Climate Change Denier Aims to Chair House Energy Committee

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Representative John Shimkus of Illinois is vying to chair the House Energy Committee as the Republicans organize their caucus. Shimkus would have jurisdiction over any global warming legislation to come through the House of Representatives in the coming session if appointed. Shimkus is an unlikely victor, as Representative Joe Barton of Texas has seniority. Shimkus has served on the committee since 1997, and promises a more aggressive approach than Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, his other competitor.

Shimkus sees climate change in a biblical context. In March 2009, speaking to the House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, Shimkus quoted Chapter 8, Verse 22 of Genesis to explain his belief that the earth will not be destroyed by climate change.

"Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though all inclinations of his heart are evil from childhood and never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease."

He went on to say, "I believe that is the infallible word of god, and that's the way it is going to be for his creation... The earth will end only when God declares its time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood."

You can imagine that people in Haiti and Pakistan, where hundreds of thousands of people have been pushed from their homes from flooding this year, might disagree with his comment. For them, flooding is very real.

Juan Cole and Andrew Leonard cover this story as well.

According to the Wonk Room, following midterm elections, half of the Republican caucus in the U.S. Congress now questions the scientific consensus of global warming. Additional research suggests that 45 of 97 Republican freshmen and 85 of 166 reelected Republicans are confirmed climate deniers.

The end of days concept, which exists in some form in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, proclaims the day when God destroys humanity and the earth in order to wipe out our sins and reconsecrate the world in justice with the coming of the Messiah. There's no shortage of end of days evangelists in the U.S. Congress, but few believe that humans are affecting the climate. Maybe it's time for those who believe in an end of days scenario to herald global warming as a proof of concept.

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Adam Werbach is the co-founder of sharing startup Yerdle, formerly the chief sustainability officer for Saatchi & Saatchi and the president of the Sierra Club. He is the author of Strategy for Sustainability: A Business ManifestoHe lives in San Francisco and Bolinas, California.

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