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In Congressional Hearings, Amateurs Invited to Confuse Climate Science

By Stacy Morford

Mar 27, 2009

President Obama changed the tune in Washington when he ordered that all policymaking be based on sound science. But the shift from opinion- to fact-based decisionmaking still hasn’t transferred to Congress.

The problem is evident each time the House and Senate environment committees hold hearings on climate change.

In the interest of balance, the minority-party committee members have the power to invite witnesses to testify. And Republicans such as Sen. James Inhofe and Reps. Joe Barton and John Shimkus (see video) have ensured that climate change deniers without credentials in climate science testify alongside respected scientists.

The result is conflicting testimony that keeps the committee chairmen running interference as they try to clarify fact from fiction and leaves less-informed members of Congress bluntly asking: Who's lying?

Perhaps they should ask John Holdren, who was confirmed last week as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. He's the president's chief science advisor, America's "scientist laureate." At a conference a few months ago, the views of climate change deniers are:

“Members of the public who are tempted to be swayed by this vocal fringe should ask themselves how it could be, if human-caused climate change is just a hoax, that the leaderships of the national academies of sciences of every country in the world that has one are repeatedly on record saying that global climate change is real, dangerous, caused mainly by humans, and reason for early and concerted action to reduce those causes; that this is also the overwhelming consensus view among the faculty members of the earth sciences departments at every major university in the world.”

“The fact is that anybody who could believe that the cream of the part of the world scientific community that has actually studied this phenomenon could be co-opted by hoaxers or suffering from mass hysteria is just not thinking clearly."

Still, the strategy of climate action opponents to sow doubt about the science at every opportunity continues unabated in the halls of Congress.

They want lawmakers telling one another, as Shimkus did during the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing on Wednesday, that they shouldn’t cap greenhouse gases or take any other actions to limit climate change because: “The science clearly is not settled.”

That hearing was a perfect example of the problem. Barton’s invited witness was a conservative British journalist and former adviser to Margaret Thatcher whose Science and Public Policy Institute is critical of government actions to prevent climate change.

Monckton is not a scientist. Yet, he sat next to two climate science experts and contradicted them, telling the committee matter-of-factly that we are actually in a global cooling period. “There is nothing in the temperature record that should give us any cause of concern today,” he said. “None of the disasters envisioned by this committee will happen. … The Chinese and the Indians are perfectly aware of this.”

Also testifying was Tom Karl, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. Karl cited scientific measurements showing that global temperatures and CO2 levels have increased over the past century – data that is undisputed among scientists.

Asked if Monckton was lying about “global cooling,” Karl responded that he would have to check Monckton’s data but that he had never seen the numbers put together in quite that way.

That’s a true scientist’s reflex – check the data and methodology before reaching a conclusion.

denialspeak

anonymous said

"Climate change is a religion, and nothing more. I love that you libtards have stopped calling it global warming, in admission that you've been lying all this time, and now call it climate change to try to capture anything that might happen that you can twist to seem out of the ordinary. Nice move, if you weren't so obvious"

If you aren't sure whether global warming denier commentors like this have a clue what they are talking about, consider this.

The IPCC was named when it was founded in 1988, over twenty years ago. Its called the Intergovernmental Panel on CLIMATE CHANGE. Scientists have been using both terms since the mid 70s.

What they do is repeat talking points that are complete fallacies endlessly, without a clue what they are talking about.

amateurs confuse climate science at congressional hearings

Here we are Febuary 2010 and deniers are still claiming that someone changed the name from global warming to climate change, like the moron above who is Anonymous.
If you are reading this and are of like mind, know that like most of the noise from the warming denier camp, it is complete nonsense. Ever hear of the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming? No, of course you haven't, because it's been called the Intergovernmental Panel on CLIMATE CHANGE, since 1988 when the IPCC was founded and named. Twenty years ago.

Good blog

Giving equal time to both sides of the argument needs to be balanced by a correct assessment of the worth of each sides' argument. Sadly most people today don't seem to have the skills necessary to see when facts are being manipulated. I heartily recommend Ben Goldacre's book "Bad Science" to anyone who wants to be able to see through misrepresentation of science.

Climate change is a

Climate change is a religion, and nothing more. I love that you libtards have stopped calling it global warming, in admission that you've been lying all this time, and now call it climate change to try to capture anything that might happen that you can twist to seem out of the ordinary. Nice move, if you weren't so obvious.

Amateurs???? Are You Referring to Al Gore???

All one has to do is view Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and Lord Christopher Monckton's Aplocalypse? No! to fully understand that it is Gore who is the amteur.

You and Kevin Grandia over at Huffpo are such biased hypocrties for pointing out Monckton's lack of scientific traning while blowing off the fact that Gore is as far removed from being a scientist as one can be.

Monckton is self-trained, but very well self-Trained. Gore is a mere slide reader who violates common sense at every turn.

Long Live Lord Monckton
God Save The Queen

You mention the word "view"

You mention the word "view" in the context of reading Gore and Monckton's works.
Well try applying the word to using our own senses such as eyesight. Do we have to sail across the North Pole and possibly take a side trip to watch the Greenland ice sheet collaspse before we use the senses God gave us?

It may already be too late to avert massive upheaval in human society. I have little faith in our ability to alter the obvious changes taking place even if we started today. That being said, please recognize that it is common sense being promoted to try and get us off the addition to fossil fuels.

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