Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Thank God for Senator InhofeA report from Peyton Knight, who attended today’s Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing featuring Al Gore:
Al Gore brought his global warming sermon to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works this afternoon, where Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) showed that she wasn't afraid to use her new power as head of the committee quite liberally (pardon the pun).
Mr. Gore was the sole witness, he was given an astonishing 30 minutes for his opening remarks, and, unlike other poor saps called to testify before Congress, Mr. Gore apparently was not required to provide the committee with a copy of his written testimony 48 hours prior to the hearing. In fact, according to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), just three hours prior to the hearing, Mr. Gore had still not provided his testimony.
The hearing got started with Gore receiving a warm welcome from Chairwoman Boxer. Then, Senator Barbara Mikulski joined Gore at the witness table (this is not customary) and provided a second glowing introduction. Then, finally, it was Al's turn for 30 minutes.
Gore spent very little time discussing the scientific aspects of the global warming debate. Instead, the clear majority of his time (I would estimate 95 percent of it) was spent pleading and preaching and urging the Senate to act now to “stop” global warming. He repeatedly exclaimed that "nature is on the run" from man's emissions, and he laid out the following multi-point plan of attack:1. Gore said: "We ought to have an immediate freeze on CO2 emissions and start the reductions from there."After Gore completed his speech, Senator Inhofe was given the opportunity to fire off the first round of questions. I have to say, thank God for Senator Inhofe. He stood in the face of a hostile majority, and firmly reported the many "inconvenient truths" surrounding Gore's interpretation of the issue. When Chairwoman Boxer repeatedly attempted to intervene on the behalf of Mr. Gore, Senator Inhofe firmly and effectively stood his ground.
2. Gore said: "We ought to use the tax code... we ought to cut taxes on employment and make up the difference with pollution taxes - CO2 taxes."
3. Gore said: "I'm in favor of a cap and trade... and I supported Kyoto... We ought to negotiate and ratify a new, tougher treaty that starts in 2010... We also need to get China and India involved."
4. Gore proposed "a moratorium on all new coal plants that don't have carbon capture and sequestration."
5. Gore said: "We ought to ban incandescent light bulbs and other technologies."
6. Gore cited the power of the Internet (his invention?) and said we ought to create an "electronet" (his newest invention?) where people and businesses can sell and trade electricity and power.
7. Gore said: "We ought to raise CAFE standards."
8. Gore proposed that Congress create a "Connie Mae" - or "carbon neutral mortgage association."
9. Gore proposed that Congress require corporate disclosure of CO2 emissions. According to him, investors are concerned with this issue and "have a right to know."
Inhofe asked Gore to sign a "Personal Energy Ethics Pledge" to use no more energy than the average household, and not to count so-called "carbon offsets" (best described as "energy indulgences") in his calculation. Gore had a rambling response to the Inhofe's challenge, but ultimately, refused to take the pledge.
Senator Inhofe did a masterful job of presenting the many, many scientists who specialize in climatology who disagree with Gore. He also noted a recent New York Times article that took Gore to task for over-hyping global warming. Gore never actually countered any of Inhofe's assertions, but only pleaded with him like a religious zealot who pleads with a non-believer to join the faith.
Senator John Warner (not surprisingly) announced that he was "prepared to fight with [Gore and Boxer] on this issue." He then expressed mild concern about whether current technology would enable us to stave off the catastrophe that Gore predicts.
Gore responded to Warner: "We have the technology we need to begin addressing the crisis."
Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) asked Gore if he thought global warming was the moral issue of today's younger generation? (Essentially: "Here, Mr. Gore, see if you can hit this ball off of a tee.")
Gore waxed philosophical about racial segregation being the moral issue of his time prior to declaring global warming to be the moral issue of today's youth.
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) asked Gore if he knew anything about the Bush administration suppressing government employees from speaking the truth about global warming.
Gore spent the next couple of minutes singing the praises of NASA scientist James Hansen, who despite claims to have been muzzled by the Bush Administration, has availed himself to "over 1,400 media opportunities" (as Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) reported earlier this week in a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing).
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:02 PM