlier this week. He starts with a couple of Bible passages. You should watch the videos, if only for the reaction of the woman sitting behind this whackadoodle. This is part of his opening statement:
The earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. A man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood. And I appreciate having panelists here who are men of faith and we can get into the theological discourse of that position. But I do believe that God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect. Two other issues Mr. Chairman. Today, we have about 388 parts per million in the atmosphere, I think in the age of the dinosaurs, where we had the most flora and fauna, we were probably at 4,000 parts per million. There is a theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet, not too much carbon.
He then lies about how poor people will suffer greatly from cap-and-trade (because those poor people just love breathing dirty air!). Then he holds up a picture of coal miners who lost their jobs, due to, according to him, the Clean Air Act. There’s more brilliance from Shimkus and his little friend Monckton in the second video. Here’s a quickie transcript I typed up of the conversation:
As for Lord Christopher Monckton…
Lord Christopher Monckton’s climate change expertise has been described as “degree in classics and a diploma in journalism and… no further qualifications.” Oh, and the Princeton scientist that Monckton is citing? Well, he’s the chair of the board of directors of a front group funded by Exxon Mobil.
Here’s a quickie transcript I typed up of the conversation:
S: Carbon dioxide is what?
M: It’s plant food.
S: It’s plant food.
M: Yahp, without it, all plant life would die. [Blah, blah, blah...]
S: So if we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?
M: Yes, we are. [Blah, blah, blah...]
S: So all our good intentions could be for vain. In fact, we could be doing just the opposite of what the people who want to save the world are saying.
From P. Z. Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota at Pharyngula:
Monckton dismisses the problem of CO2 by claiming that CO2 levels were much higher in the pre-Cambrian, and that the stuff is just “plant food”.
Yes, it is the material plants take up from the atmosphere to make sugar. It’s also a greenhouse gas. So? And what is this stuff about “saving the world”? It’s like the two of them are babbling about problems and arguments that no one is making — and we get more when Shimkus explain how he knows CO2 is not a problem. It’s because the Bible is the inerrant word of his god, and he knows god isn’t going to end the world with global warming.
Could one of you voters out there in Illinois take Shimkus aside and explain to him with short, simple words and short, simple sentences that global warming isn’t going to destroy the world? It’s not an argument anyone is making. It could very well make the world more tropical, and it could be of some advantage to certain kinds of plants.
However, please note: human beings aren’t plants (well, most of us, anyway — John Shimkus does seem to share some similarities with root vegetables). The concern with global warming is change that will cause economic disruption and environmental disturbances and damage to places we like…like cities. Honestly, if nations collapse, we know that algae will still thrive. We just happen to generally take the side of humanity.