Image by U.S. Federal Government (public domain)

After last week’s election the U.S. Congress is now a place where climate change is questioned more than feared. According to, a progressive blog by the Center for American Progress, half of the newly elected Republicans don’t believe in man-made climate change while 86 percent of them are against climate change legislation if it costs money to the government.

Back in December 2009, at the COP-15 conference in Copenhagen, President Obama pledged to cut the U.S. emission levels of 2005 by 17 percent by 2020, at least if Congress would pass his climate and energy legislation.

But even before the Republicans took over the House, the task proved to be close to impossible. Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress where not enough for President Obama to get his green agenda going. So now, with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, all will depend on the cooperation of Republicans in Congress and that of the presumed incoming new leader, John Boehner. Unfortunately for President Obama, Boehner is anything but a climate change believer. In an article from the New York Times I read that John Boehner is not shy of abusing and bending basic science to his advantage. One quiet extreme example is the following quote from Boehner, taken from an interview with ABC News (April 2009) where he told the network that:

The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.  Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide.

Last Wednesday, President Obama told reporters at the White House that he was giving up his green agenda of comprehensive climate and energy legislation at least until 2012. The cap-and-trade approach of President Obama’s administration is now a thing of the past. Cleaner energy will remain on the agenda, just not because of climate change. Republicans and Democrats will probably find common ground in creating more – green – jobs and providing the U.S. with energy independence by moving away from fossil fuels and investing in renewable energy sources or natural gas. Too bad all of this will be motivated solely by economic concerns and not by environmental ones.

I see a time of climate change denial, science misuse and environmental abuse coming. I’m scared.

Lead image by Lawrence Jackson (for the U.S. Federal Government (public domain).