Photo: FaceMePLS, Flickr, CC BY
We knew it was going to happen, and now it has: Republicans have killed the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming. They did so as promised, shortly after taking office. The committee was designed specifically to shape policy on global warming and energy issues. Since its creation in 2006, it held 80 hearings and briefings, according to Mother Jones. Here's what the Committee accomplished, and why it will be missed:
Tackling issues from the politicization of climate science to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, the committee held 80 hearings and briefings. It played a role in shaping policy for the 2007 energy bill, the 2009 stimulus package (which included $90 billion in energy, efficiency, and other green elements), and, of course, the 2009 climate bill (the one that never became law, of course, because the Senate didn't act on it).That's Mother Jones on a few of the highlighted achievements of the science-based committee's tenure. The committee, lead by a bipartisan coalition of both Republican and Democratic leaders, helped steer the US towards greener policies. It brought climate scientists and skeptics together for debate, and put on Congressional record the scientific evidence behind the wide scope of the threat posed by global warming. Under the leadership of chairman Ed Markey (D-MA), it was a prolific and productive body -- and its influence will be missed in Congress.
This will especially be the case as those who disbanded the committee assume power -- the nascent Republican-lead Congress is unlikely to make any effort at all to address climate change. Over 50% of the incoming Republican congressmen are on record as being opposed to any kind of climate policy (and most are stated climate skeptics), and the leadership is actually considering opening a congressional investigation on alleged wrongdoing of climate scientists. Some Republicans even wanted to keep the global warming committee alive solely to use it to mock Democrats and climate scientists.
Needless to say, we're going to see some tough times in US climate politics -- if there's anything to see at all. Politics have prevailed over science, at least for now.