By Katie Valentine, January 28, 2014
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday voted down an amendment that would have stated conclusively that climate change is occurring.
E&C Committee members voted 24-20 against the amendment, introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) to H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act. That bill, if it makes it through Congress, would put an end to EPA regulations on emissions for new power plants until technologies like carbon capture and storage are commercially viable in at least six states for one year. It passed in Tuesday’s committee, but the amendment, which would have placed on the record that the committee accepts that climate change is happening and is caused by greenhouse gas pollution, did not.
Twenty-four E&C members — all Republicans — voted against the amendment. Among them was E&C Chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who has said before that he doesn’t think climate change is caused by human activity, and Joe Barton (R-TX), who also questions humans’ role in climate change. In total, the Republicans who voted to deny climate change have accepted about $9.3 million in career contributions from the oil, gas and coal industries, according to analysis by the CAP Action War Room.
This isn’t the first time House Republicans have rejected amendments stating the reality of climate change. In 2011, House Republicans voted down amendments that called on Congress to accept that climate change is real, man-made, and a human health threat.
Scientists, of course, disagree with the committee members. Ninety-seven percent of scientific studies that take a stance on climate change agree that human activity is causing climate change. In October, a study found that temperatures in the Canadian Arctic today are warmer than at any point in the last 44,000 years and possibly even as far back as 120,000 years.
“The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” Gifford Miller, UC Boulder Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research Associate Director and lead author of the study said. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”