Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sparks fly in the 110th Democratic Congress when discussions turn to Iraq or U.S attorneys. Today we’ll see what happens when the Democrats examine climate change.

Al Gore is set to appear today before House and Senate panels to preach his global-warming gospel. Look for much intramural love among climate-panicked Democrats, but thankfully, there will be time for level heads to speak.

Questions: How certain are you, Mr. Gore, that the “carbon offsets” you purchase actually work? Carbon offsets are supposed to compensate for your 20-room Nashville mansion’s outsized energy consumption. So presumably you have reviewed the sustainable-energy projects they finance and find them to be excellent investments in a future of reduced carbon emissions.

Can you explain why the New York Times would devote a front-page story to the problematic factual inconsistencies and exaggerations of “An Inconvenient Truth”? It must be the vast right-wing conspiracy.

What is your plan regarding the $570,000 in royalties you have received from the mining of zinc on your property in Carthage, Tenn., which has released millions of pounds of potentially toxic materials into the air over three decades?

Explain why a persistent minority in the scientific community continues to voice skepticism of the emerging calamitous global-warming consensus, including most recently the notion that scientists even today are unable to read a “global temperature” with sufficient accuracy.

Maybe it’s all just an “Assault on Reason.” (That’s the title of Mr. Gore’s forthcoming book.)

We pose these questions not simply to be cheeky. There’s a chance someone might actually be able to ask them. In the Senate, it would be mostly up to Sen. James Inhofe, a climate skeptic and ranking member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, to make things interesting. Mr. Inhofe famously called global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” in 2003 and has scarcely retreated.

In the House hearing, Reps. Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield are notable dissenters, but there are few others. Global-warming realism’s last best hope on the Democratic side of the aisle used to be Rep. John Dingell, the 52-year House veteran from suburban Detroit who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee. No more. Mr. Dingell has recently changed his tune after enormous pressure from the rest of the Democratic Caucus. “The science on this question has been settled,” the Wall Street Journal quoted him as saying yesterday.

Certainly it’s not up to Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, to ask the probing questions. “Time is running out, and we need to move forward on this,” she told reporters this week.

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