Listening to Ted Cruz blabber on about rejecting climate change science can be about as fun as it will be to drown in the ruins of Miami in a couple of hundred years.
Recently, Ted Cruz held a hearing, titled “Data or Dogma?,” in which he invited three outspoken climate doubters and a right-wing author to poke holes in the climate change consensus. It was billed as an “open inquiry in the debate over the magnitude of human impact on earth’s climate.”
As the rest of the world discusses climate change in Paris like adults, America gets crappy satellite data and the “18-year pause.” Sure, it’s not settled how much the planet will warm, and the role humans have played; what’s not up for debate is that the planet is warming and that humans are playing a significant role.
In that spirit, here are the lowlights from Tuesday’s panel on climate change.
Dumb Moment #5: There’s no global warming and satellites can prove it.
Cruz: “According to satellite data, there has been no significant global warming.” Cruz likes to rely on a set of satellite data that indicates atmospheric temperatures aren’t rising; the poor scientist charged with defending rationality and risk management at the hearing, Rear Admiral David Titley pointed to the data set’s flaws in orbital decay and potential instrumental contamination.
Dumb Moment #4: Climate change has paused for 18 years.
Cruz — who mentioned his parents were mathematicians, so he knows his stuff through womb-osmosis or something — believes climate change has “paused” for the past 18 years. Looking at global temps, Cruz argued that the climate hasn’t warmed since 1998; never mind that the data point starts with a far-above-average warm year and it looks like 2015 will beat the six hottest years on record.
Dumber Moment #3: Climate change doubters are like Galileo.
Cruz: Climate scientists are the Roman inquisition, and the handful who doubt it are Galileo. We’ve gotten a little more sophisticated thanks to 400 years of improved scientific methods, not the least of which is that we’re no longer afraid to look up from our Bibles to peer through telescopes. The reality is that there is an overwhelming consensus, from organizations as well as independent researchers. It’s not so much that there’s a conspiracy preventing doubters from receiving funding — “this idea is so weak it cannot be subjected to vigorous debate,” said pundit Mark Steyn, whose qualification was that he was one of 7 billion humans on the planet — it’s that so few researchers who publish in journals doubt the science, and so the fraction of money sent to deniers is so small. (With apologies to Georgia Institute of Technology’s Judith Curry, who seemed there mostly to vent her lack of funding frustrations.)
Dumb Moment #2: Plants need CO2, therefore it’s not pollution.
This lowlight comes not from Cruz but from retired physicist William Happer’s meandering testimony. His premise was that because plants need CO2, it’s not pollution. “This will be a benefit to agriculture,” he said, flying in the face of actual research that indicates global warming will cause economic devastation.
Dumb Moment #1: Cruz complains that the Sierra Club president didn’t show.
Cruz: The Sierra Club president declined to prance in this dog-and-pony show, and you are all going to listen to me tell you what that makes me feel. God, this man is insufferable.