Friday, February 13, 2009

House Subcommittee Hearing

Yesterday, the House subcommittee on Energy and the Environment had a hearing on "The Climate Crisis: National Security, Economic, and Public Health Threats."

I had forgotten that its quite frustrating to actually attend hearings: the Members give extended opening statements, then get up and leave before they hear the testimony or ask questions. The result is that the only Members who really engage on the subject are those that really have a strong vested interest.

As a Republican, its sometimes hard for me to listen to our House members discuss climate change. They haven't changed their talking points for a decade, and are still fighting with the scientists. I make it a point to not argue with scientists. The Committee yesterday had a real chance to engage with some of the real experts on this subject: former CIA director Woolsey, and General Gordon Sullivan. Instead, both the Republicans and Democrats spent far too much time trying to score points by arguing with the two climate scientists on the panel (one placed by each side).

General Sullivan, who was one of the leaders of the CNA's report on Climate Change and Security, pointedly refused to engage in the political back-and-forth. He was there to talk about the national security risks of climate change, and wasn't going to get pulled into it.

Over all, I don't think any news was made: everything there had been said already. However, its important to bring this debate back into Congress. Anything we can do to elevate the debate beyond the point-scoring and arguments about he science is best for a true dialogue on climate change and security.

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