THE PLANET IS STILL WARMING…. When it comes to governing and public policy, conservatives are painfully, woefully bad. When it comes to seizing on a manufactured controversy, they’re extraordinary.

Citing e-mails that critics say cast doubt on global warming, congressional Republicans called on the Obama administration Wednesday to suspend efforts to combat climate change until the controversy is resolved.

In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, the lawmakers requested that a pending move to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act be halted, along with plans to limit emissions from vehicles, power plants and other sources, “until the agency can demonstrate the science underlying these regulatory decisions has not been compromised.” […]

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), one of the authors of the letter to the EPA, said in a news release Wednesday that the e-mails “read more like scientific fascism than the scientific process. . . . It’s time to take back the notion that the ‘science is settled.’ “

This is, of course, total nonsense. Global warming deniers have a new toy to play with, but the overwhelming evidence hasn’t changed.

“The e-mails do nothing to undermine the very strong scientific consensus . . . that tells us the Earth is warming, that warming is largely a result of human activity,” Jane Lubchenco, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told a House committee. She said that the e-mails don’t cover data from NOAA and NASA, whose independent climate records show dramatic warming.

Maybe congressional Republicans realize this, maybe not. Either way, reality won’t stand in the way of the push to ignore the climate crisis. Their heads were in the sand before; the old, stolen emails have only encouraged them to burrow down further.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.