Watch: Obama’s Top Science Advisor Spends Hearing Demolishing Republican Climate Deniers


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A group of Republicans sitting on the House Committee on Science thought they would ambush Obama’s top science adviser and instead got systematically destroyed.

At a recent hearing led by the Republican-led House Committee on Science, Space and Technology the White House’s top science adviser, Dr. John P. Holdren, was tasked with the goal of teaching its members about science, space and technology. Within minutes it became clear that these politicians were almost comically ignorant of even basic scientific facts or methods.

The hearing was ostensibly meant to be about the Obama administration’s new plans to fight climate change. Unfortunately, the plan was secondary to political grandstanding from Republicans who’s one goal aside from not passing any legislation, is to oppose any legislation the president may support.

Needless to say, lines of inquiry were less about the specifics of combating climate change and, instead, focused a great deal on whether climate change even exists. If that is shocking, then just remember that unlike 97% of scientists, House Republicans still aren’t quite sold on this whole thing.

First up to bat was Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), who recalled a time he met a NASA scientist and seemingly dismantled the entire argument for climate change in a Days Inn hotel lobby in Maryland.

According to Stockman, the scientist cited “global wobbling” as one of the major causes of the end of the last Ice Age. But, Stockman noted, climate models don’t take into account global wobbling when they attempt to explain today’s climate change. For non-scientist Stockman, this was a glaring omission.

Video via Think Progress:

“How can you take an element which you give to the credit for the collapse of global freezing and into global warming but leave it out of your models?” Stockman asked. “I’m a little puzzled because we still don’t have metrics of how to determine global wobbling.”

Checkmate, scientists.

Except, as Holdren explains, it isn’t anything of the sort.

Holdren, who looks very close to slamming his forehead onto his desk, is forced to explain what even a quick Wikipedia search would have revealed: “global wobbling” occurs very slowly. As in, over the course of tens of thousands of years. That is, undoubtedly a good thing, if you’re the kind of person who likes stable temperatures and relatively temperate weather, but it means that the wobbles do little to explain why, in the last few decades, global temperatures have been shooting upwards.

You may be forgiven for thinking that this would be the dumbest line of inquiry that day, but never underestimate the great Republican tradition of diving head-first into dumber.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher got his chance to speak and managed to make even Stockman seem like a MENSA member. For you see, while Stockman is at least trying to debunk climate change, Rohrabacher doesn’t even know what climate change is.

He seems to be under the impression that this whole time scientists were warning us against the impending doom of breathing in too much CO2. In other words, Rohrabacher thinks the concern isn’t so much about the planet’s warming, but the idea that one day we might have too much carbon floating around for humans to breathe.

Video via Think Progress:

With all the tut-tutting of a condescending school master, Rohrabacher is very disappointed in Holdren for not having the answers to questions only Rohrabacher thinks are related.

“You’re here trying to pass, what we consider a draconian regulation, you should know at what point it becomes harmful to human health,” he says combatively. “If it’s at 400 parts per million, Dr. Holdren, maybe you have the answer to that, at what level does it become harmful to human beings?”

The question is absurd, because of course the biggest threats to human health from rising CO2 levels aren’t in the concentration itself, but what that does to the earth’s climate. Holdren, with the patience of a saint, tries his best to explain that to him:

“Vice Chairman Rorhabacher, I always enjoy my interactions with you. I have to say, with respect, that’s a red herring. We are not interested in carbon dioxide concentrations because of their direct effect on human health, we are interested in them because of their effect on the world’s climate, and climate change has effects on human health.”

Finally, Rep. Larry Bucshon assumed the role of “tin foil hat climate denialist” during his time to question Holdren. Not swayed by sound arguments or data, Bucshon announced that he would not “believe” scientific literature because scientists are in it for the money.

After Bucshon unilaterally decides that climate change doesn’t exist, Holdren responds by asking the congressman to look at the scientific literature before coming to that conclusion. But Bucshon doesn’t need no stinkin’ literature, because all of that is a scam anyway.  What is science, after all, other than a giant moneymaking scheme perpetrated by every climate scientist in the world to fleece the good people of his home state of Indiana of their hard-earned salaries?

“Of all the climatologists whose careers depends on the climate changing to keep themselves publishing articles? Yes, I could read that, but I don’t believe it.”

Yes, better to trust the oil companies who altruistically insist that climate change isn’t real with absolutely no agenda. The scientists, with their bling’d out pocket protectors and designer lab coats, are in it for the money and therefore can’t be trusted.

The hearing continues in a similar vein for some time. Nothing is learned. No minds were changed. Just a bunch of guys going through the motions of trying to derail a meaningful discussion on climate change. These are conversations that the top science adviser to the president had to have with the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. It serves as a peek at what rational people are up against and how hard it will be make changes.

The members of said committee not only disagree with the existence of climate change, they don’t even know enough about science to fully understand what climate change is. Despite that rather serious inadequacy, they are some of the most important people on the planet in combating a global catastrophe. In helping to stall, kill, or undermine Obama’s plans to address rising temperatures and lurking natural disasters, this small group of uneducated former lawyers and lobbyists is doing real damage to the chances of preparing for or diverting those catastrophes.

In other news, the earth just experienced its hottest summer in recorded history.

h/t Think Progress