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House GOP Kills Global Warming Subcommittee

Rep. James Sensenbrenner

Rep. James Sensenbrenner in 2007. Susan Walsh/AP Photo hide caption

itoggle caption Susan Walsh/AP Photo

The partisan fight on Capitol Hill over global warming claimed a victim Wednesday, the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

The committee was created by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after Democrats gained control of the chamber in 2007 to take the lead on climate change issues.

But many of the Republicans who will be assuming control of the House come January have are skeptics when it comes to global warming or the human contribution to it.

So the committee's demise wasn't unexpected.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, made the announcement at Wednesday's hearing which he said would be the last. He said at the hearing:

SENSENBRENNER: This hearing will be the last of the select committee. And while I was initially skeptical of the select committee's mission, it ultimately provided a forum for bipartisan debate, and an opportunity for House Republicans to share a different view on the pressing energy and environment issues that we currently face.

For that reason, Sensenbrenner had actually wanted to keep the panel alive. He was ultimately overruled by his leadership.

The Democrats gave the hearing a defiant, double-entendre of a title: Not Going Away: America's Energy Security, Jobs and Climate Challenges.

In something of a valedictory, committee chairman Rep. Edward Markey said:

... As the world’s climate community gathers in Mexico, those of us who accept that cutting carbon pollution is this generation’s responsibility are saying that we are not going away.

We are not going away because the problems that climate change presentsare too dangerous, too urgent, for us to disappear into the abyss of cynicism and lost opportunity. We are not going away because China and India and Germany are not going away as competitors for global energy dominance. We are not going away because the national security threats from our continued dependence on foreign oil are not going away.

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