The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific agency established in 1988 by the United Nations. It is comprised of climate scientists from around the world who focus on the risk of global warming and subsequent climate change. With every report, called assessments, the position of the scientific community is louder and stronger – The planet is warming, we are causing it, and we will suffer if we don’t address the root cause, the release of greenhouse gases.
From the most recent (fifth) assessment: “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years, and human influence on the climate system is clear. It is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming between 1951-2010.”
The IPCC says little about how we should address the problem, only that we have a problem. The solution is to be left to the governments of the world. So for the United States, who is in charge and what do they think?
Jim Inhofe, republican from Oklahoma, is chairman of the senate committee on Environment and Public works. Mr Inhofe is essentially the poster boy for global warming denial. He has even written a book on the subject: The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. He has referred to the IPCC as a “soviet style trial” and the US EPA as a “gestapo bureaucracy.”
Lisa Murkowski, republican from Alaska, is Chairwoman of the senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In the past she has acknowledged that climate change is real and “we need to fight it…it doesn’t make sense to argue about how much global warming is caused by man — whether it’s 5 percent or 50 percent.“ That said, her actions speak louder than her words. She introduced a resolution to bar the EPA from regulating carbon emissions. She has called for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to drilling for oil and gas. And she now claims that climate change “is too important an issue to rush and get wrong,” – shorthand for lets do nothing.
On the house side we have Lamar Smith, republican Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology committee. He claims that most of the predictions of the IPCC have been wrong and the reports clearly are biased. He stated that “we’ve now had close to 18 years of no global warming even though carbon dioxide emissions have increased 25 percent over the last 18 years. Nobody can explain that.” The only problem here is that he is dead wrong. Last year, 2014, was the hottest year and 13 of the last 15 years were the hottest on record.
The house committee on Natural Resources is chaired by Rob Bishop, republican from Utah. He received a lifetime score of only 4% from the League of Conservation Voters, meaning he consistently votes against conservation measures. He opined, “Despite the fact that scientific data underlying the studies of global warming appear to have been manipulated to produce an intended outcome, EPA officials disregarded the contaminated science, calling it little more than a ‘blip on the history of this process.’” There is no evidence whatsoever to the claim that data has been manipulated or that science is contaminated.