On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that carbon dioxide – one of the worst greenhouse gases – has reached a concentration of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere, levels not seen seen for millions of years.
“Today’s rate of increase is more than 100 times faster than the increase that occurred when the last ice age ended,” NOAA declared.
So with growing fears of climate change, global warming and rising sea levels, what did national leaders do? Argue.
In fact, President Obama’a supporters and a Republican lawmaker cherry-picked facts in trying to prove their points.
That’s why Obama’s Organization for Action group and Rep. Chris Stewart win the Whopper of the Week, a distinction given out by the Washington Guardian to examples of half-truths and miscues from leaders in Washington.
Stewart, R-Utah, the recently elected Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Environment, wrote an April editorial in TheSalt Lake Tribune questioning what affect humans are having on their environment.
“There is also uncertainty regarding to what degree man is to blame for global warming,” he wrote. “However, the claim that 98 percent of scientists agree that humans are the singular driver of climate change has been repeatedly discounted. This oft-cited statistic is based on an online survey with a sample size of only 77 people, and the survey didn’t even ask to what degree humans contribute to climate change.”
But Stewart is being very selective when referring to where the statistic came from. The “survey” he mentions is actually a small component of a much larger study. The on state he cited did indeed just cover 77 climate scientists. Stewart, however, chose to ignore the larger study by the University of Chicago and American Geophysical Union, which found 82 percent of scientists believe humans are responsible for the rapid rise in climate change.
Democrats, meanwhile, have tried to paint the GOP as being in denial about climate change, but also cherrypicked the facts.
“Number of House members who voted in 2011 that climate change was a ‘hoax’: 240” claims a video by Organization for Action, President Barack Obama’s new advocacy group.
But the vote mentioned by the video wasn’t a straight up decision on whether humans affect the environment. Instead it was a vote on a specific amendment to the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, proposed legislation which never became law.
A total of 240 Republicans voted against the bill not because they don’t believe in climate change, but because the amendment was focused on changing the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency, an always touchy subject in Congress.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said that he and “other members voted against the amendment because the purpose of the bill is not to debate, confirm, or question climate change, but to reiterate the authority of the Clean Air Act, which is an important law with a decades-long history regulating pollutants.”
So the vote was a matter of policy, not a claim that climate change was a hoax as the Obama video tried to argue.