Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power convened to debate Congress' authority to approve a measure allowing for construction of the controversial Keystone Pipeline. But before you go and start thinking that it was a thoughtful, fact-driven dialogue weighing the economic benefits of such a plan versus the demonstrated environmental damage it could wreak -- things soon took a turn to the ridiculous.
As you might expect in a debate about whether or not the U.S. should make a risky move to perpetuate the use of fossil fuels, some committee members took the opportunity to voice doubt that the constant burning of that energy source was behind the rising temperatures, melting ice sheets, and abnormal weather events most scientists associate with climate change. That's when noted climate skeptic, Republican Congressman from Texas, Joe Barton, decided to summon Noah's Great Flood as evidence suggesting that humans aren't necessarily to blame for all of this.
“I would point out that people like me who support hydrocarbon development don’t deny that climate is changing,” he added. “I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what’s causing that change without automatically being either all in that’s all because of mankind or it’s all just natural. I think there’s a divergence of evidence.”
“I would point out that if you’re a believer in in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.”
Now, to be fair, there's nothing prohibiting Rep. Barton from citing the Bible in his arguments concerning America's energy future. But it should offend the sensibilities of the electorate, regardless of their personal beliefs, that such an important issue isn't being considered in light of demonstrable evidence alone.
That said, there are examples more recent than the Biblical Great Flood which might be more helpful when considering the issue of the Keystone Pipeline -- namely, the deluge of oil that spilled in Mayflower, Arkansas earlier this month.
To borrow a term that Rep. Barton would understand, let's call that an 'omen'.