GOP leadership cool to hearings into "scientific fraud" underlying global warming

By Greg Sargent

Last week there was widespread speculation that the GOP is planning to hold high profile hearings next year into the "scientific fraud" behind global warming. The news touched off a round of anxious commentary among liberals about the coming rash of GOP investigations and fake scandals.

The only problem is that it may not be true.

A spokesman for the leading Republican on the committee that would undertake such hearings tells me that isn't the plan. And a senior GOP leadership aide says the leadership is cool to the idea.

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas (the same dude who apologized to BP) is in line to be the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. A committee spokesman, Larry Neal, emails that global warming science won't be the focus of upcoming hearings. Rather, Barton wants to hold hearings to try to get the Environmental Protection Agency to study the impact action on global warming will have on jobs.

At issue is the EPA's recent "endangerment finding," which determined that greeenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. According to Barton's office, EPA chief Lisa Jackson said at some point that studying the impact on the economy of scientific action in response to the greenhouse gas problem would have "limited utility."

"Our committee will finally get to inquire" why Jackson "proudly refuses to analyze her agency's actions to determine either the potential job losses they will cause or the pressure they will put on U.S. companies to relocate overseas," Neal emails. "Congressman Barton is very interested."

Separately, the GOP leadership is apparently aware what a circus hearings into the allegedly fraudulent science underlying global warming would be -- and how it would play into Dem efforts to paint Republicans as hostage to extremists.

"It's just not the best strategy," a senior GOP aide says. "The most effective way to fight the national energy tax is to talk about the economic effect and jobs."

So you're certainly going to see Republicans use the machinery of government to push the case that action on the environment is devastating to the economy. And no doubt there will be bit of grandstanding at these hearings from select GOPers about global warming perhaps being a hoax. But no hearings as of yet are being planned that would focus specifically on the science underlying global warming.

What a relief!