Science returns to House Science Committee

February 14, 2019

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held its first climate change hearing of the year, a week after the Energy and Commerce and the Natural Resources committees held their own hearings. Unlike years past when panels tilted in favor of climate hoaxers, the GOP chose as their witness EcoRight friend and scientist Joseph Majkut from Niskanen Center, which advocates for free enterprise solutions to climate change. "The way I think about it is that it's not that there's a temperature where human flourishing is maximal. Science can't really tell us that," Majkut told Committee members. "What we do know is that we've built our society around temperatures that we've encountered over the last 200, 300 years... We're fixing to change it quite a bit and that rapid transition is a cause for concern."

The Committee's ranking member, Rep. Frank Lucas from Oklahoma, took a pragmatic approach to the subject: "Droughts and heat waves come and go naturally, but the changing climate has intensified their impacts," Lucas said in his opening remarks. "We know the climate is changing and that global industrial activity has played a role in this phenomenon. But our communities, like the farmers and ranchers in my district, need to know more about the extent to which a changing climate affects short- and long-term weather patterns."

In prepared testimony, Majkut wrote: "No matter your beliefs about the proper size and scope of government, the reality is that government must act to reduce the risks of climate change, and it already is doing so in several areas. But at present, far too many tons of CO2 are emitted here, and abroad, without sufficient regard to the damages they will cause future generations. In the long term, that will make us worse off. The responses to this problem do not have to be onerous government regulation and mandates, and they don't have to be hasty. It wouldn't be wise to halt emissions tomorrow or prevent future economic growth, but we could be doing much more to reduce emissions here in the United States beyond the already laudable reductions we've seen in the last 10 years. Congress should pursue new solutions to outpace and underspend the mix of regulations and subsidies that we have today. There is no better innovative force than the private sector, but if you really want energy innovation, you need to show innovators there is a market waiting for them."

More hearings like this one, please.