The Sierra Club’s president got schooled on global warming science by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during a Tuesday congressional hearing, and after being left dumbstruck on live television the environmental activist finally issued a response to Cruz’s questions.
The Sierra Club’s response, however, still doesn’t answer Cruz’s questions about the 18-year “pause” in global warming. In fact, the Club does need to issue a retraction because Cruz was correct that satellites show there’s been no significant warming for nearly two decades.
“There’s an old lawyerly adage that ‘if you don’t have the law on your side, argue the facts. If you don’t have the facts on your side, pound the table,’” Sierra Club President Aaron Mair said in a video response to Cruz. “You did a very good job pounding the table this week.”
At a Tuesday hearing on how government regulations harm minorities, Cruz asked Mair if he would issue a retraction “if the data are contrary to your testimony.” Cruz then pressed Mair on satellite data which shows there’s been no statistically significant warming for the last 18 years.
Mair did not know how to answer Cruz’s question on the “pause,” instead saying “[w]e concur with 97 percent of the scientists that believe the anthropogenic impact of mankind with regards to global warming are true.” When Cruz pressed in, Mair just went silent, and there was no “table-pounding” by the senator.
Two days later, the Sierra Club issued a video response to Cruz’s questions. In the video, Mair said Cruz’s “pause” argument was debunked by Politifact.com (despite Mair not even knowing what Cruz was talking about two days before) and the eco-activists listed off other points he thought rebutted the senator.
“0: The number of accurate data points you shared when attempting to claim that the climate wasn’t changing,” Mair said, citing data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that “average global temperatures have been steadily rising for the last three decades.”
“97%: The percentage of scientists who agree that the climate is changing and that human activity is the cause,” Mair added. “2015: expected to be the hottest ever recorded.”
Mair went on to cite other numbers about how air pollution affects minority communities across the country — numbers which had nothing to do with Cruz’s question about the prolonged “pause” in warming.
While the Sierra Club presents a lot of data (some of which has been previously debunked), the group still did not answer Cruz’s question about the “pause” in warming. Indeed, the group may still have no idea what the Republican presidential candidate is talking about.
So, what was Cruz talking about?
He’s talking about how satellite temperature data shows there’s been nearly 19 years without any statistically significant global warming. Remote Sensing Systems satellite data shows there has been no warming for 224 months straight, equaling some 18 years and eight months.
Cruz has routinely used satellite data to counter critics of his opposition to regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions from man-made sources, like power plants.
Satellites measure the lowest few miles of the atmosphere as opposed to weather stations, ships and buoys which measure surface temperatures over the land and sea. It’s the latter that most climate scientists and environmentalists rely on to sound the alarm on man-made global warming as it shows the most drastic warming trend of the two types of data.
But there’s a lot of disagreement between the surface temperature data sets, differences which were amplified earlier this year by a NOAA study attempting to erase the “pause” from the surface temperature record.
Satellite data from the University of Alabama, Huntsville shows the warming”pause” is actually in its 22nd year — several year longer than Cruz asserted.
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