Yesterday was the first day of markups on H.R 2454,
Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey's (D-MA) Clean Energy and Security Act.
The Democrats' major climate bill, unveiled in its newest form on
Friday, has previously faced heavy criticism from Illinois' own Rep.
Yesterday was the first day of markups on H.R 2454, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey's (D-MA) Clean Energy and Security Act. The Democrats' major climate bill, unveiled in its newest form on Friday, has previously faced heavy criticism from Illinois' own Rep. John Shimkus, himself a devout global warming denier. Yesterday was no different. Early in his opening statement, the Collinsville Republican declared, "The day I have dreaded has arrived." He also revived one of his trusty anti-science talking points: that excessive amounts of carbon dioxide aren't really that bad after all. Watch it:
SHIMKUS: When we breathe in, we breathe oxygen. When we breathe out, we breathe out carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is not a toxic emittant [sic].
Wow. Shimkus really doesn't get it. No one is arguing that carbon dioxide is poisoning humans, as he seems to suggest here. Instead, proponents of this bill are concerned with the damage to the environment caused by unrestrained greenhouse gases and the effect this will ultimately have on human societies and economies. As University of Minnesota-Morris biologist PZ Myers wrote back in March (responding to Shimkus' suggestion that curbing carbon emissions would take away "plant food"):
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.
A new research project by The Lancet and the University College London (UCL) Institute for Global Health explores in great detail those human dangers posed by climate change. The researchers conclude that global warming is "the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” Extreme heat waves, changing patterns of infections, and reduced water and food availability could cause more deaths than daunting illnesses like AIDS or malaria.
But for Shimkus, climate change is nothing more than a liberal plot to expand government's reach. Here's another excerpt from the opening statement posted above:
SHIMKUS: I guess the other item that concerns me is the man-made crisis to empower bigger government. This bill takes from all to have government redistribute to who it sees fit. Why have Republicans fought this bill? Because we believe in less government. This creates more. We believe in individual responsibility, not government dictates. We believe in lower taxes, not higher carbon taxes. And we believe in more freedom, not less by an explosion of government intervention.
It's safe to say at this point that Shimkus is completely divorced from reality.
In other news, Rep. Bobby Rush -- earlier rumored to be on the fence -- called this draft "a very good bill" during yesterday's hearing. He was particularly happy to see that utility companies would receive some of the allowances to subsidize the rate increases for their low-income consumers and language in the bill that would create green jobs in low-income communities. In fact, faith, environmental, and workforce training organizations will join Rep. Rush's office tomorrow morning on the South Side to call for the bill's passage.