Would-be GOP Energy Committee leaders talk dinosaurs and scripture

House Republicans soon to be in the majority are weighing committee appointments, and the applicants for chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are drawing unusual amounts of attention. There’s Texas Joe Barton, the big oil investor who apologized to BP after the Gulf catastrophe, and there’s John Shimkus from Illinois, a caricature of a contemporary make-up-your-own science U.S. politician. Shimkus apparently studies climate change by reading the Bible and right-wing blogs and doesn’t hesitate to share what he has learned:

“If we decrease the use of carbon dioxide are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?” he said at a 2009 hearing of the same committee he now wants to chair. He also quoted Genesis and Matthew and talked about dinosaurs.

The Washington Independent’s Andrew Restuccia rounded up Shimkus’s greatest hits yesterday:

* “If we decrease the use of carbon dioxide are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?” he said at a 2009 hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy and environment subcommittee. “We could be doing just the opposite of what the people who want to save the world are saying.”

* At the same hearing, Shimkus said: “I want to start with Genesis:8, verse 21 and 22, ‘Never again will I curse the ground because of man even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood and never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done. As long as the earth endures, sea, time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.’ I believe that’s the infallible word of God and that’s the way it’s going to be for his creation.”

* He continued: “The second verse comes from Matthew:24. ‘And he will send his angel’s with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect from the four winds from one end of the heavens to the other.’ The earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”

* “Today we have 388 parts per million in the atmosphere,” he went on. “I believe in the days of the dinosaurs, where we had the most flora and fauna, we were probably at 4,000 parts per million. There is a theological debate that this a carbon-starved planet, not too much carbon.”

* During another 2009 subcommittee hearing, Shimkus said, “When we breathe in, we breathe oxygen. When we breathe out, we breathe out carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is not a toxic emittent.”

* “I believe that the climate continually changes throughout the millions of years that the planet has been here on earth and will continue to change. I don’t think we can control the emissions from China and India, nor do I think they have any desire to control them,” he told Think Progress in 2009.

That’s Shimkus. Here’s Barton.

Simple enough. Who needs all those climate scientists at work in Colorado to weigh in on these questions?

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