Republican Study Committee Accuses The EPA Of Betraying Plants

December 07, 2009 6:48 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Earlier today, the Environmental Protection Agency officially declared that greenhouse gases "threaten the health and welfare of the American people."  At a press conference, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the Obama administration "will not ignore science or the law any longer," while pledging to "make reasonable efforts to reduce greenhouse pollutants under the Clean Air Act." 

Predictably, many on the right are furious that the U.S. government will finally recognize basic scientific facts.  For example, the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), chaired by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), put out a statement deriding the announcement as "good news for all those opposed to the despicable practice of breathing." The statement went on to repeat the tired fallacy that carbon dioxide can't possibly be harmful because exists in nature:

Every day, over 6 billion humans and an untold number of puppies, kittens, and other animals produce large quantities of this ubiquitous gas. Should they be required to stop breathing? And every day, trees, flowers, shrubs, and other flora use carbon dioxide to sustain their own existence. Liberals are supposedly more plant-friendly than the rest of us, so why would they try to limit a gas that is essential for plant life? If the rainforests could speak, would they be stunned by this betrayal?

It's hard to believe anyone could actually believe something so manifestly stupid.  Just because CO2 occurs naturally, that doesn't mean that throwing off the Earth's natural balance by manufacturing it in great excess isn't dangerous.  That much should be obvious.

Still, we expect this sort of inanity from industry front groups like "CO2 Is Green." But from the largest caucus of Republicans in the House? Sadly, at this point that's expected, too.