Confronting the Dogma of Climate Change Alarmism
by Ted Cruz on December 9, 2015 at 11:51 AM
Yesterday, I examined the “inconvenient truth” surrounding the debate over how to interpret climate science data in a hearing titled “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate.” While many global warming alarmists claim the debate is over and have increased political pressure to silence those who have a different interpretation of the data concerning climate change, Mark Steyn, a witness at the hearing said, “Only a very weak idea demands that it must be protected from any criticism.”
According to the satellite data, there has been no significant global warming for the past 18 years. Those are the data. The global warming alarmists don’t like these data - they are inconvenient to their narrative. But facts and evidence matter.
At one point in the hearing, I asked, “What does it do to scientific debate when anyone who dares question political ideology is branded a denier and a heretic?” Witness Dr. Judith Curry replied, “There’s a chilling effect… People keep their heads down… The social contract currently between the Obama Administration and climate scientists is: if you say alarming things, you’ll get plenty of funding. That seems to be how it’s working, and that is very, very pernicious for science.”
Following an exchange in October, my office extended to Sierra Club President Aaron Mair an invitation to testify at the hearing, which was declined. In the hearing, I addressed Mair’s absence, saying, “I would note that it is striking that the Sierra Club, a national advocacy organization that devotes the lion’s share of its energy to advocating for global warming, was unwilling to come and defend the merits of its position based on the science or the data. To any fair or impartial observer, the Sierra Club’s refusal even to engage in a discussion of the science should speak volumes.”
I concluded my final line of questioning with a powerful question for witness Dr. David Titley on President Obama’s recent remarks: “Do you agree with President Obama, who said holding a global warming summit in Europe was a powerful rebuke to the ISIS terrorists who just committed a horrific act of terrorism in Paris, and indeed, likewise in San Bernardino?” Dr. Titley replied, “We have to address both.”
The full video of the hearing can be viewed here, and my full opening statement is available below:
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to what I hope will be an important and informative hearing. This is a hearing on the science behind claims of global warming. Now, this is the Science Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, and we are hearing from distinguished scientists sharing their views, their interpretations, their analyses of the data and the evidence. Now, I am the son of two mathematicians, two computer programmers and scientists, and I believe that public policy should follow the actual science and the actual data and evidence, and not political and partisan claims that run contrary to the science and data and evidence.
On Nov 28, 2013, an intrepid band of explorers set off from New Zealand on a research expedition to the Antarctic. Among their goals was investigating the impact of global warming on the Antarctic continent and islands. On Christmas Eve, they became stuck in ice – ice that the climate-industrial complex had assured us was vanishing. This expedition was there to document how the ice was vanishing in the Antarctic, but the ship became stuck. It had run into an inconvenient truth, as Al Gore might put it. Three icebreakers tried and failed to reach the trapped ship because the ice was too thick. After a week of rescue attempts, the passengers were airlifted from the vessel.
Here are the inconvenient facts about the polar ice caps:
• The Arctic is not ice-free. This year’s minimum sea ice extent was well above the record low observed in 2011.
• In the Antarctic, a recent study from the Journal of Glaciology indicates that ice is not only not decreasing, but is in fact increasing in mass, directly contrary to what the global warming alarmists had told us would be happening.
• This is not what the climate models projected.
Yet, these inconvenient facts never seem to get to the attention of people like John Kerry. And indeed I would note behind me – on August 31, 2009, then-Senator John Kerry said, ‘Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013, not in 2050 but four years from now.’ Well, the summer of 2013 has come and gone, and John Kerry was not just a little bit – he was wildly, extraordinarily, entirely wrong. Had the Antarctic expedition in the picture next to it not believed the global warming alarmists, had they actually looked to the science and the evidence, they wouldn’t have gone down and been surprised when they got stuck in ice. Facts matter. Science matters. Data matter. That’s what this hearing is about – data.
According to the satellite data, there has been no significant global warming for the past 18 years. Those are the data. The global warming alarmists don’t like these data - they are inconvenient to their narrative. But facts and evidence matter. And I would note that many in the media reflexively take the side of the global warming alarmists, reflexively oppose anyone who actually says, "Well, was John Kerry’s prediction accurate? No, it was stunningly and entirely false. Was the prediction of computer model after computer model that showed dramatic warming – were those predictions correct? No – the satellite data demonstrate no significant warming over 18 years."
Public policy should follow science and evidence and data. And I would note that I found it amusing that our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle, I discovered, held a press conference today as a prebuttal to this hearing. I suppose I should view that, in a sense, as a backhanded compliment. I’m reminded of the Bard, "Methinks she doth protest too much." What does it say when Members of the United States Senate are protesting, "How dare the Science Subcommittee in the United States Senate hear testimony from scientists about actual science? How dare we focus on such topics?" I think that is indeed exactly what we were elected to do.