Fred UptonCross-posted from the Wonk Room.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, incoming energy chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) joined Americans For Prosperity (AFP) President Tim Phillips, a global warming denier, to support the lawsuits by global warming polluters against climate rules. One of the companies leading the charge against the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding is Koch Industries, the private pollution giant whose billionaire owners have been directing the Tea Party movement through its AFP front group.

Upton was once considered a “moderate on environmental issues,” but has worked hard to refashion himself as a hard-right defender of pollution in recent months. Some Tea Party groups tried to block Upton from taking the gavel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, attacking his past support for energy-efficient light bulbs. Upton previously claimed that “climate change is a serious problem” and that “the world will be better off” if we reduced carbon emissions. However, in the course of the past two years — as he received $20,000 from Koch Industries — Upton has shifted to oppose not only cap-and-trade legislation but any form of limits on climate pollution whatsoever, instead supporting investigations against climate scientists and lawsuits against the EPA and its supposed “unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs”:

  • April 2009: “Climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions.”
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  • June 2009: “We have a unique opportunity and a responsibility to reduce emissions and preserve our economy — the American public is desperate for solutions, but a national energy tax is not the answer.”
  • December 2009: “I think we can lower our emissions. I think the world will be better off if we did that, and we can do it without cap-and-trade.”
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  • January 2010: “No matter what we did between now and 2050, it, there was no real science to verify that it would reduce the temperature rise that some predicted. And that’s why we do need hearings.”
  • December 2010: “Moreover, the principal argument for a two-year delay is that it will allow Congress time to create its own plan for regulating carbon. This presumes that carbon is a problem in need of regulation. We are not convinced.”

“We think the American consumer would prefer not to be skinned by Obama’s EPA,” Upton and Phillips wrote in the Wall Street Journal, invoking the grisly image of the president murdering his fellow citizens. The world would be better off if Upton went back to believing instead in serious solutions to serious problems.