Republican critics prep for Copenhagen

Republicans who have been critical of the science behind climate change legislation will be on hand at the international conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, next week.


The anti-cap-and-trade lawmakers want to serve as a check on eager U.S. leaders at the United Nations Climate Change summit.

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Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming’s ranking member, said, “President Obama should not make promises that the American people and their representatives in Congress can’t keep.”

Sensenbrenner will accompany House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to Denmark’s capital city as part of a 20-member congressional delegation (codel). Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) also plan on participating on the four-day codel.

Pelosi’s office would not confirm details of the trip. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said the trip will depend on the schedule of the House, adding that “a bipartisan group of members has expressed interest in attending.”

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee who has called global warming “a hoax,” is also planning to be in Copenhagen.

President Barack Obama plans to attend on Dec. 18, the last day of the conference, when participating nations historically explain how they are going to reduce their emissions.

Armed with recent revelations that e-mails critical of the science behind climate change were suppressed at the Climate Research Unit in Britain, a handful of GOP senators and House lawmakers will press international climatologists to reassess the situation.

Barton told The Hill that world leaders will be hearing from skeptics next week.

His intention is “to observe and, when appropriate, to point out a few facts and enlighten the international community that everybody in the United States isn’t blind.”

Polling on climate change over the last year shows that more Americans are doubting the science behind the issue. The polls also indicate, however, that most Americans want to address the matter in some fashion.

Issa, who is leading the House GOP effort to study the “hacked” e-mails, intends to focus on that controversy while in Denmark.

But Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said that the e-mail scandal was insignificant in the overall debate.

“It allows for the Republican scientific deniers to rely upon a small number of scientists out of thousands in the world to try to pretend that there is still a debate going on on whether or not there is human-caused global warming,” Markey said.

Barton said he agrees with Democrats on at least on one aspect of global warming.

“The one fact in the debate that we agree on is that CO2 concentrations have gone up and that is because of man-made emissions, but I don’t accept the conclusion that because of that the world will cease to exist as we know it,” he said.

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Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers said the “endangerment finding” released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday was premature.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday said, “The idea that the EPA is going to proceed on their effort to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide going in the air, in the face of all of these e-mails [that have] now been disclosed about climate change, causes me to wonder just what planet are they living on.”

The House passed a climate bill 219-212 in June, but efforts in the Senate have stalled.