OK, so yesterday’s hearing really was entitled, “Climate Change: It’s Happening Now”. I like my title better.
From the opening remarks made by the Democrats on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, apparently you can see climate change yourself just by looking in your backyard, or seeing how far from shore fishermen must go now to catch fish, or even (help me with the logic on this one) the fact that smoking causes cancer.
I just submitted my updated written testimony (Spencer_EPW_Written_Testimony_7_18_2013_updated) to include the following chart (Click for full size):
This chart illustrates that, yes, we are currently warm, but not significantly warmer than the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) or the Roman Warm Period (RWP). So how is it we know today’s warmth is human-caused, when the last two warm periods couldn’t have been caused by humans? Hmmm?
And if you want to hit me with a Hockey Stick, might I remind you that there are many more papers supporting the MWP and RWP than there are supporting the Hockey Stick’s slick revision of history?
Or does “consensus” only count when it supports your side?
What’s that you say? The hockey stick is now the “new consensus”? So a scientific consensus can be wrong, after all? Hmmm.
Hearing Post Mortem
The advertised star of the show was Heidi Cullen (aka “de-certify all TV meteorologists who don’t toe the line on global warming Heidi”) who did an admirable job of presenting a litany of half-truths (hurricanes have increased [except in the last 7 years]; strong tornadoes have decreased [but she couldn't bring her self to actually say that]; wildfire acres burned have increased dramatically [but the number of wildfires have decreased dramatically...all consistent with the USFS "let it burn" policy]; droughts and floods have increased [except NOAA's charts say there is no change over the last 100 years], etc.).
Roger Pielke, Jr. was absolutely devastating in his testimony. Here’s a guy who claims to largely support the IPCC party line, even claiming increasing CO2 is having a “profound” effect on the climate system, yet he chides those who would try to use severe weather as evidence of climate change. The evidence simply isn’t there. Very Lomborgian, sans the sexy T-shirt.
During my testimony (in the Flash video, starting about 3:04 for my oral, and 3:23 for follow-up questions/interrogation) I decided to depart from my usual practice of reading of a prepared text to just winging it. There is VERY little you can cover in 5 minutes, and there were a number of things I would have liked to have said, but there simply isn’t time…that’s just the way committee hearings go.
All of the senators were moving in an out of the hearing room for a floor vote, so there were only 2-4 senators present at any given time.
Thanks to all of those who have posted and e-mailed supportive comments…I really appreciate it. Getting flogged in public by Sen. Boxer (last time I testified) and Sen. Whitehouse (this time) is not one of my favorite activities. But I warned the staffers I wasn’t going to be pushed around this time without some pushing back. I think we did OK for a hearing where the witness numbers were stacked against us.