Today in Republican Science

Okay, not today. This is about four years old, but I don’t remember reporting it at the time. It did appear in the Washington Independent, owned by the organization I worked for. This is from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Shell, Chevron) during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.

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.

Yeah, it is something to think about. And if you had the ability to think, you could do that.

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  • John Pieret

    Wind is God’s way of balancing heat.

    Well, Barton is certainly doing his part.

  • slc1

    This is to moronic, even for Sir Lancelot.

  • holytape

    Later, Barton apologized to Exxon Mobile. Not for anything in particular, but just because he could.

  • oranje

    I remember that one from when he first said that. Made me think there should be some kind of SAT-like requirement for crafting national (or state, or local) policy.

  • Marcus Ranum

    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.

    Was he THERE?

  • tubi

    How would doing something that slows down the wind by capturing its energy have the effect of raising the earth’s overall temp? All wind does is move the heat from a hot place to a cool place. You know, balancing. Reducing the amount of wind would not increase the overall amount of heat, it would just leave it in the hot places and not move it to the cool places.

    Jeepers, what a maroon!

  • Raging Bee

    This guy isn’t just arguing for continued use of fossil-fuels, or saying we can’t just stop using them — he’s making up bogus arguments to oppose the use of an alternative energy source. That’s a whole new level of disgraceful, even by energy-industry-propagandist standards.

    This isn’t an energy-policy dispute, it’s just plain irrational hatred of liberals, and a desperate desire to punish them for existing, regardless of the price, or who pays it. What the fuck is wrong with these people?

  • ontariorod

    He ought to try a January wind in Canada,,,, very cold going to not-quite-as-cold.

  • criticaldragon1177

    Ed Brayton

    Given the fact that the Republican party is the party of creationism, should this really surprise anyone?

  • Chiroptera

    Raging Bee, #7:

    Yeah, but remember, these are also the same people who oppose in principle using energy efficient light bulbs that will save them money.

    Oops, I erred. I think they’re just opposed to principles.

  • Loqi


    They do have one principle: Do whatever you’re told by anyone who has the power to beat you up.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Working for an alternative-energy group way back when, I once had to field a question as to whether setting up a whole lot of windmills could slow the earth’s rotation.

    It seemed to satisfy the questioner when I replied that windmills would just take up some of the energy previously soaked up by all the trees we’re cutting down.

  • Mr Ed

    I think windmills just became more efficient. We could vaporize a liquid on the hot side of a windmill, power a turbine to generate electricity and condense the fluid on the cold side of the windmill. I shall call this the Brayton cycle

  • gopiballava

    Local temperature increase from turbines:

    See? He’s right. I’m gonna have to accept Jesus as my savior now.

  • raven

    Reducing the amount of wind would not increase the overall amount of heat, it would just leave it in the hot places and not move it to the cool places.

    Barton has never heard of the conservation of mass-energy. And I’m sure he is proud of his ignorance and doesn’t want to know what high school level science says about it.

    One thing global warming will do is increase the wind speeds overall. That is what happens when you pump more energy into the atmosphere.

  • Larry

    Later, he held a discussion on chemistry and talked about the four fundamental elements provided by god: earth, water, air, and fire.

    Holy jesus but these folks are stupid!

  • naturalcynic

    Nearly every day in California for the warmest 8 months of the year, there is a wind from the cooler ocean towards the hotter interior.

    Barton’s thought processes remind me of my grandmother who was sure that the solution for smog was to put fans on the tallest buildings to blow it east.

  • juliestahlhut

    Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is.

    May I escort this man to Michigan in February? Seriously, I think it would be a hoot.

  • scienceavenger

    Meh, Barton also scoffed at the notion of “plate tectonics” as some librul tree-hugger nonsense invented to deny that gawd put the oil under the north pole for us to use. “Idiot” is too elevated a term…

  • slc1

    Re naturalcynic @ #17

    Folks who live in the East, particularly, are unaware of the effect of the Japanese current on the weather on the West coast. For example, on vacation in California, I was pedaling along Pacific Coast Highway between Santa Monica and Malibu where it was in the 50s foggy, and damp from the proximity of the ocean. I decided to pedal up Topanga Canyon Rd. over to the San Fernando Valley to return. I had gone about 100 yards when I came of the fog and the temperature went up about 10 degrees. By the time I had traveled a mile, it had gone up another 10 degrees. At the top of the pass, it had gone up another 10 degrees. At Ventura Blvd. in the Valley, the time/temperature clocks on the bank registered 95 degrees. The crowing flying distance between Pacific Coast Highway and Ventura Blvd. is about 10 miles so the the temperature difference over the 10 miles was about 40 degrees. This is a condition that folks in the East will never encounter there.

  • matty1

    Does he also endorse the storehouse theory of rain?

  • bmiller

    slc1: I live in Solano County, California. Which happens to be exactly midway between the cooler Bay Area and the hot Sacramento Valley. It is almost ALWAYS windy here!

    Forty degree temperature ranges are the standard.

  • slc1

    Re bmiller @ #22

    Temperature differences between San Francisco and Walnut Creek, which are about 10 miles apart as the crow flies, of 30 or 40 degrees are not uncommon.

  • hunter

    Barton has obviously never been to Chicago, where every day in the summer we have an onshore breeze as the air inland heats up and the cooler air over the lake moves in.

    I really didn’t think anyone could be that stupid.

  • exdrone

    Barton is missing the real science here. If blue states install windmills on a massive scale, they won’t change the flow of heat, but they will allow those states to take off and fly menacing over the red states like huge drones.

  • francesc

    @6 “it would just leave it in the hot places and not move it to the cool places”

    No, it wouldn’t. Because wind is the consequence of having different air temperatures, so as far as there is a difference, you will get wind. Plus, you are getting energy from the wind, “heat” is energy, so, by energy conservation when you put a windmill you are in fact cooling the wind.

    @14 It’s a different effect, what they says is that the wind generated at night use to go downward and the windmill increases it, so that Texas’ surface is getting warmer than it should, at night. I’m guessing that a bit above the surface it should get a little bit cooler. Anyway, that could affect also the rain so you may want to be carefull with the “local meteorological effects”. And birds.

  • Thumper; Atheist mate

    How was this idiot not laughed out of the room!?

    And he’s on a fucking ” Energy and Commerce Committee”!?


  • kermit.

    Thumper, I am sure that congressman Barton is as knowledgeable about commerce as he is about energy. Republicans value a well-balanced education.


    “Authoritarians are always either at your feet or at your throat.”

    — Old Saying, slightly modified

  • anthonysmith

    Most of the time your commenting upon the idiotic things the right says are very amusing, but every once in awhile you get one like this. This just kind feels like pushing the retarded kid down in the gym locker room. I am left wondering where the line lies between those who refuse to think and those who are completely incapable.