Rep Joe Barton Thinks Oil in Alaska Disproves Global Warming

Okay, well he didn’t exactly say that, but he certainly is a smug son of a gun who asked a grade school question to a Nobel prize winner in physics, apparently expecting a “gotcha” moment (via TPM):

Dudes even so proud of himself that he (or his staff) posted this video on his YouTube page.

BEDEVERE: Exactly. So, logically…
VILLAGER #1: If… she… weighs… the same as a duck,… she’s made of wood.
BEDEVERE: And therefore?
VILLAGER #2: A witch!

Then again, what should you expect for someone who produced this:

Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can’t transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It’s just something to think about.

25 Replies to “Rep Joe Barton Thinks Oil in Alaska Disproves Global Warming”

  1. Wind can be explained with Thermodynamics as a consequence of imbalance of temperature. Wind is how heat is shifted from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is.


  2. So, according to the congresscriter from Texas, if we install too many wind turbines in Texas we’ll stop the wind from transferring heat from the Great Plains to the Gulf of Mexico, and Texas will go up in flames??? And how exactly is this is a bad thing??
    I liked the NPR interview a while back with a west Texas farmer who was installing wind turbines on his farm. He thought it was a great way to earn some extra cash on the side. A city gal stopped by one day to ask what all these fans were for. The farmer replied that when the weather got too hot, they would turn on all the fans to keep the crops and cows cool. She seemed happy with that explanation. Perhaps Rep. Barton would also feel better with that explanation. We really don’t want to trouble the poor man with actual knowledge.

  3. My brain hurts now.
    Instead of “shoe throwing” to indicate contempt, I propose “basic geology text throwing” to indicate contempt and either a)educate the idiot or b)render them harmless (via unconciousness).

  4. I think there’s also lot of smugness and sloppiness on the part of folks like James Hansen (as well as certain figures in the federal government). It’s a serious problem that the global warming debate – about the extent of its likely impact, what should be done, and the government’s role in the matter – is so one-sided in terms of scientific literacy and (seemingly) intelligence.

  5. Barton was trying to get Chu to answer in six seconds a question that takes much longer to answer properly.
    Barton was trying to imply that the North Slope of Alaska was not always tundra. This much is true. He then presumably wanted to draw the conclusion that global warming is not a problem. That conclusion does not follow from the above.
    The issue is not whether Alaska once had a much warmer climate than it does now. The world’s climate in general was quite a bit warmer in the age of the dinosaurs than it is now. The problem is that global food supplies depend on the climate not being vastly different from what we have seen in the last two hundred years or so. That’s not a good bet: Consider the fate of the Maya, or the Anasazi, or the Greenland Norse, or Angkor Wat. Now remember that in those days food supplies were entirely regional, not globalized as they are today. That’s the problem with global warming.

  6. Hello mister Ron… Mister Mo Ron
    I’m really starting to think there needs to be test held before anyone runs for office – A no Politician left behind kinda thing…

  7. You have to believe the earth is older than 10,000 years to believe Chu’s answer. I doubt Barton believes even that. Chu should have told him God put there, you dumb hick. That would have left Barton f’n speechless.

  8. It would be interesting to have that Barton fella explain: How come that the North Slope of Alaska has never been covered by a glacier?

  9. I think wind is created in fact here in New Mexico we know for a fact that Arizona blows and Texas sucks! wind explained in their terms

  10. What Secretary Chu was trying to explain was that although Alaska now has oil fields; at the time of diagenesis of these deposits Alaska was not at the same longitude/latitude position that it is today. Plate tectonics and about 250 million years of continental drift has moved Alaska from more warmer latitudes to its present position.

  11. Not all Texans are dumbasses, we just have a majority of morons who tend to elect the mental runts to political office. Presumably this is allowed in order to keep the political scene tied up in knots and clear for business. It doesn’t take much to be elected to office here, just say you are ‘born again’ and ‘anti-abortion’ and you can get elected/appointed to anything, even the presidency.
    By the way, God put that oil there like he did gold in California, to give good christians the incentive to go out and spread the ‘word’ and precious bodily fluids all over the world.

  12. When I forget that the world does not revolve around me personally, (as anyone with the ability to step outside of themselves for a minute will admit to), you may be able to get a better grasp on the concept of time. Time is infinite. It will still be ticking away long after your energy is has been consumed and expelled more times than you could count in this short flash of conciousness we call life. How empty it would feel to be aware of the fact that you spent you brief spell of free will trying to convince people that your side is right and everyone should think the way you do. I plan of enjoying this wonderfull place while I can. If you were able to change this man mind about global warming he would blame it on someone and then accept campaign funds from the the highest bidder to clean it up. Accepting other peoples ignorance is the first step to not letting them interfere with enjoying your existence.

  13. CaptCampalot, I think you have it backwards. Ignorant people can interfere a lot with you enjoying your existence. If they have power than can pass or fail to pass laws in ways that adversely affect you. Even if voters or consumers, that changes what is done in politics or the economy. This wonderful place (such as it is) may well not stay wonderful or may get much less wonderful if people like Joe Barton get their way. I myself, plan to use whatever powers I have to steer things in a direction I think is sensible and in my and most peoples’ best interests (to the extent possible and can be consistent.) If I and other people of prescience and good faith (such as it is) don’t do so, things will generally suck.
    Naturally you accept my approach just fine, since otherwise you would be inconsistently violating your own attitude (interfering with interferers, is still interfering; etc.) Nor can it be criticized as arrogance etc., since to presume to know it was wrong is itself a form of arrogance by consistency. (It can’t be avoided, I go ahead and have my opinions and act on them.)

  14. I would not presume that the senator is wrong or right. I do hope at the end of his life,however, he feels fulfilled. Having his but kissed by lobyist, or helping to allow big business to grow bigger may be his goal in life and if that makes him feel good then cheers. I will not however be scared by the fear mongers who want me to be scared that when I walk out my door tomorrow I will be blown up by a terrorist, or that the trees will be on fire because some third world country has joined the arms race, or there will be dolphins in my front yard because of global warming.
    I opt instead, to pick up a piece of trash and throw it away when I come upon it. Not because I believe that I’m making the world a better place, but because I don’t want to look at it. I can accept the fact that it is highly likely that the same person will put another piece of trash in it’s place. Trying to change that persons ideaology on why you shouldn’t put it there is just not worth the time to me. It is much easier and quicker to pick it up and throw it away. People are stubborn and full of pride( myself included. I write because I enjoy it and it broadens my perspective on life.
    When I contemplate my existence, I am always blown away by the time scale in which this state of conciousness occurs. Humans will not be around indefinetly. We all are going to die one day. Some choose to ignore that fact by hypothesizing medical miracles, or beings from another planet coming down to save humanity. Regardless of what we use our time for, the earth will not always be capable of supporting life. The sun itself is indefinite. But if people were told in a tv program that radio waves from cell phones were causing the sun to die faster, there would be someone making money selling anti cell phone bumper stickers in a matter of minutes.
    A fullfilling existence for me would be much simpler than believing I prolonged humanitys existence by stopping global warming. It would be things like feeding some who is hungry, providing a loving enviroment for a life that only knew violence and hate, or just being a friend to someone who doesn’t know how to be friendly. It would not be spending my time trying to change the opinion of grown men. May you life be long and prosperous if that is what brings you joy.

  15. Well CaptCampAlot, after hearing that I respect you more. I see you do care about things, just in a different way, and that you do respect my way too.
    If you’re still around, may I ask what your scientific interests are? (I figure you didn’t just google for posts about that Representative and global warming.)

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