Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The End of Seasons

AkinTodd We’ve turned the spotlight on some politicians who really seem to have done their homework on climate change, cap-and-trade, nuclear energy and the other topics that will be important as the climate change and energy bills work their way through Congress.

We did that because, first, they deserve a little attention for doing their jobs well – we’ve spotlighted Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), but there are plenty of others who have done the home work and shared what they’ve learned. That they mostly support nuclear energy – well, surely the mark of advanced intelligence, no?

And second, because all this good work can get drowned out when you run into comments like this:

This whole thing strikes me [as] if it weren’t so serious as being a comedy, you know? I mean, we just went from winter to spring. In Missouri, when we go from winter to spring, that’s a good climate change. I don’t want to stop that climate change, you know? Who in the world want to put politicians in charge of the weather anyway? What a dumb idea.

At least this seems an intentional joke:

Some of the models said that we’re going to have surf at the front steps of the Capitol pretty soon. I was really looking forward to that.

That’s Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) on the floor of the House. Leaving aside the confusion about weather and climate, this does not seem responsive to the legislation or to the needs of policy. While we grant that deriding policy you don’t like is a grand old tradition, and that supporting wrong-headed legislation is never a good idea, we’re not sure presenting this as an argument on the House floor is particularly useful.

Viewing Rep. Akin’s homepage, we find he is intensely interested in a shortfall of Navy fighter planes. We’d love to hear more from him on that subject.

Rep. Todd Akin. He serves on the House Energy and Environment subcommittee, which passed the climate change (cap-and-trade) bill; we bet his questions of witnesses there aren’t all that bad.


Colin said...

Lighten up! Geez. It’s not usual for members of Congress or other leaders to use satire, humor or other devices to make a point about an issue, particularly one as contentious as climate change. I’m sure that Rep. Akin isn’t waxing up his long board anticipating the day that the Capitol is underwater.

MD said...

Humor aside, climate change is a serious issue that has many dimensions. It should be considered fully and with all due consideration to the environmental and economic impact on all Americans.

Given the political and regional differences associated not only with climate change policy, but also with energy policy, there will be a great many differences among members of Congress and their constituents as this debate ensues. Many support cap-and-trade scheme; others a carbon tax. There is the question of allocations and how they should be distributed.

Reducing greenhouse gases while meeting future electricity demand is as serious an issue as Congress as debated in some time. Sure, there are strong feelings on both sides. There also are many members of Congress who are devoted to striking a legislative balance that enhances our environment without putting an undue economic burden on consumers.

Electricity bills will increase in the years to come as our high-tech conveniences suck more power from the grid. Add to that the cost of power plants and a smart grid to maintain the electric system reliability we enjoy today, and it’s easy to see why Congress must support cost-effective carbon reductions

donb said...

Climate change is the issue in vogue right now with regards to reducing CO2 emissions via nuclear energy. The unfortunate results is this one issue tends to become THE reason to promote nuclear energy. However, there so are many known bad affects from burning fossil fuels (especially coal) that even climate change agnostics (such as myself) who look carefully at energy issues can easily conclude the nuclear is the way to go. Making known this long list of bad affects is how to promote nuclear energy. If you also want to put climate change on the list, be my guest.