Friday, December 2, 2011

Maryland Congressmen Duel Over Climate Change: Rep. John Sarbanes vs. Rep. Andy Harris

An unusual outlet recently discussed a climate change feud between two members of Congress from Maryland: Rep. John Sarbanes (Democrat) & Rep. Andy Harris (Republican). An author at the Deep Sea blog recently wrote a piece titled "When Far-Sighted Vision Meets Near-Sighted Politics or Zombie Worms For Congress!" The blog's stated mission is: "Demystifying and humanizing science in an open conversation that instills passion, awe, and responsibility for the oceans." The article in question was written by Rick MacPherson, Director of Conservation Programs for the Coral Reef Alliance. See an excerpt from the full article below:
What’s the difference between a collection of Osedax “Zombie worms” and the 112th United States Congress?  One is a population of spineless, sedentary, opportunistic life forms that thrive in darkness while devouring the bones of the dead.  The other are a species of deep sea polychaete worms.

Exhibit A:
In news that barely made it into print on November 20th, the US House of Representatives killed a request by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to reorganize and consolidate it’s miscellaneous climate-related offices into a single, unified National Climate Service.  The request sought to, “bring together NOAA’s existing dispersed climate capabilities under a single line office to more effectively and efficiently respond to America’s increasing demand for climate information.”

By midsummer 2011, opposition was mounting against Congressional approval of any aspect of the National Climate Service... 
Republicans and other critics asserted that the establishment of a National Climate Service would only provide a centralized federal  mouthpiece for “pushing the global warming agenda.”  and build the pulpit higher for politicians and climate scientists to hawk their climate timetables. “Our hesitation,” Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) contended, “is that the climate services could become little propaganda sources instead of a science service.”

Not to miss a chance for a Congressional retort, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), a key proponent of the service, said, “Will not!”

To which Harris shouted, “Will!” 
Shaking his hand in a clenched fist, Sarbanes screamed, “Will not!”

...What Rep Sarbanes actually said was, “There is a strong scientific consensus that climate change is happening and human activity plays a significant role. Yet the Republican leadership in Congress continues their reckless political stunt of climate change denial.”

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