Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday October 28th, 2023/Main Topic: Focusing on Speaker Mike Johnson Who Is a Climate Change Denier

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Focusing on Speaker Mike Johnson Who Is a Climate Change Denier

Dear Diary. Ever since starting this site in 2017 I’ve often stressed that elections have consequences. During that year we were at the beginnings of the dark days of Trump’s presidency when federal agencies were wiping climate change info off their sites and people like Rex Tillerson were trying to cement a $500 million dollar oil deal with Russia. Trump even got the U.S. temporarily out of the Paris Accords. Since then, practically every election has gone environmentalists’ way except that the U.S. House barely flipped back to Republicans in 2022.

Since retaking the House, we have seen quite the contentious circus from that governing body, but that phase is over after the election of Mike Johnson as Speaker. Now that political ruling body can seriously do some damage against President Biden’s climate initiatives. It will be up to the American public to flip the House back to Democrats in 2024 in order to keep climate initiatives and commitment and get more done to protect our planet from further environmental damage.

Just who is Mike Johnson, and what are his stances on climate and science in general? For the answer to those questions, here is a New York Times article:

House Speaker Mike Johnson Doubts Climate Science – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

New House Speaker Champions Fossil Fuels and Dismisses Climate Concerns

Representative Mike Johnson comes from Louisiana oil country and has said he does not believe burning fossil fuels is changing the climate.

The unanimous election of Representative Mike Johnson on Wednesday suggests that his views are not out of step with the rest of his party. Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

Lisa Friedman

By Lisa Friedman

Oct. 26, 2023

Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the newly elected House speaker, has questioned climate science, opposed clean energy and received more campaign contributions from oil and gas companies than from any other industry last year.

Even as other Republican lawmakers increasingly accept the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is dangerously heating the planet, the unanimous election of Mr. Johnson on Wednesday suggests that his views may not be out of step with the rest of his party.

Indeed, surveys show that climate science has been politicized in the United States to an extent not experienced in most other countries. A Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday found that a vast majority of Democrats polled — 85 percent — said that climate change is an extremely or very serious problem, while 47 percent of Republicans viewed climate change as not too serious or not a problem at all.

“It should concern us all that someone with such extreme views and so beholden to the fossil fuel industry has such power and influence during a time when bold action is more critical than ever,” said Ben Jealous, the executive director of the Sierra Club, an environment group.

Mr. Johnson, whose district includes Shreveport, a former oil town that has diversified over the past decade, was first elected to Congress in 2016. A former constitutional lawyer, he does not sit on committees that decide the fate of major energy issues.

But he has consistently voted against dozens of climate bills and amendments, opposing legislation that would require companies to disclose their risks from climate change and bills that would reduce leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas wells. He has voted for measures that would cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The hard-right conservative Mike Johnson of Louisiana was elected to the role on Oct. 25, ending a weekslong deadlock.

At a town hall in 2017, Mr. Johnson said: “The climate is changing, but the question is, is it being caused by natural cycles over the span of the Earth’s history? Or is it changing because we drive S.U.V.s? I don’t believe in the latter. I don’t think that’s the primary driver.”

Last year, when Democrats passed climate legislation that called for investing $370 billion in clean energy, Mr. Johnson criticized it as a plan to send taxpayer dollars to “green energy slush funds.” Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

After Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Democrat of New York, and Senator Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, unsuccessfully filed “Green New Deal” legislation in 2019 to aggressively cut emissions, move the country toward 100 percent renewable energy and address a host of social issues, Mr. Johnson hit back.

Then the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, Mr. Johnson issued a 13-page paper dubbing the climate plan “A Greedy New Steal.” He called the Democrats’ plan “a thinly veiled attempt to implement the policies that would usher in a new socialist society in America.”

Last year, when Democrats passed climate legislation that provided for investing $370 billion in clean energy, Mr. Johnson criticized it as a plan to send taxpayer dollars to “green energy slush funds.” Much of the private investment stemming from that law is taking hold in Republican-led states.

Since 2018, Mr. Johnson has received about $240,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, according to Open Secrets, a campaign finance watchdog.

The League of Conservation Voters, an environmental group, has given Mr. Johnson a lifetime score of 2 percent. The American Energy Alliance, which represents fossil fuel interests, gave him a score of 100 percent in 2022.

The scores, however, are nearly identical to those earned by Mr. Johnson’s predecessor as speaker, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, who did acknowledge climate science.

But Mr. McCarthy “made sure that the MAGA House Republicans acted at Big Oil’s behest day in and day out, and it’s clear that Johnson will be just as extreme if not worse,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, the senior vice president of government affairs for the League of Conservation Voters.

This year is shaping up to be the hottest year on record. The United States has experienced 23 billion-dollar disasters resulting from extreme weather linked to climate change in 2023, a record for this point in the year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Heather Reams, president of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a group that works with Republicans on clean energy, said she expected that Mr. Johnson would try to repeal the climate law, known as the Inflation Reduction Act.

But, she said, “The more embedded these tax incentives become, particularly in the red districts, I think it will be hard to repeal.”

Representative John Curtis of Utah, a Republican who leads a conservative climate change caucus, has spoken with Mr. Johnson about the issue, Mr. Curtis’s spokesman Adam Cloch said.

“We look forward to working with him on our priorities,” Mr. Cloch said. “Conservatives are at the climate table.”

The Independent Petroleum Association of America applauded Mr. Johnson’s election, saying that as a Louisiana representative, he “knows the importance of both Haynesville shale and Gulf of Mexico production to America’s energy future.” Steven J. Milloy, a prominent climate denialist, called Mr. Johnson “a quantum leap improvement” over Mr. McCarthy.

Lisa Friedman reports on federal climate and environmental policy from Washington. She has broken multiple stories about the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal climate change regulations and limit the use of science in policymaking. More about Lisa Friedman

A version of this article appears in print on Oct. 27, 2023, Section A, Page 18 of the New York edition with the headline: New House Speaker Backs Fossil Fuels and Denies Climate Change. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

More On Mike Johnson:

Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

Here is More Climate and Weather News from Saturday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Today’s News on Sustainable, Traditional Polluting Energy from Fossil Fuel, and the Green Revolution:

More from the Weather Department:

More on the Environment and Nature:

More on Other Science and the Beauty of Earth and this Universe:

If you like these posts and my work on record temperature ratios, please contribute via my PayPal widget on this site. Thanks in advance for any support. 

Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”

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