Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL): Climate model predictions of warming are not panning out, and even if goals of Climate Action Plan were achieved, there’d be no measurable difference for 100 yrs. [For fact checking]
POSTED FOR COMMENTARY BY SCIENTISTS
The following statements are from Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) during the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Work’s hearing titled “Review of the President’s Climate Action Plan.” The hearing was held on January 16, 2014.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)
The truth is that predictions of warming have simply not occurred at the rate that the experts have predicted. This rush to force billions more dollars of costs on this economy and thousands of more people laid off based on predictions that are not panning out deserves analysis.
The facts show that if the [President’s Climate Action Plan] is adopted in its entirety and all these goals are achieved in the U.S., there would still be no measurable difference in the global temperature twenty, fifty, or a hundred years from now.
As shown in this chart [aids holding up chart], which was updated two days ago with the most recent temperatures of 2013, global temperatures have not increased since 1998. They just haven’t. That is not consistent with the models that we have been told correctly predict our future.Source: Review of the President’s Climate Action Plan: Hearing on Climate Change and President’s Climate Action Plan before U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, 113th Cong. (2014) (statements by Republican Senators). See video at http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/317244-1.
INITIAL COMMENTS BY THE CCNF SCIENTIST COMMUNITY:
Dr. Bart Verheggen
My response is similar to what I wrote re the NIPCC report and all statements trying to over-interpret the meaning of the “pause”:
- The Senator wrongly suggests that the timeseries of surface air temperatures over 16 years is indicative of the longer term (multi-decadal) forced trend (what John calls 16 data points vs the process in his response to the NIPCC post).
- He wrongly suggests that surface air temperatures is all there’s to global warming (whereas most excess energy ends up in the oceans which appear to be warming, including over this same period).
- Also, it is something that has more recently been quantified, so it can’t really be held against him, but the surface temperature data have a cool bias by ignoring large parts of the (rapidly warming) Arctic (see also http://www.realclimate.org/
The warming that is expected at any point in time depends on a few things:
- The climate forcing (how is the energy coming in and going out of the system changing?)
- The climate sensitivity (how much warming would we eventually expect after equilibrium has been reached)
- The climate response time (how fast is equilibrium reached)
- Natural variability
The “positive” (warming) climate forcing from greenhouse gases has been counteracted in the past decade by a “negative” (cooling) climate forcing due to a very inactive sun and due to more reflective aerosols (from volcanoes and from China). On top of that, La Nina conditions prevailed over this time period so this mode of natural variability added more coolness so to speak. To what extent the sensitivity and response time are different from what we thought it was is harder to pin down (e.g. paleo-estimates differ from what may be deduced from the transient changes during the past 150 years).
His second point is a classic prisoner’s dilemma, but he also conflates the *global* temps with *American* emissions, as if the US emissions are the only driver of global temps.