By David Keene - 09/11/13 05:49 AM EDT
As the November election returns rolled in, giving Democrats control of both the House and Senate for the first time in more than a decade, liberals in both bodies moved their iconic fight to halt “global warming” to the top of their legislative agenda.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced even before the new Congress convened that the Environment and Public Works Committee would schedule hearings on global warming and climate change, which she hoped would lead to legislation.
In the wake of this announcement she and her fellow global-warming aficionados openly hoped that Virginia’s Sen. John Warner, who talked of taking over for Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe as the committee’s ranking Republican, would in fact do so. Inhofe, a global-warming skeptic, has almost single-handedly stymied past attempts to stampede the Senate into adopting less-than-well-thought-out solutions to a problem that may or may not exist, and removing him as ranking member would have been a tremendous victory.
The effort failed, however. Warner backed away and Inhofe remains in place and ready to do battle.
Meanwhile, on the House side, Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) decided on a different course. She realized that Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) would not, after reclaiming his old post as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, roll over for her or anyone else on the issue and that there would be no replacing him.
So she decided to go around him by creating a new select committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming from which congressional global warmers under the leadership of Massachusetts’s Edward Markey (D) could preach their gospel and demand action. This route won’t completely defang Dingell, but it will certainly weaken him and force him onto the defensive.
Now it’s the House GOP leadership’s turn to get its forces into position for the battles that virtually everyone can see looming just over the horizon. If there is an Inhofe on the House side, it has to be Wisconsin’s James Sensenbrenner Jr., who, term-limited on the House Judiciary Committee, tried unsuccessfully to return to the Science Committee as ranking member and is now seeking the ranking slot on the new select committee.
As chairman of the Science Committee back in 1998, Sensenbrenner led a delegation of skeptics to the Kyoto conference and fought then-President Clinton’s attempt to go along with the Kyoto protocols without seeking ratification of the treaty itself. In the process he became quite an expert on the science relied upon by the global-warming lobby.
In the ’70s, scientists believed we were on the verge of a new ice age; some still believe this to be true. Now we are told constantly not only that they were wrong then and that the earth is warming up, but that it is doing so because of us, our cars, our economic system and the unregulated way we insist on living our lives.
The threat to the planet is taken as a given by the politically correct here and internationally and there is a massive international effort to silence skeptics. In this country Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have gone so far as to threaten corporations that provide funding to groups that dispute the legitimacy of the science worshipped by the global warmers with punitive action if they don’t stop doing so. Skeptics are no longer just skeptics but “deniers,” and are considered war criminals by many liberals in the battle to save the earth. Like the folks who would suspend civil liberties to fight terrorism, they are prepared to do “whatever it takes” to pursue their war against those who, in their opinion, are enemies of nature.
Many scientists believe that if the earth is warming, it is far more likely to be doing so as part of a 1500-year cycle that predates our arrival and the arrival of the first Toyota. These scientists don’t deny the possibility that human activity has and is continuing to contribute to whatever long-term changes might be taking place, but argue that junking our cars, appliances and freedom won’t do much to change things.
Sensenbrenner, like Inhofe in the Senate, understands the science — and like both Inhofe and Dingell, he won’t be rolled. His colleagues often find him a bit prickly, but they admire his intelligence, his skills, his ability to master data and his willingness to fight.
Those are just the qualities they are going to need as this fight heats up.
Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, is a managing associate with Carmen Group, a D.C.-based governmental-affairs firm (www.carmengrouplobbying.com).