Two statements stood out in last week's marathon hearings on the Waxman-Markey climate bill, one for addressing the long-running efforts to cover up the truth about climate change, and the other for speaking to the United States' potential for innovation in times of crisis.
In the first, former Vice President Al Gore equates people who believe the misinformation campaigns put out by vested interests to the victims scammed by multi-billion-dollar ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff.
"I believe that it's important to look at the sources of the science that we rely on," Gore tells Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas).
"With all due respect, I believe that you have relied on people you have trusted who have given you bad information. I don't blame the investors who trusted Bernie Madoff. ... But he gave them bad information and committed a massive fraud that ended up hurting most of all the people who trusted him. "
Gore cites the recent New York Times article revealing court documents that describe how major polluting industries were told by their own scientists in the 1990s that climate change was real and there was no basis for denial.
"These large polluters committed a massive fraud far larger than Bernie Madoff's fraud. They are the Bernie Madoffs of global warming," Gore says. "Like Bernie Madoff, they lied to the people who trusted them in order to make money."
In the second, former Sen. John Warner of Virginia, a man who lived through the Great Depression and served in World War II, talks about Congress' duty to be honest with the American people about both the necessity and the challenge of shifting to a low-carbon economy.
"Tell them it's going to be a burden. And tell them it's going to take time," Warner tells members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
He reminds them of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inaugural address in 1932 amid the Great Depression and the value the president placed then on speaking "the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly."
The United States has the ability to remake itself when the government and the people commit to action -- it proved itself in the 1930s and '40s, Warner says.
"We can do that again. But it's going to take your leadership. We will do it again. We have to because every day that goes by increases the cost."
The videos are worth watching for their emphasis on the value of truth. It's something everyone in Congress needs to remember as climate legislation begins making its way through the House.