In hardly the biggest news story of the day, but one that really irks me, House Speaker John Boehner tweeted this morning, “The new majority — plasticware is back.” He’s referring to the move by the Republican majority to eliminate deposed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s initiative to green the House of Representatives. The initiative included — among other things — the use of biodegradable trays, flatware and coffee cups in place of traditional plastic and styrofoam in the House cafteria.
Now I get that greening the Congress is largely a symbolic move and I even get that part of the program — to require the composting of the biodegradable products — wasn’t apparently energy efficient although it did keep the waste out of landfills. But the glee with which Boehner made the announcement is obviously emblematic of a much larger agenda: denying that climate change is occuring and indeed opposing any efforts to take even common sense steps to reduce energy usage. As the Guardian reports,
Next on the Republican agenda of environmental retro moves? Lightbulbs. House Republicans introduced a bill last week to repeal the government’s decision to phase out the old energy-inefficient bulbs, which was due to start in 2011.
And, of course, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is leading the charge to strip authority from the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. That move would be okay if the Republicans had a plan to replace Clean Air Act regulation with a comprehensive bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But that would require that most Republicans actually believe in the science of climate change — and Energy and Commerce Chair Upton just had a change of heart, now saying he does not believe humans are playing a role in the warming of the globe. I suppose the fact that he acknowledges that the climate is actually changing is a step up from committee member John Shimkus (R-Ill), who says that climate change won’t destroy the earth because God told Noah after flooding the earth that he wouldn’t destroy the earth again and only God decides when the earth will end.
So back to Boehner’s tweet today. It’s a small statement but it’s part of a much, much larger problem: not only is the House of Representatives unwilling to do anything about climate change but they’re proud of themselves for turning their backs on science. And our future.