Skip to main content

Congressional Hearing: Whadja Say?

August 22, 2013 – During the past two years, Henry Waxman (D-CA), Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member, and  Bobby Rush (D-IL), Energy and Power Subcommittee ranking member, have sent 21 letters requesting a hearing on climate change and the latest science bearing on the issue.  Recipients Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman, respectively, have steadfastly ignored these requests.  The one exception occurred in March of this year, at which time Waxman and Rush received a response.

Upton and Whitfield have now scheduled what is being called a “major hearing” on climate change for September 18.  The leaders of 13 federal agencies have been invited to testify, among them Gina McCarthy of the EPA, Ernest Moniz of the Dept. of Energy, Chuck Hagel of the Defense Dept., and State Dept. Secretary John Kerry.   Each letter of invitation asks nine questions about the amount of time, money and resources devoted by these agencies to climate change policies, and asks that written answers be submitted at the time of the hearing.

Advance press states that the hearing, “The Obama Administration’s Climate Change Policies and Activities,” will touch on the scientific underpinnings of climate change.  The words “touch on” do not exactly fill me with optimism; on the other hand, acknowledged or not, the science is not about to go away.  Indeed, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has written another report about the science of climate change, a draft of which has been leaked.  In it, scientist members of the panel assert that there is now 95 percent certainty about the human origins of climate change, largely by means of burning fossil fuels.  The IPCC’s reports serve as the primary guides for U.N. member nations when they formulate climate change policies.

At the same time, Vice President Al Gore is quoted as saying that a number of Republican members of Congress have told him they are tired of climate change denial by members of their own party.  The reason for their change in attitude, he believes, is the extreme weather events being reported on a daily basis in the nightly news.  Gore also alludes to the addition of another number to the hurricane classification scale, something of which I was unaware.  There is now a category 6, something which would give any thinking person reason to reconsider.

What the September hearings will accomplish remains to be seen.  A restive populace, as evidenced by growing numbers of protests from one coast to the other, accompanied by aggressive climate change campaigning on the part of Congressional Democrats, seems to be moving Republicans off of square one.  Whether or not square two can be even vaguely perceived from where legislators stand today may be much clearer, especially to Republicans, by the middle of next month.

With thanks to and


Popular posts from this blog

The SunShot Initiative

In 2007, the amount of solar power installed in the U.S. was 1.1 gigawatts (GW). As of 2017, that amount has increased to 47.1 GW. Enough to power 9.1 million average American homes. If you're thinking "we've still got a long way to go," you'd be right. On the other hand, increasing installed power by 4300% deserves some attention.  How'd we do it?

The Department of Energy played an important role. In 2011, they initiated a program called The SunShot Initiative. They set targets for the years 2020 and 2030, by which times generating solar power would have become more affordable. More affordable on a utility scale, more affordable on a commercial scale, and more affordable on a residential scale. Thus far, they've succeeded in hitting the 2020 goal for utility-scale generation. Needless to mention, they reached that goal three years early. The goals, it should be mentioned, don't take subsidies into account. It's the technology, in the case of util…

Book Review: Irrevocable Acts

July 30, 2017 - Before I begin, let me mention that Jonnie Hyde is a member of the writing group I belong to, here in Vancouver, Wa. I took a stab at writing a novel about climate change awhile back; it wasn't very good, and subsequently went nowhere. Irrevocable Acts, on the other hand, is deserving of attention.

The beginning of Hyde's book is, perhaps, its only weak point: it's a bit confusing. All becomes clear as the book unfolds, and the characters are interesting, so there's no question of remaining involved. The characters hold your focus because they live their lives differently from most, yet the Sanders are a family, with three generations living under one roof: Anna, Kate, and Gracie. That family begins to unravel when the matriarch, Anna, decides she must embark, finally, on the life she was meant to live.

Anna, Danny Shepard, and Mac Caffrey have been friends most of their lives. Products of Berkeley at a time when the name Berkeley was believed to mean o…