Global Warming Debate Heats Up in Congressional Hearing

By Published on April 16, 2015

Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry completely dismantled criticisms from a Democratic congressman that her testimony was full of errors when it came to the seriousness of global warming.

Curry, a noted global warming skeptic, was recently targeted by Democrats in an investigation trying to tie scientists who disagree with the White House on global warming to funding from fossil fuels interests.

“I found myself deeply troubled by Dr. Curry’s written and oral testimony,” Rep. Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat, said during a hearing Thursday. “I found the testimony just full of internally conflicting facts and opinions.”

“In almost total conflict with anything I’ve read over the last 15 years,” Beyer said after listing off reasons he thought Curry’s testimony was wrong.

Curry responded to the Democrat’s rebuttal. “This whole issue of human-caused climate change is a relatively recent notion,” Curry said in the House hearing on President Barack Obama’s pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

“So climate is always changing and it’s going to change in the future, the issue is how much of the change is caused by humans,” Curry said. “We don’t know… what the 21st Century holds. Climate change may be really unpleasant and that may happen independently of anything humans do.”

“All science is contention — we continue to learn, we must be humble at all times about what we know — but it seems to me very much sticking your head in the sand,” Beyer retorted, adding that debating over which year is the hottest was “silly” since 10 of the last 15 years were record warm years.

“The climate has been warming since the 1700s, okay, since the end of the ‘Little Ice Age,’” Curry explained. “We don’t know what’s causing that warming in the 18th Century, in the 19th Century — it’s not attributed to humans.”

“So there are other things going on in the climate system that have been contributing to warming over several centuries,” Curry said. “We can’t blame all of this on humans, and we don’t know how all this is going to play out in the 21st Century. We just don’t know.”

Beyer then switched tactics, and compared Democrats’ advocacy for carbon dioxide regulations to former Vice President Dick Cheney’s arguing for the use of “enhanced interrogation” on the “one percent chance” it could prevent al-Qaida from getting a nuclear weapon.

“And are we going to do nothing because there’s a greater than one percent chance climate change —” Beyer said before being interrupted by Curry.

“There is nothing in my testimony that says we do nothing,” Curry said. “What is being proposed is ineffective. It’s not going to do anything even if the U.S. is successful at meeting 80 percent reductions by 2050. This is going to reduce warming by about a tenth of a degree centigrade. It’s not going to do anything.”

“I’m saying we need to acknowledge that and rethink how we’re going to deal with the risks from future climate change whether it’s caused by humans or natural processes,” said Curry.

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