Sessions slams EPA air chief for trying to hide global warming claims

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions slammed an Environmental Protection Agency nominee over claims she made linking “extreme weather” to global warming, despite the scientific evidence against it.

Sessions criticized the EPA’s Janet McCabe, who has been tapped by President Obama to head up the agency’s air office, for saying that global warming was causing there to be more hurricanes events — a claim often made by environmentalists and the Obama administration. McCabe currently is acting director.

During a Tuesday hearing, Sessions pointed to the latest United Nations report that actually states there has been no increase in hurricanes in the past 50 years. McCabe tried to dodge the question and claim that she is only doing what climate scientists tell her.

The exchange went as follows:

Sessions: “[W]e have been seeing an exaggeration of many of the complaints about global warming. My question to you is, do you believe that this is justified, and if you are confirmed to this important office, will you tell the American people resolutely the truth as it exists according to the best science that you have?”

McCabe: “I am not a climate scientist myself. I work with climate scientists, and I will do my best to make sure that all of our programs and policies are based on the best available science that is thoroughly debated in the public.”

Sessions: “… Have hurricanes increased in intensity or number in the last 50 years around the world?”

McCabe: “Senator, I am not familiar with exact statistics. I am aware that when the climate warms, which it is doing, that creates more energy in the atmosphere that can lead to more extreme weather events …”

During the exchange, California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer intervened and said that McCabe never made such claims, arguing the nominee said there would be more hurricanes and extreme weather in the future because of global warming.

Sessions shot back that that’s “not what [McCabe] said in the office.” An aide from Sessions office confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that McCabe and Sessions met privately prior to Tuesday’s hearing.

McCabe has also made previous remarks that global warming is already causing weather to become more extreme. She previously told the House Science Committee that the “costs to our economy and to society from the impacts of climate change that is already happening. In 2013, there were seven extreme weather events. … The scientific community has identified a number of impacts of climate change. Among those are increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.”

The Sessions aide also confirmed that McCabe told the senator in his office last week that she believed the U.S. is experiencing more tornadoes and hurricanes as a result of global warming.

McCabe’s statements run up against the United Nations’ estimates which say that there is “limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century.”

The UN also noted that current data shows “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century. … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.”

University of Colorado scientists Dr. Roger Pielke has also testified before the Senate that there has been no increase in extreme weather in the last century.

“It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally,” Pielke told senators last year.

“Hurricanes have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900,” Pielke added. “The same holds for tropical cyclones globally since at least 1970.”

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