Sierra Club President Aaron Mair came to the Senate woefully unprepared to handle the most obvious challenge to global warming alarmism at a hearing Tuesday, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) skillfully exploited the sorry situation to the fullest.
During a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the topic of federal regulations and their impact on minority communities, Cruz questioned Mair about the Sierra Club’s contention that the science on climate change and its effect on minorities “should not be up for debate.”
I’m curious, 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?
In the first of many non-sequiturs, Mair answered:
If you are relying on the evidence and data, the science, the preponderance of evidence — are there.
But that’s a different thing than saying we should not debate a question. 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. We can debate anything.
Cruz pointed out that the phrase “preponderance of the evidence” means “at least 51%,” suggesting that, with up to possibly 49% of the evidence being contrary, you might want to have a debate.
Cruz then asked Mair if it is correct that satellite data from the last 18 years show that the world has seen no significant warming. Mair had no answer for that — the most obvious possible challenge a global warming alarmist could have expected to hear — so he turned to ask his staff for his assistance. He then replied:
Sir, I would rely on the Union of Concerned Scientists, and I would rely on evidence from NOAA officials. The data are there.
Is it correct that the satellite data over the past 18 years demonstrate no significant warming?
How is it incorrect?
Mair, after consulting with his staff:
Based on our experts, it’s been refuted long ago, and it’s not up for a scientific debate.
Yes — his sworn testimony was that the past 18 years of satellite temperature measurements, up to and including today’s … have been totally refuted. Like, way back when, too.
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, and added:
The nice thing about satellite data is these are objective numbers.
Mair went on to argue that “our planet is cooking and heating up and warming.” Cruz asked Mair whether he would retract that statement if the data were given to him that refuted it:
I assume that the Sierra Club would issue a public retraction if confronted with the facts? 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.
Mair then tried the “97%” card. Repeatedly, the Sierra Club president cited the bogus study that claims 97% of the earth’s scientists believe in anthropogenic global warming. Mair:
We are concurring with 97 percent of the scientists that say the exact opposite, sir.
So if the data are contrary to your testimony, would the Sierra Club issue a retraction?
Sir, we concur with the 97 percent scientific consensus with regards to global warming.
I’d like to repeat the question and get an answer. If the data are contrary to your testimony, would the Sierra Club issue a retraction?
We concur with 97 percent of the scientists that believe the anthropogenic impact of mankind with regards to global warming are true.
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. That undermines the credibility of any organization.