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Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) seems to be awfully proud of himself. On Friday, he sent out the following twitter: “I seemed to have baffled the Energy Sec with basic question – Where does oil come from?”. Barton was referring to Steven Chu, the new US secretary of energy, who appeared in front of the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where Barton is the ranking Republican.

What Barton actually asked him was “How did all the oil and gas get to Alaska and under the Arctic Ocean?”. When Chu tried to answer, Barton interrupted him and started talking about “a big pipeline that we’ve created from Texas and shipped it up there and put it under ground so we can now pump it up” Video and full transcript of the interchange here.

Considering that Chu has won the Nobel prize in physics, and before he took a job in Obama’s cabinet he was a professor of physics and molecular and cellular biology at Berkeley, isn’t it more likely that Chu was just amazed that a member of the Energy committee would ask such a dumb question?



  1. Daniel wrote:

    “I believe that Earth’s climate is changing, but I think it’s changing for natural variation reasons.”

    This is where he was going with that question and it is a fair and legitimate point. There are many reputable scientists whose training and education leads them to that exact conclusion as a matter of utilizing the scientific method. There is simply no scientific proof that man has caused global warming and anyone who says so lies. There are scientific theories supported by some scientific evidence that suggests that man’s behavior has had an impact on the rate of change in global warming. But even that data is controversial. Most of it is based upon modeling and that is always garbage in garbage out.

    Monday, April 27, 2009 at 9:01 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Daniel, you make claims but do not back them up with any hard evidence. There absolutely is a scientific consensus that climate change is real and is caused by man. See or

    Even ignoring that, I can’t see what Barton’s opinions about Climate Change have to do with him bragging about supposedly having baffled Steven Chu.

    And finally, if he was trying to say that Alaska and the Arctic Ocean were previously warmer than they are currently as evidence against man-made global warming, then Chu answered his question perfectly. Alaska and the Arctic Ocean moved because of continental shift, and were previously located in warmer latitudes.

    So, wrong on all counts.

    And Daniel, you sound like one of those shills that used to claim that smoking doesn’t cause cancer. Do you by any chance work for an oil company?

    Monday, April 27, 2009 at 9:30 am | Permalink
  3. starluna wrote:

    There was an interesting article in the NYT last week that discussed how the now-defunct Global Climate Coalition ignored its own scientists who told them way back in 1995 that the science around climate change is solid. This group, which was a coalition of fossil fueled based industries, was basically a decade long PR effort to sow the seeds of doubt among the public and policymakers about the science supporting the facts of human induced climate change.

    In documents that surfaced through a lawsuit filed by one of the members of this coalition, the group’s own scientists argued that the scientific basis for human induced climate change is “undeniable”. This information, however, was removed from the Coalition’s public documents. More importantly, even though the group and its members were aware that their arguments were unfounded, they continued to falsely assert that there is no scientific consensus and that the science is questionable.

    Given Daniel’s comments, I guess there are still people out there who continue to be misled by these old and tired arguments.

    Monday, April 27, 2009 at 9:39 am | Permalink
  4. dave james wrote:

    From Texas and you don’t know where oil comes from? Thats like working in an OB/GYN ward and not knowing that storks don’t deliver babies. It really doesn’t matter what party he belongs to he ranks only slightly more stupid than those who elected him.
    It goes without reminder, but I will, that he and Bush come from the same state and both were raised well above their levels of competence. Or could we compare the oil companies 1.3 mill support of him and Cheneys leading Bush.
    Any question why the country is in this fix.

    Monday, April 27, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Permalink