Jim Sensenbrenner: Full of Opinion and Hyperbole on Climate Change Legislation but Very Few Facts

Tue, 2009-04-14 18:51Leslie Berliant
Leslie Berliant's picture

Jim Sensenbrenner: Full of Opinion and Hyperbole on Climate Change Legislation but Very Few Facts

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Voters will be pleased to know that as a member of that committee, Sensenbrenner continues to live up to the accolades bestowed upon him by Rolling Stone Magazine which named him as one of the ten worst members of the 109th congress.

Here’s a little background on Jim “the Dictator” Sensenbrenner:

Sensenbrenner, whose $10 million fortune stems from his great-grandfather’s invention of the Kotex sanitary napkin, won $250,000 in the lottery in 1997. He also enjoys the perks of office: No congressman has racked up more frequent-flier miles on junkets sponsored by corporate lobbyists. While he was enjoying the good life last year, Sensenbrenner took time out to make life tougher on working families, winning approval for a bill that makes it harder for Americans overwhelmed by debt to declare bankruptcy. The congressman refused to consider an exemption from the bill’s restrictions for victims of Hurricane Katrina – and even voted against the aid package designed to help them recover from the disaster. - Rolling Stone

It comes as no surprise that Sensenbrenner’s recent interview with conservative radio show host Jay Weber (who starts by once again falsely attributing to MIT the many times debunked estimate of cap and trade costing $3100 per family) is another fine example of the wit and wisdom of the flat earth wing of the Republican party.

Let’s start where Weber starts, with Sensenbrenner’s ‘personal stance’ on global warming and whether or not it’s real. Because yeah, opinion equals scientific fact:

I think that the science is inconclusive on this. What I do say very emphatically with these massive increases in utility costs through the cap and tax scheme, we shouldn’t be doing this as long as the science is inconclusive.

Inconclusive? Really? Perhaps in your ‘personal opinion’, Congressman, but according to actual scientists and actual scientific studies, the jury is out on this one. And by the way, since when did $11 - $77 per household in 2015, the actual amount that MIT estimates in possible energy cost increases, become massive?

What the science says is that temperatures peaked out globally in 1998. So we’ve gone for 10 plus years where the temperatures have gone down.

Sorry, Congressman, the science does not say that. Actually, the science says that 2008 temperatures were the 8th warmest on record. But who cares about science when you’ve got opinions!

I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do and our lunar, our rovers on Mars have indicated that there has been a slight warming in the atmosphere of Mars and that certainly was not caused by the internal combustion engine.

Ah, the good old ‘it’s not you, it’s the sun’ argument. Keep driving your SUV, burning coal and consuming every last resource on the planet, because nothing is your fault. Too bad blaming climate change on solar flares can’t stand up to scrutiny. And the Mars myth, that’s always a good one to pull out of your bag of tricks when you want to take no action on climate change, because it sounds so scientific.

Sensenbrenner doesn’t miss an opportunity to use the Republican talking point of cap and tax:

The way cap and tax works is that if a utility or an oil company or a natural gas company emits more carbon than some bureaucrat decides, than they have to buy carbon offset credits. Europe has had cap and tax since 2005 and almost half of the credits that European utilities have bought have been from outside the European Union, largely from China. This is a massive wealth transfer.

Kind of like the massive transfer of wealth from the U.S. to China in the form of a trade deficit of $250 billion to feed our insatiable appetite for cheap crap, the production and shipping of which is also contributing to catastrophic climate change? We ought to be thanking Europe for leading the way so that we can learn the necessary lessons to improve on the system. And let’s not forget which country saddled those who signed onto Kyoto with carbon trading. That would be the U.S. that insisted that carbon trading be included in Kyoto in order to be a part of it and then pulled out anyway.

Sensenbrenner goes on to call climate talks at Kyoto, Poznan and Copenhagen fatally flawed, which makes him some kind of prognosticator since Copenhagen talks won’t take place until December of this year. He also claims that energy bills will go up by 100%. That may be true if your existing annual energy bill is $77 and it’s 2015.

What I think is going to happen is that they’ll go on a rant against utility company executives for passing on the costs of these credits that they have to buy just like they went on a rant against oil company executives a year ago when the price of gas was $4 a gallon.

What is Sensenbrenner’s point here? I guess he is okay with oil companies reaping record profits and receiving massive tax breaks while Americans get squeezed at the pump. Perhaps that is because he is a $100,000 shareholder, so guess who profits when they do? In fact, it seems he’d like to expand the corporate welfare program to include the coal industry. Let the American people pay the costs of rising sea levels, hurricane damage, wild fires, droughts, diseases and food shortages, all caused by climate change. Apparently, it would be wrong to make the polluters pay.

By the way, and I’m sitting on an economic study that was done by the National Association of Manufacturers that says that under cap and tax, gas prices will be $8 - $10 a gallon.

Perhaps he’s sitting on it because he pulled it out of his…

Honestly, when fear-mongering, it’s always good to quote ‘research’ that is not yet released. Who can argue with the results of research they’ve never actually seen. Also, speak in hyperbole and demonize China, as in the comment that “all manufacturing will move to China”. All of it, every last bit.

The best part of the interview is at the end when Weber says “I know you’re not launching this as a crusade for political reasons.” Jim Sensenbrenner, the guy who suggested turning 12 million undocumented immigrants into felons, the guy who says that fuel economy standards are ruining the economy, the guy who has amassed $46,465 in trips to Lichtenstein paid for by lobbyists, that guy put politics first? Not possible.

Comments

Nice post, Leslie.  I’m amazed at how these factually-challenged public figures have so many avenues in which to go about spewing their talking points, without facing even the slightest challenge to their nonsense.  It’s as if we have a nation that is half-filled with mindless dimwits, incapable and/or unwilling to think for themselves.

Weber’s comment about not having ‘political motives’ was so assanine it was funny, until I realized how many people in Wisconsin listen to and believe the absurd rhetoric he spouts.

Every politician should have to have on their website the full list of donors with amounts given. Their financial ties (stocks, other income) should also be very easily shown so we know who they really speak for.  

Sell this house

growing grapes

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