Climate on chopping block

Birth control for low-income women, public radio … now add climate change research to the list of items under attack by House Republicans in the name of economic preservation.

The House voted mostly along party lines, 244-177, in February to strip federal funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group that won the Nobel Prize in 2007 and is an international leader of climate change research. Amendment sponsor Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer (R-MO) claimed a savings of $13 million. However, Stanford ecologist Chris Field, lead author on an IPCC working group, said funding for IPCC in 2009 was more like $3 million.

And this month, the House held a hearing regarding a bill, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, that would effectively prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases and enacting other climate regulations. Nearly all House Republicans support the bill. The bill would overturn a finding by the EPA that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to human health and the environment. Bill supporters say the EPA’s finding is based on faulty and uncertain science, and that regulating greenhouse gases would devastate the economy.

In related news, the latest Gallup environmental poll shows concerns about global warming among U.S. adults are among the lowest they’ve been in the poll’s history. Only 51 percent of respondents said they worry a “great deal” or “fair amount” about climate change, compared to 66 percent in 2008.