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Must-See Video: Jon Stewart Tackles Climate Deniers in Congress

Climate

In last night's segment of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart commented on Sunday's People's Climate March in New York, asking, "You may be thinking, do we really need a march to raise awareness of global climate change? I mean, it's an accepted scientific phenomena pretty much everywhere."

Does Texas Congressman Steve Stockman need a refresher course in elementary school science? Jon Stewart suggests he does. Photo credit: Comedy Central

"Here's why you need the march," he says, answering his own question. "It's accepted pretty much everywhere—but there's one place called the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology." He illustrates his point with jaw-dropping clips of House members on that committee interviewing John Paul Holden, President Obama's senior advisor on space and technology issues.

In one clip, Texas Congressman Steve Stockman explains that he doesn't believe in rising ocean levels, saying, "When your ice cube melts in your glass, it doesn't overflow—it's displacement!" "How far back to the elementary school core curriculum do we have to go to get someone on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology caught up?" exclaims Stewart, pounding on his desk in exasperation. "Do we have to bring out the papier-mâché and soda so you can make a %#$^&$ volcano?"

In another clip, Indiana Congressman Larry Bucshon offers that climate change has been disproved because "there's public comments out there that that question has been asked and answered saying no." "You should look at the scientific literature rather than the public comments," offers Holdren. "With all due respect, Rep. Bucshon," says Stewart, "I suggest you get the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology as opposed to the YouTube comment feed of Obummerlies1776."

It wouldn't help. Bucshon goes on to say, "Of all the climatologists who depend on the climate changing to keep themselves publishing articles, I could read that but I don't believe it." Stewart then reveals who Bucshon's three biggest campaign contributors are. You won't be surprised to learn their identities.

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Protesters gathered outside US Bank and Wells Fargo locations around the U.S. to protest investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline on Dec. 1, 2016. This photo is from a protest outside US Bank in south Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Jake Johnson

As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.


Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.

AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.

"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."


The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.

"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.

As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."

"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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