Travesty–Rep. Inslee’s behavior at Energy & Commerce hearing

by Marlo Lewis on February 12, 2009

in Blog

I just watched the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee hearing on “The Climate Crisis: National Security, Public Health, and Economic Threats.”

Committee rules allow the minority one-third of the witnesses. Originally, there were to be four majority witnesses, which works out to only one minority witness, or one-fourth (because two witnesses would equal two-fifths–slightly more than one-third). However, when Chairman Markey learned that Dr. Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute was to be the minority witness, he added a 5th majority witness, Prof. Daniel Schragg of Harvard University. So the decks were stacked against Michaels 5 to 1.

However, even that was not enough to satisfy Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA). He attacked Michaels personally, accusing him of not being “forthright” with the Committee, trying to “pull a fast one,” and treating the Members like “chumps.” Inslee demanded to know why it was even necessary to have witnesses like Michaels on the panel, when it’s so obvious that global warming is bad and nothing could be more costly than inaction on climate change.

Michaels’s oral testimony may be summarized as follows: (1) Forecasts of the impacts of climate change on national security, public health, and the economy cannot be better than the temperature projections on which they are based; (2) the 21 models used in the IPCC’s mid-range greenhouse gas emissions scenario project a constant, not accelerating rate of global warming through the 21st century; (3) the observed rate of temperature change over the past 20 years has been remarkably constant; (4) however, the observed rate is at or below the low-end of the range forecast by the models; (5) therefore, the models are too sensitive and likely over-predict future warming; (6) hence, also, impact assessments based on those model projections are unlikely to be correct.

In his fulmination, Inslee claimed (a) that Michaels compared apples (observed temperatures) to oranges (model projections of future warming), and (b) that global warming is accelerating. He is wrong on both counts. Michaels compared observed temperatures with model projections over the same period. Finding a poor fit, he drew the only reasonable conclusion: Model projections of future warming are also likely to be erroneous. Also, global warming is not accelerating. Since 1976, the observed rate has been about 0.17 degrees Celsius per decade. So, on the basis of two falsehoods, Inslee essentially called Michaels a liar.

Then, instead of letting Michaels respond, Inslee asked for commentary by Prof. Schragg. This left Michaels exactly 15 second to respond to 4-plus minutes of verbiage from Inslee and Schragg.

The contrast between Dr. Michaels’s calm, clear, patient exposition of scientific basics and Inslee’s rude, arrogant, intolerance of dissenting views could not have been clearer. Global warming zealotry is poisoning the atmosphere of public discourse–that is probably the main conclusion Web viewers draw from this hearing.

Matt P February 12, 2009 at 3:58 pm

I just wish one of these elected officials would walk the walk if they truly believe in the dire consequences of the phenomena they so freely talk about. Come on you slobbering jerks, walk to work, take public transportation. Set the example and then your rhetoric may be more believable.

Bob Clark February 13, 2009 at 12:03 pm

This is no surprise to any of us out here in his Congressional District: Jay is functionally insane as far as most of us are concerned. He has been a crackpot who does not listen to anyone in the District and in fact is only being re-elected because of governement employee unions and u