U.S. Rep. Joe Barton
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, today told former Vice President Al Gore his theories on global warming are not supported by the facts and if Gore’s desires are implemented, there would be no new businesses, cars or even people allowed in the United States.
“You just gave us an idea for a straight CO2 freeze, if I heard you correctly. I think that’s an idea that’s flawed. If you take that literally, we can add no new industry, nor new cars and trucks on our streets, and apparently no new people,” Barton, who represents the 6th District in Texas, said. “People are mobile-source emitters. Every person emits 0.2 tons of CO2 a year, so an absolute true freeze would be no new industry, no new people, and no new cars.”
During a hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Barton challenged the “facts” being used to promote Gore’s campaign for a new war on global warming, portrayed in Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth.” Gore has called such warming “a crisis that is by far the most serious we’ve faced,” and described it as “a true planetary emergency.”
But Gore’s claims that climactic changes that are forecast in coming years should be blamed on increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and will produce rising ocean levels, more dangerous weather and widespread flooding or drought weren’t supported by the facts, according to Barton.
“The first thing I want to address is the science of global warming as portrayed by the vice president’s film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ This is something that I think we absolutely have to get right. Even the mainstream media, Mr. Vice President, are now noticing that global warming science is uneven and evolving. We need to be deliberative and careful when we talk about so-called scientific facts,” Barton, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said.
“In your movie, you display a timeline of temperature and compared to CO2 levels over a 600,000-year period as reconstructed from ice core samples. You indicate that this is conclusive proof of the link of increased CO2 emissions and global warming. A closer examination of these facts reveals something entirely different,” Barton said.
Barton said a Science magazine article he was submitting for the record shows that historically, increases in CO2 concentrations actually lagged temperature changes by up to 1,000 years.
“The temperature appears to drive CO2, not vice versa. On this point, Mr. Vice President, you’re not just off a little. You’re totally wrong. And it’s not just this one article; the president of the National Academy of Sciences agreed, under oath, last summer in an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on this very point,” said Barton.
Barton also noted that “historically, and repeatedly,” CO2 levels have far exceeded concentrations now being reported, which are in the range of 380 parts per million.
“Indeed, CO2 levels in the past have exceeded 1,000 ppm, and average earth temperatures have been much higher then than they are today. We know these things. … [I]t remains a fact, and is clear from the data we do have, that for hundreds of thousands of years, CO2 levels followed temperature rise, not the other way around, as you preach,” he said.
“You’ve also asserted that global warming will cause sea levels to rise by over 20 feet. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report indicates a rise of at most 23 inches.
“You state that there will be more and stronger hurricanes because of global warming. The IPCC report does not support this claim. You also state that malaria has been exacerbated in Nairobi because of global warming. The World Health Organization report does not support this allegation. In fact, malaria is not exclusively a warm weather disease – inhabitants of Siberia have long experienced malaria outbreaks,” Barton noted.
Barton said without a doubt legislation needs to keep four things in mind: “We want to be sure it actually helps the environment; we want to keep the lights on at an affordable price; we want to keep the American economy strong and American jobs here, and we can’t get out in front of what is technologically possible at the current time.”
Barton said there are, in fact, some good ideas that Gore has promoted, and Congress already has acted in most of those cases.
“They include more efficient use of electricity in heating, cooling, appliances, and lighting; more energy efficient buildings and businesses; more fuel efficient cars, hybrids and fuel cell cars; better designed cities, mass transit and fuel efficient trucks; increased use of renewables; and carbon capture and sequestration. These are good ideas; they are not just reasonable responses to climate change, but they’re good energy policy as well.
“We have before you one of your tables from your book, I believe. I’m happy to report that in the last Congress, under the chairmanship of myself and with the strong and able support of Mr. Dingell, the current chairman, we reported out and passed into law the Energy Policy Act of 2005 on a bipartisan basis. If we look at that piece of legislation, we’ll see that many of the things you’ve recommended, we’ve already done,” Barton said.
“You want more efficient systems for heating and cooling and appliances and electronic equipment. In the Energy Policy Act we did that in Titles 1, 9, and 13. You want end-use efficiency design in buildings and businesses to use far less energy than they currently do. We did that in Titles 1, 9 and 13. You want increased vehicle efficiency, cars that run on less gas and more hybrid and fuel-cells cars. We attempted to start that process in Titles 7, 8, 9, 13, and 15. You want to make other changes in transportation efficiency, better mass transit systems and heavy trucks that use less fuel. We did that in Titles 7 and 9. You want increased renewable energy – wind, solar and biofuels. We do that in Titles 2, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 18. And finally you think that we need to research and try to capture and store carbon from power plants and factories. We start that process in Titles 4, 9 and 17. So on many of the things you recommend, we not only agree with you, we’ve already done it,” he said.
Other Gore ideas, however, are flawed, Barton said.
“Your suggestion of a carbon tax is a something that would harm our competitiveness, raise costs to American families, export jobs, and actually do very little to improve our environment. Likewise, a Kyoto-style cap-and-trade system for CO2 will mainly increase the price of electricity while providing few, if any, environmental benefits. These proposals, especially considering that neither of them includes large emitters of greenhouse gases such as China and India, fail the common-sense test that any legislation should meet: they provide little benefit at a huge cost,” Barton said.
“A carbon tax on the American people, or instituting a cap on carbon without the participation of nations like China and India, is an attempt to reverse global warming similar to a doctor telling an overweight, sedentary chain-smoker to wear a seat belt. China is adding a coal power plant a week, and will add more coal-fired electricity generation this year than the entire state of Texas currently has. When you were vice president and you jetted into Kyoto to sign the Kyoto Protocol, you rejected requests of people like myself and Chairman Dingell to insist that China and the developing nations be included in that same protocol.
“Let’s look in Europe when they tried to instigate their cap-and-trade. In Germany electricity wholesale rates have risen 30 to 40 percent and they’re facing job losses. Despite all the efforts of the European nations that signed Kyoto, almost none of these countries are on target to meet their Kyoto obligations. Cap-and-trade isn’t working in Europe; it will not even be tried in Asia, and it should not be unilaterally imposed in the United States of America,” Barton said.
Even as Gore prepared to appear before the House committee, Czech President Vaclav Klaus was calling the issue a new religion, and describing it as the modern equivalent of communism.
“It becomes evident that while discussing climate we are not witnessing a clash of views about the environment, but a clash of views about human freedom,” the Czech leader has said.
“As someone who lived under communism for most of my life I feel obliged to say that the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity at the beginning of the 21st century is not communism or its various softer variants,” said Klaus, responding to questions posed by the two lawmakers. “Communism was replaced by the threat of ambitious environmentalism.”
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Editor’s note: The current global warming frenzy is exposed as never before in the March edition of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine, in an issue titled, HYSTERIA: Exposing the secret agenda behind today’s obsession with global warming.”