When Re-Assessments Collide

As the well-documented nuttiness of climate change denialism spirals towards the outward bounds of making any sense whatsoever, Pacific Gas & Electric (of Erin Brochovich fame) decides even it has had enough and will not sign on to the craziness otherwise endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

In a letter to the Chamber, PG&E Chairman and Chief Executive Peter Darbee wrote:

We find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored. In our opinion, an intellectually honest argument over the best policy response to the challenges of climate change is one thing; disingenuous attempts to diminish or distort the reality of these challenges are quite another.

PG& E’s communications director attributed the pullout not just to craziness on the part of the chamber but also to the fact that other companies had recently made similar decisions.

In the past several weeks, two high-profile companies – Duke Energy and Alstom – publicly gave up their membership in the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy in protest over its opposition to federal climate change legislation.

Other companies that similarly favor climate change legislation faced uncomfortable questions this summer over their memberships in similar groups that have mounted aggressive campaigns to defeat pending climate bills.

So, something resembling a kind of consensus appears to be building among a group of American energy companies, if not a larger plurality of Americans and American businesses who are at least beginning to not pretend to not see the light. Alas, this does not include the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has announced to National Review that he will be personally leading a “truth squad” to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, where he will make it clear to international leaders not to believe that the United States will pass legislation to deal with the issue.

“Now, I want to make sure that those attending the Copenhagen conference know what is really happening in the United States Senate,” said Inhofe. “Some people, like Senator Barbara Boxer, will tell the conference, with Waxman-Markey having passed in the House, that they can anticipate that some kind of bill will pass EPW.”

The extent to which reality has not penetrated our House of Lords would be unremarkable were it not for the solid case it is making for its obsolescence, to which we should listen and copiously note. Really, the inordinate and out of proportion voting power senators have, unless you are one, resembles nothing more than perceived nineteenth-century robber baron impact on killing ‘savages’, crushing strikes and building railroads wherever their interests took them. That senators from North Dakota and California or New York have equal say on matters that affect tens of millions of people in the latter vs. hundreds of thousands in the former is just what it sounds like: an anachronism. But one that is marching backward on practically every issue of the day. It brings into question the whole bi-cameral nature of our legislative branch – it was conceived in a vastly different time and functions poorly in our present one. Saying that doesn’t seem nearly as outrageous as Inhofe going to Copenhagen to shriek nonsense about March snow storms in Oklahoma.