Sierra Club President Aaron Mair came to the Senate woefully unprepared to handle even the most basic of questions at a climate change hearing, Tuesday, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) skillfully exploited that sad situation to the fullest.
During the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the topic of federal regulations and their impact on minority communities, Cruz questioned Sierra Club President Aaron Mair Tuesday, about the Sierra Club’s contention that the science on climate change and its effect on minorities “should not be up for debate.”
It didn’t take Cruz long to discover that Mair had come to the hearing ill-equipped to have any kind of debate.
“I’m curious, Cruz began, “is it a frequent practice [of the Sierra Club] to declare areas of science, not up for debate, not up for consideration of what the evidence and data show?”
“If you are relying on the evidence and data, the science, the preponderance of evidence — are there,” Mair answered in the first of his many non-sequiturs during the hearing.
“But that’s a different thing than saying we should not debate a question,” Cruz answered. “The Sierra Club has declared this issue resolved, and there should be no debate?”
“Based on the preponderance of the evidence the science is settled, but anything is up for debate, Senator. He can debate anything.”
Cruz pointed out that the phrase “preponderance of the evidence” means at least 51%, strongly suggesting that with 49% disagreeing with a position, you might want to have a debate.
He asked Mair if it is correct that the satellite data over the last 18 years show that the world has seen no significant warming.
Mair really had no answer for that. He just said, “sir, I would rely on the Union of Concerned Scientists, and I would rely on evidence from NOLA officials. The data are there.”
Cruz decided to press him on this. “Is it correct, that the satellite data over the past 18 years demonstrate no significant warming?”
Mair answered simply, “no.”
When Cruz followed up with, “how is it incorrect?” Mair had to consult with his staff behind him to answer that question.
“Based on our experts, it’s been refuted long ago, and it’s not up for a scientific debate,” Mair finally answered.
Cruz found it “highly interesting” that the President of the Sierra Club had to rely on his staff to answer a basic question about global warming.
“The nice thing about satellite data is these are objective numbers,” Cruz added.
When asked by Cruz if he was familiar with the phrase, “the pause,” Mair again had to consult his team behind him to come up with a response, resulting in another long, uncomfortable silence.
Mair went on to argue that “our planet is cooking and heating up and warming.”
Cruz asked Mair whether he would retract his statement if the data were given to him that refuted it.
“Is it the Sierra Club’s position as you just testified, that the Earth is cooking up and heating and warming right now? Is that the Sierra Club’s position?” Cruz asked.
“Global temperatures are on the rise sir,” Mair replied.
“And I assume that the Sierra Club would issue a public retraction if confronted with the facts?” Cruz asked. “That the data are precisely as I described. That over the last 18 years there has been no significant warming. And indeed that is why global alarmists invented the term ‘the pause’ to explain what they call the pause in global warming because the data demonstrate what you just said that the Earth is cooking and warming is not backed up by the data.”
That is when Mair threw out the 97% card, the only card he had left in his sparse deck, thus he used it repeatedly and without reservation. Over and over again, the Sierra Club president cited the bogus study that purports that 97% of the earth’s scientist believe in anthropogenic global warming.
“We are concurring with 97 percent of the scientists that say the exact opposite, sir,” Mair replied.
“So if the data are contrary to your testimony, would the Sierra Club issue a retraction?” the Texas senator asked.
“Sir, we concur with the 97 percent scientific consensus with regards to global warming,” Mair answered.
“I’d like to repeat the question and get an answer,” Cruz shot back. “If the data are contrary to your testimony, would the Sierra Club issue a retraction?”
Mair still would not answer the question, and repeated the 97% mantra.
“We concur with 97 percent of the scientists that believe the anthropogenic impact of mankind with regards to global warming are true,” the Sierra Club president answered.
“So does that mean you are not willing to answer the question?” Cruz asked.
“We concur with the preponderance of the evidence — you’re asking me if we’ll take 3 percent over the 97 percent? Of course not,” Mair said.
Mair had apparently come to this battle of wits armed with nothing but a bogus study to cite.
Cruz finally offered his thoughts on Muir’s testimony.
“You know, Mr. Mair, I find it striking that for a policy organization that purports to focus exclusively on environmental issues, that you are not willing to tell this committee that you would issue a retraction if your testimony is objectively false under scientific data,” Cruz said. “That undermines the credibility of any organization.”