Former senators in the house

I just read Kate Sheppard's coverage of Friday's debate of the climate bill currently going through the House of Representatives [LINK]. The core of the article is drawing the dichotomy between Al Gore's testimony and Newt Gingrich.

Essentially, Al Gore says what he always says, which is what he's been saying for a decade. Namely, that the time to adopt strong regulation of carbon emissions is nigh, and that it is our moral responsibility to transition from polluting technologies to clean ones.

Then Newt Gingrich said that he doesn't think there's any need to rush into anything. He concedes that climate is changing, but doesn't think we understand it. Here's a quote from the article: [Gingrich] also argued for more studies of the problem. “On the facts of climate change, we need a national inquiry,” said Gingrich. “I want to invite Vice President Al Gore to participate in a nonpartisan inquiry, and I’d love to have this committee agree to help sponsor it, so that every high school and college campus this coming October could have a discussion about the facts.”

Here's the thing about such a national inquiry, though: we've done it. We did it in the late 1970s. We did it in the 1990s, and GW Bush even did it just a couple of years ago. The National Academies issued a report in response to a request from then-president Bush, and they confirmed strongly the findings of the IPCC.

This also allows us to address on of those common denier lines of argument, namely that climate scientists have a vested interest in climate change, that they are reaping millions of dollars of research money... blah blah. The problem is that if true, it would suggest that climate scientists would widely agree with Gingrich, who's now calling for more research into the issues of climate change. Instead, though, climate scientists nearly ubiquitously side with Al Gore, calling for decisive action, which would shift the focus from basic science to adaptation and mitigation strategies.

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