About the Blog
We will be tracking the live interaction of key legislative subcommittees engaged in shaping energy and climate policy. We’ll also follow the positions of candidates running for office. and important judicial activity.
——> Here are some of the questions we will be asking: Does the legislation coming out of congressional and senatorial subcommittees address the energy and climate challenges we are facing? Do the legislative solutions in the works reflect the overwhelming consensus among scientists about the nature of the problem? Are the views of citizens reflected in the views of our elected officials? What role are energy lobbies (oil, gas, nuclear, renewables) playing in shaping policy?
Our approach will be focused on what our elected officials and candidates are actually saying, usually in front of cameras. Some of it seems baffling, so we will offer brief analysis where appropriate. But we will also let some video clips just speak for themselves, especially when they appear to be thinly disguised attempts to press the agenda of a special interest or to deny widely accepted scientific evidence.
Issues we will be following include the ongoing efforts by members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to dramatically reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as to eliminate its authority to regulate greenhouse gasses. We’ll also look at the controversies surrounding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline linking the oil sands in Alberta to American refineries (in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Illinois). federal ethanol and oil subsidies, and other issues. Hydro-fracking is an important issue where I live, so there will be posts about the scientific and policy debates about that as well. We’ll also follow what the GOP presidential candidates say about energy and climate issues.
But first, more about this site and the legislators now shaping our national energy policies.
Some of what is being said by our elected officials, including influential congressmen who are sitting in the powerful positions that will determine our energy and climate policy, amount to more than a denial of incontrovertible facts. Some reflect a rejection of science itself, and are strange even as theology. These include assertions that that God created so-called “fossil” fuels 5,700 years ago for us to use without concern for conservation of other parts of nature, or that God said in Genesis that he will not destroy humankind again after the he did so with The Flood, so why worry about global climate change?
It is hard to tell if our elected officials really believe what they are saying, or whether they posturing for their constituencies. So we will show you them in action, and provide information about who funds their campaigns and what the polling data show about Americans believe about the issues, about the legitimacy of science, and about the importance of education.
Whatever one’s political views, or whatever we believe about this or that policy, the bigger concern here is with officials who are pressing for policies favored by campaign contributors and lobbies wishing to advance their own interests, even when those interests conflict head-on with overwhelming scientific evidence, or with the beliefs of the citizens who have elected them. Sometimes what is said in the clips we feature might reflect grandstanding to a local constituency which itself holds beliefs that are uninformed or strike us as, well, just weird. So we will provide links to campaign funding streams from energy industry sources, to what scientists and energy educators believe, and to the reputable polling data about what Americans think about the issues.
Scott Brophy is a philosophy professor whose work is focused on the intersection of philosophy and public policy, especially on environmental issues, law, and education. He has also taught philosophy of science, logic, and the history of philosophy. He has served as a consultant for educational programs and schools throughout the U.S. and abroad, and as an adviser to several philanthropic foundations.