We told you earlier this month that Texas Congressman Joe Barton, R-Ennis, could become chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in January. Such a possibility worries climate scientists because Barton is hostile to efforts to reduce carbon emissions as a way of slowing global warming. For example, Barton bizarrely opposes even replacing the “traditional, incandescent light bulb” with more environmentally friendly and efficient CFL bulbs — or, as Barton calls them, “the little, squiggly, pig-tailed ones.”
So would climate scientists be more comfortable with the other Republicans vying for same committee chairmanship? Not necessarily. The Toronto Star reports that one possible chairman of the committee, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois, is an evangelical Christian unconcerned about dangers to the environment because of his religious beliefs. The Star reports that Shimkus dismissed the issue of climate change at a hearing in 2009. The congressman recited a Biblical passage (Genesis 8:21-22) about God’s promise to Noah (after the Great Flood) never to permit the destruction of life on Earth:
“I believe that’s the infallible word of God, and that’s the way it’s going to be for his creation,” Shimkus said.
Then, the Star reports, he quoted Matthew 24:31.
“And he will send his angels 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,” Shimkus asserted. “I do believe that God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.”
Of course, Rep. Shimkus has every right to believe as he does. But it’s important to note that many other people of faith recognize the damage humans are doing to the environment and want to stop it. Moreover, they don’t see science and scientific research as threats or contradictory to their beliefs about God and the Bible. Rather, they see science as a way for us to understand and lessen the threat of climate change to fellow human beings in this country and around the world.