Senators Sing from Climate Hymnbook

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.

Senator Sanders:
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?

Nominee Zinke:
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.

Senator Sanders:
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?

Nominee Pruitt:
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.

Senator Sanders:
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.

Nominee Pruitt:
No Senator, as I said the climate is changing.

Senator Sanders:
Why do you think the climate is changing?

Nominee Pruitt:
In response to the CO2 issue, the EPA administrator is constrained by statutes passed by this body.

Senator Sanders:
I am asking for your personal opinion.

Nominee Pruitt:
My personal opinion is immaterial.

Senator Sanders:
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?

Nominee Pruitt:
Senator, I have acknowledged to you that human activity impacts on the climate.

Senator Sanders:
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?

Nominee Pruitt:
I believe the EPA has a very important role in regulating emissions.

Senator Sanders:
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.



  1. manicbeancounter · January 19

    I am somewhat less charitable towards the Senators than you are. The survey question in Doran and Zimmerman question asked about belief in whether human activity has played a significant part of the warming since 1800. Someone who believed that 10% of the warming was caused by land use changes would answer could honestly answer yes. There was no question about what proportion of the warming is human caused nor about the devastating consequences.

    I also think this comment is a bit vague.

    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.

    The scientific response should be to determine the size of the impact of rising CO2 levels by comparing with the temperature data. At least we should try to narrow the field. Last month built a graph on the assumptions that (a) a doubling of CO2 will cause a 3C rise in global average temperatures & (b) That impact on temperatures will be in the following year.

    Looking that the average of the last 11 years, the rate of temperature rise from CO2 should have increased around the turn of the century. Looking at the HADCRUT4 data set, warming stopped between 2003 and 2014. Rises since then have been due to El Nino. The conjecture that rising CO2 levels are having a large impact on global average temperatures is strongly contradicted be the evidence.


    • Ron Clutz · January 20

      manic, I am using “fact” as defined by “knowledge beyond the shadow of a doubt.” While our limited evidence casts shadows on claims of CO2 warming, there is still no definitive positive proof of the climate effect from rising CO2, nor the effect of burning fossil fuels (a minuscule amount of the constant flux.)


  2. manicbeancounter · January 19

    There is a moral issue that the Democrats fail to address. By acting on climate (such as stopping exploration for fossil fuels on federal lands) is there a reasonable expectation of a net positive impact on (a) humanity (b) the American people?
    Even if all fossil fuels are better left in the ground, making off-limits the fossil fuels under federal property may not even have an impact on world prices. If it did, then the higher prices would be an incentive further exploration. Conversely, the US Government can charge a royalty on fossil fuels extracted, boosting revenues, and the exploitation would create jobs. US energy security would be further enhanced as well.
    More broadly, is there a net positive impact of the US cutting its GHG emissions? To do so would push up energy costs from fossil fuels. It would adversely impact on the poor, but also on industry. High-energy consuming manufacturing would be put at a comparative disadvantage to non-policy developing countries. But these countries tend to have higher emissions per unit of output than the USA or other rich countries, so net global emissions might rise. Even without the movement of emissions elsewhere, the returns of successful aggressive mitigation policies in the US to future generations in the US when most countries have little or no policies would be negative. If catastrophic global warming is true, there could be a small net benefit to the future generations in non-policy countries.


  3. Ron Clutz · January 20

    manic, with respect to proof, CO2 warming theory is an example like Bertrand Russell’s teapot.


  4. Pingback: Bernie Saunders demonstrates why he was not fit to be President | ManicBeancounter

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