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The Sciences

Fred Upton's New (And Old) Stance on Global Warming

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyFebruary 9, 2011 8:27 PM

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Yesterday a video made the rounds of Fred Upton, the new chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, clearly denying that climate change is human caused. In taking this stance, Upton officially joined many of his fellow Republicans, who have already done so. But unlike those who have long held this view, Upton appears to have adopted it more recently. For instance, look at this 2009 article in the River Country Journal,published in Upton’s home state of Michigan. In it, he’s quoted praising wind energy and commenting: “Climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions. Everything must be on the table – particularly renewable sources of energy like wind and solar, nuclear power and clean coal technologies.” I don’t see how you go logically from thinking climate change is a “serious problem that necessitates serious solutions”—solutions that include a number of non-carbon energy sources—to thinking humans aren’t causing climate change through their carbon emissions. If global warming is natural, why would we need energy solutions? There is a big leap here, and it is hard to see how anything other than politics would explain it. For more, see Kate Sheppard’s analysis of Upton’s recent movement at Mother Jones.

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