Tuesday, December 17, 2013

House GOP's Climate Denial Circus of Lies

The Republicans in the House of Representatives staged a climate denial circus on Wednesday December 11. Their so-called “factual” hearing about climate change, invoked the testimony of skeptics concluded that half of scientists think that global warming is a hoax. The actual number in more like 97 percent. They also tried to dismiss any connection between climate change and extreme weather. The Subcommittee on Environment hearing was ironically titled “A Factual Look at the Relationship Between Climate and Weather.”

Much of the lies and misrepresentation came from John Christy, a climate denying professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. While the only scientifically factual part of the hearing came from Pennsylvania State University’s Dr. David Titley.

The Lies

As published in the Raw Story, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) asked Professor Christy, if it was really true that “97 percent of climate scientist think that climate change is real.”

“No, not at all,” Christie replied. “The American Meteorological Society, by the way, did do a survey of its professional members and found only 52 percent said that climate change of the past 50 years was due mostly to human kind. So, 52 percent amount is quite small, I think, in terms of confidence.”

“You think the 52 percent is much more credible than the 97 percent?” Smith pressed.

“Oh, yes,” Christie insisted. “It included over a thousand respondents.”

“Fifty-two percent, I don’t think by anybody’s definition, is a consensus, by the way,” Smith noted. “So I would so say that there’s not necessarily a consensus.”

The Truth

Later in the hearing, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) asked professor Titley, if he agreed with the witnesses who claimed there was no link between climate change and weather.

“You know, I was almost going to start nodding my head up and down with the other witnesses until I heard that there was no linkage,” Titley said. “I think the scientific consensus is not that there is no linkage, the scientific consensus is ‘we don’t know.’ What we do know, we have a warmer and more moister world.”

“Can you comment on the claim that there have been no increase in extreme weather events?” Takano wondered.

“Just take the basic data, we have had for the last 36 years, since President Ford was in office, above normal temperatures,” Titley observed. “That’s away from the center and they’re getting further and further away. Now if you take each year as kind of its own thing and imagine flipping a coin 36 times and getting heads. I mean, if that’s a fair coin, I want to go to Vegas with you.”

“The odds of that are about 1 in 68 billion,” he added. “To put it another way, there’s a 400 times greater chance that you’re going to win the Powerball [lottery] — which is $400 million, by the way, this week — than getting 36 coins to flip heads in a row.”

“So, I would say that is extreme. And the ice in the Arctic, that’s extreme. We’ve seen geologic changes in less than 10 years.”

A survey published earlier this year the journal Environmental Research Letters looked and the work of 29,000 climate scientists published in nearly 12,000 academic papers and found that 97.1% agreed that human activity was causing climate change.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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