More from true believers in climatism during today’s Senate confirmation hearings, featuring Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey.
Ryan Zinke, nominee for Secretary of the Interior appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for his confirmation hearing Tuesday.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont:
Is President Elect Trump right? Is climate change a hoax?
Secretary of the Interior Nominee Ryan Zinke:
First of all, the climate is changing. That’s indisputable. Secondly, man is having an influence. I think the debate is about what is that influence, and what can we do about it.
If confirmed I will inherit the USGS, where there are a lot of great scientists. I am not a climate scientist, but I will become a lot more familiar with it, and it will be based on objective science. I don’t believe it is a hoax.
I believe we should be prudent, I don’t know definitively. There is a lot of debate on both sides of the aisle.
Actually, there is not a whole lot of debate now, the scientific community is virtually unanimous that climate change is real and causing devastating problems. There is a debate within this committee, but not in the scientific community.
If climate change is already causing devastating problems, should we be drilling for fossil fuels on public lands?
We need an economy and jobs too. I support an “all of the above” approach to energy sources. I think that is the better way forward.
Scott Pruitt Nominee for Director of EPA appeared before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Senator Ed Markey, Massachusetts:
NOAA, NASA have declared that 2016 is the hottest year in the 137 year record that has been kept. Donald Trump has said that global warming is a hoax caused by the Chinese. Do you agree that global warming is a hoax?
Nominee Scott Pruitt: I do not, Senator.
Senator Markey: So, Donald Trump is wrong.
Nominee Pruitt: I do not believe climate change is a hoax.
Senator Markey: OK, I think that is important for the President to hear.
Senator Bernie Sanders:
As you may know, some 97% of scientists who have written articles for peer-reviewed journals have concluded that climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating problems in the US and around the world. Do you believe that climate change is caused by carbon emissions from human activity?
Nominee Scott Pruitt
As I said in my opening statement, the climate is changing and human activity contributes to that in some manner.
97% of the scientists who publish in this field believe that human activity is the fundamental reason we see climate change. Do you disagree with that?
I believe that the ability to measure with precision the degree of human activity to impact the climate is subject to more debate on whether the climate is changing and whether the human activity contributes to it.
While you are uncertain, the vast majority of scientists are telling us, if we do not get our act together, and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, there is a real question as to the quality of the planet we will be leaving to our children and our grandchildren.
The overwhelming majority of scientists say we have to act boldly, and you are saying more debate is needed on this issue, and we should not be acting boldly.
No Senator, as I said the climate is changing.
Why do you think the climate is changing?
In response to the CO2 issue, the EPA administrator is constrained by statutes passed by this body.
I am asking for your personal opinion.
My personal opinion is immaterial.
Really. You’re going to be the head of the agency to protect the environment, and your personal feelings about whether climate change is caused by human activity and carbon emissions is immaterial?
Senator, I have acknowledged to you that human activity impacts on the climate.
The scientific community doesn’t tell us that it impacts, they say human activity is the cause of climate change and we have to transform our energy system. Do you believe we have to transform our energy system in order to protect the planet for future generations?
I believe the EPA has a very important role in regulating emissions.
You haven’t answered my question.
Again the 97%, though Sanders is more circumspect in linking that to scientists publishing in the climate field. He doesn’t let on that it originated from 75 out 77 respondents, culled from more than 3000. Furthermore, he greatly exaggerates their views when he says climate change is already causing “devastating problems.”
From these interrogations, we see that Senators are seeking personal opinions on a subject not of knowledge but of belief. That is actually an unconstitutional basis for qualifying a federal appointee. (Article Six)
The whole emphasis on 97%, vast, or overwhelming majority is to distract you from the fact that these are opinions. Neither scientists nor senators know the future, since we lack sufficient knowledge of the climate system to predict its behavior.
Global warming/climate change is a matter of opinion in several respects:
No one knows as a matter of fact whether additional CO2 will result in warmer or cooler temperatures, or make any noticeable difference at all.
It is also anyone’s guess what we can do today to ensure desirable temperatures in the future.
If we had the power to determine future temperatures, opinions vary as to what temperature level would be ideal for everyone living around the world at different latitudes.
It is hubris to think that government can control the weather and climate. (King Canute, where are you when you are so needed?) Wise political leaders would realize that there will likely be future periods both colder and warmer than the present. They would also recognize that cold is the greater threat to human health and prosperity. Planning for future climates focuses resources on two priorities: Robust infrastructures and reliable affordable energy.