On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight heard testimony on “Opportunity Denied: How Overregulation Harms Minorities.” Today’s WattsUpWithThat posts a video clip featuring an exchange between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sierra Club President Aaron Mair.
Even I underestimated how much the bogus 97% consensus has closed the minds of those who invoke it. Under questioning by Sen. Cruz about the 18-plus year warming ‘pause’ in the satellite records, Mair quickly came to sound like a broken record, repeatedly appealing to the alleged 97% “consensus.”
Even after three times consulting with staff, Mair opined that “the pause” refers to a slowdown in warming in the 1940s! Apparently, the President of the Sierra Club assumes that once armed with the “97% consensus,” you no longer need to study the science and can just get on with the business of making climate policy.
Cruz’s exchange with Mair runs from 0:00 to 8:43 in the video. My unofficial transcript follows.
Sen. Cruz: Thank you, Senator Coons, and I’d like to go back briefly to Mr. Mair. In your written testimony, you said that the science behind climate change and its effect on minority communities, quote: “Should not be up for debate.” I’m curious. Is the Sierra Club . . . is this a frequent practice of the Sierra Club to declare areas of science not up for debate, not up for consideration of what the evidence and data show?
Mair: If you are relying on the evidence and data, the science, the preponderance of the evidence, are there.
Cruz: But that’s a different thing than saying we should not debate a question, that the Sierra Club has declared this scientific issue resolved, and there should be no debate.
Mair: Based upon the preponderance of the evidence the science is settled. But the thing is that anything is up for debate, Senator. We can debate anything.
Cruz: Well, I would note that even the phrase “preponderance of the evidence,” having been a practicing lawyer for many years, means 51%, that means 49 . . . at least 51% is what the preponderance means. You know, I would ask, for example, if you want to end debate, if you don’t want to address the facts, how do you address the fact that the last 18 years the satellite data show no demonstrable warming whatsoever?
Mair: Sir, I would rely upon the Union of Concerned Scientists, and I would rely on the evidence, again, of our own NOAA officials, the data are there.
Cruz: Is it correct that the satellite data over the last 18 years demonstrate no significant warming?
Cruz: How is it incorrect?
Mair: [Confers with staff.] Based upon our experts, it’s been refuted long ago, and there is no longer, it’s not up for scientific debate.
Cruz: I’m curious . . . If . . . So it’s . . . I want to understand . . . I do find it highly interesting that the President of the Sierra Club when asked what the satellite data demonstrate about warming, apparently is relying on staff. The nice thing about the satellite data is that they are objective numbers. . .
Cruz: Numbers over the last 18 years. Are you familiar with the phrase “the pause”?
Mair: [Confers with staff.] The answer is yes. And, essentially, we rest on our position.
Cruz: And to what . . . you said you are familiar with the pause, and to what does the phrase “the pause” refer?
Mair: [Confers with staff, turns back around to look at Cruz, does not speak.]
Cruz: I’m sorry you said you are familiar with that term, so I asked to what does it refer?
Mair: [Confers with staff.] Essentially it’s the slowing in global warming in the ’40s, Sir.
Cruz: During the ’40s. [Mair nods in agreement.] Is it not the term that global warming alarmists have used to explain the inconvenient truth, to use a phrase popularized by former Vice President Al Gore, that the satellite data over the last 18 years demonstrate no significant warming whatsoever? Global warming alarmists call that “the pause” because the computer models say there should be dramatic warming, and yet the actual satellites taking the measurement don’t show any significant warming.
Mair: But Senator, 97% of the scientists concur and agree that there is global warming, and anthropogenic impact with regards to global warming.
Cruz: The problem with that statistic that gets cited a lot is that it’s based on one bogus study. And indeed your response . . . I would point out your response is quite striking. I asked about the science and the evidence, the actual data, we have satellites, they’re measuring temperature . . .
Cruz: That should be relevant. And your answer is pay no attention to your lying eyes, and the numbers, that the satellites show. Instead listen to the scientists who are receiving massive grants, who tell us, do not debate the science.
Mair: Sir, this is the . . . one of the national pastimes in America. And while we’re debating what 97% of scientists have already settled, the 3% that, as they say, have investment in regard to carbon industry, our planet is heating and cooking up and warming. So this is one of the reasons . . .
Cruz: So it is the Sierra Club’s position that right now the Earth is cooking up and heating and warming. Is that the Sierra Club’s . . . I mean I just want to quote you and understand your position.
Mair: I’m saying I concur with 97% of our, of the world’s scientists, with regards to global warming and the anthropogenic effects of mankind with regards to climate.
Cruz: But Sir, would you answer the question. Is it the Sierra Club’s position, as you just testified, that the Earth is cooking up and heating and warming, right now. Is that the Sierra Club’s position?
Mair: Global temperatures are on the rise, Sir.
Cruz: And I assume the Sierra Club would issue a public retraction if confronted with the facts that the data are precisely as I described that over the last 18 years there has been no significant warming, and indeed that is why global warming alarmists invented the term “the pause” to explain what they call the pause in global warming because the data demonstrate what you just said, that the Earth is cooking and warming, is not backed up by the data.
Mair: We are concurring with 97% of the scientists who absolutely say the opposite, Sir.
Cruz: So if the data are contrary to your testimony, would the Sierra Club issue a retraction?
Mair: Sir, we concur with the 97% scientific consensus with regards to global warming.
Cruz: I’d like to repeat the question and get an answer. If the data are contrary to your testimony, would the Sierra Club issue a retraction?
Mair: We concur with 97% of the scientists who believe that anthropogenic impacts of mankind with regard to global warming are true.
Cruz: So does that mean you’re not willing to answer the question?
Mair: We concur with the preponderance of the evidence and the science that 97% . . . you’re asking me whether we would take the 3% over the 97%?
Cruz: No, I’m actually not asking about a survey among scientists. I’m asking about the objective data. The numbers.
Mair: The scientists rely upon their objective data and their analysis and 97% have concurred and conclude that global warming is indeed a fact.
Cruz: You know, Mr. Mair, I find it striking that for a public policy organization, that purports to focus exclusively on environmental issues, that you are not willing to tell this committee that you would issue a retraction if your testimony is objectively false under scientific data. That undermines the credibility of any organization if you will persist in a political position regardless of what the science shows, regardless of the facts, regardless of the evidence, regardless of the data. That is not consistent, I would suggest, with sound public policy.
Mair: Sir, you can pick whatever you choose . . . cherry pick whatever data you wish, but I concur with the 97% of scientists who concur that global warming is a fact.