House Climate Science Hearing: Liveblog ...
 
9:47
Eli Kintisch: 
Welcome everyone to live coverage of the House Energy and Commerce’s hearing on climate science and the EPA. Eli Kintisch of Science here, and we’ll be joined in a second by NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt for color commentary on the hearing, which is being held by the Power subcommittee, chaired by Ed Whitfield.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:47 Eli Kintisch
9:48
Eli Kintisch: 
Ostensibly the panel is holding the hearing to discuss HR 910, a law introduced by the Energy and Commerce Committee chair Fred Upton of Ohio. HR 910 would basically neuter the EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases by directly invalidating a number of agency steps towards doing that. (For the bill text, go to thomas.loc.gov and search for “hr 910” – direct links annoyingly unavailable)
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:48 Eli Kintisch
9:48
Gavin Schmidt: 
Hi Eli, Looking forward to this...
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:48 Gavin Schmidt
9:49
Eli Kintisch: 
Quotes from a National Journal story on Whitfield here http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/25/ed-whitfield-house-gop-polluted-air-clean-energy/
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:49 Eli Kintisch
9:50
Eli Kintisch: 
The alleged link for the hearing live feed:

http://energycommerce.edgeboss.net/wmedia-live/energycommerce/11990/100_energycommerce-2123_060901.asx
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:50 Eli Kintisch
9:50
[Comment From thingsbreak thingsbreak : ] 
Eli, try http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-910
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:50 thingsbreak
9:50
Eli Kintisch: 
Many thanks!
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:50 Eli Kintisch
9:52
Eli Kintisch: 
A key step in the EPA climate process that 910 would declare null and void: the so-called “endangerment finding”, filed by the agency in December of 2009. That was a scientific determination, guided by and required by the wording of the Clean Air Act, that emissions of greenhouse gases “endanger public health or welfare”.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:52 Eli Kintisch
9:52
Eli Kintisch: 
That document, which had been finalized by the Bush EPA but never acted upon by the Bush White House, cited a wide array of climate science studies and concluded that greenhouse gas emissions would in fact endanger the US; the legal definition of endangerment includes impacts on wildlife.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:52 Eli Kintisch
9:53
Eli Kintisch: 
Today's hearing is a bit of an odd bird. Original hearing on the bill was on Feb 9:
http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=8179
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:53 Eli Kintisch
9:54
Gavin Schmidt: 
The EPA endangerment finding, and the voluminous petitions, and responses to petitions (all of which needed to survive judicial review) are available here: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:54 Gavin Schmidt
9:56
Gavin Schmidt: 
A much shorter summary of the Endangerment findings and issues is in the FAQ (pdf): http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/downloads/EndangermentFinding_FAQs.pdf
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:56 Gavin Schmidt
9:56
[Comment From thingsbreak thingsbreak : ] 
So this isn't on any of the C-SPAN channels that I just checked...
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:56 thingsbreak
9:57
Eli Kintisch: 
But Democrats on the hearing wanted to have their own hearing on the bill, to discuss the science, and Republicans agreed.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 9:57 Eli Kintisch
10:00
[Comment From Sam Sam : ] 
Is this endangerment finding about all GHGs or just CO2?
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:00 Sam
10:00
Eli Kintisch: 
Nope; all 6 GHG's under the normal definition...
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:00 Eli Kintisch
10:02
Eli Kintisch: 
Weird that this hearing is happening, I think, because the minority often wants things it doesn't get; in this case the GOPers who run the committee are agreeing to a hearing that might slow down the push to stop the EPA. Then again, perhaps they feel sufficiently confident that their witnesses will effectively counter scientists called by the Democrats who will no doubt describe plenty of "endangerment"
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:02 Eli Kintisch
10:02
Gavin Schmidt: 
The "normal" definition isn't really normal ;) They are the well-mixed GHGs covered by the Kyoto Protocol. Well-mixed means that they have lifetimes in the atmosphere longer than the time scales of atmospheric circulation (ie. longer than a couple of years).
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:02 Gavin Schmidt
10:03
[Comment From Jan Rooth Jan Rooth : ] 
Thank you for doing this, Eli and Gavin. I can't have video going at work, but a liveblog lets me check in on the action from time to time ...
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:03 Jan Rooth
10:04
Eli Kintisch: 
Along those lines: one of the democrats (inslee has put on his desk, to the right of Whitfield, a giant stack of booksmaybe 3 feet tall.

"We've decided today to focus on the science", says Whitfield, adding that "24" previous hearings have touched on the science of climate change
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:04 Eli Kintisch
10:04
Eli Kintisch: 
Whitfield says the hearing will touch on "both sides" of the issue.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:04 Eli Kintisch
10:05
Eli Kintisch: 
Whitfield, the chair, is giving his opening statement. "wise solution to the problem". One "need not be a skeptic of g warming to be a skeptic of EPA's regulatory agenda."
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:05 Eli Kintisch
10:05
[Comment From thingsbreak thingsbreak : ] 
Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:05 thingsbreak
10:05
[Comment From thingsbreak thingsbreak : ] 
Ah, sound is up.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:05 thingsbreak
10:06
Eli Kintisch: 
Whitfield quoting Jackson on concerns about China... "The White House is insisting the sky is falling"
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:06 Eli Kintisch
10:07
Eli Kintisch: 
Greenhouse gas regulations will have a devastating "effect on the economy"
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:07 Eli Kintisch
10:08
Eli Kintisch: 
Whitfield warns that "these scary global warming scenarios" won't be alleviated by EPA rules; they're unfair, he says, because China, others, have advantages...
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:08 Eli Kintisch
10:09
Eli Kintisch: 
Whitfield: EPA rules on GHG's "a bypass" of Congress's power. The law is not "about global warming science, it is about stopping regulations certain to do more harm than good."
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:09 Eli Kintisch
10:09
Gavin Schmidt: 
One theme that will be constant is that unilateral action by the US is meaningless if everyone else continues with business as usual. However, this is not a ethical argument for not doing anything. Edward Burke (an original conservative) rightly said: “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/05/the-tragedy-of-climate-commons/
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:09 Gavin Schmidt
10:10
Eli Kintisch: 
Bobby Rush is next, the ranking Dem. Hard to understand him (and I'm in the room...) :/
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:10 Eli Kintisch
10:11
Eli Kintisch: 
"There really is no widespread debate among the scientific community that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change" says Rush, rattling off the familiar bevy of top scientific groups that believe CO2 leads to possibly dangerous global warming
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:11 Eli Kintisch
10:11
[Comment From thingsbreak thingsbreak : ] 
Doesn't mention that the House (this Chamber) passed a cap and trade bill...
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:11 thingsbreak
10:13
Eli Kintisch: 
"The cost of doing nothing outweighs the cost of action," says Rush, adding that regulating GHG's would "create new jobs"
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:13 Eli Kintisch
10:13
[Comment From Chip Knappenberger Chip Knappenberger : ] 
Gavin, I think the issue is more complicated than an ethical argument about doing something. The issue should be about doing something effective effectively.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:13 Chip Knappenberger
10:13
[Comment From hannejakobsen hannejakobsen : ] 
is it coincidental that this hearing comes right after the crash of the satellite glory?
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:13 hannejakobsen
10:13
Eli Kintisch: 
@hannej: yes, coincidence
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:13 Eli Kintisch
10:16
Eli Kintisch: 
Rush is enthusiastic about a carbon sequestration project in Illinois. "Listen to what the science is telling us," he says as he ends his statement. Then he shows a giant cartoon that makes the "no-regrets" argument... "Even if its a big hoax, its a hoax that will provide" much good (green jobs, cleaner air etc)
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:16 Eli Kintisch
10:17
Eli Kintisch: 
Burress, Texas is next. "Science by consensus is fraught...this panel of experts will disagree with each other...indicative" of a serious disagreement on the issue
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:17 Eli Kintisch
10:17
Gavin Schmidt: 
Chip: Of course, but action by others is predicated on action by the developed world and historically largest emitters. The important context is that CO2 stabilisation requires cuts of 60-70% in emissions at some point in the next few decades (and the sooner it occurs the lower the stabilised value will be). That *will* require concerted international action, which is made up of national actions. The only ethical response is to work towards building the conditions for international action.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:17 Gavin Schmidt
10:18
[Comment From Roger Pielke, Jr. Roger Pielke, Jr. : ] 
Public health impacts in Illinois?!
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:18 Roger Pielke, Jr.
10:18
[Comment From Roger Pielke, Jr. Roger Pielke, Jr. : ] 
@Gavin, an ethicist now too? ;-)
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:18 Roger Pielke, Jr.
10:18
Gavin Schmidt: 
Rep: Whitfield's "Science by consensus" is a strawman. Consensus is what is left when the science is done.
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:18 Gavin Schmidt
10:18
Eli Kintisch: 
Rep Burress: Brings up supposed "consensus" of scientists in 70's that "earth was cooling."
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:18 Eli Kintisch
10:19
Eli Kintisch: 
This has been shown to be misleading...someone have the paper?
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:19 Eli Kintisch
10:19
[Comment From thingsbreak thingsbreak : ] 
Rush held up this cartoon: http://greenupgrader.com/files/2009/12/climate_denier_cartoon.jpg
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:19 thingsbreak
10:19
[Comment From thingsbreak thingsbreak : ] 
Oh, that's precious- deliberately invite some of the handful of contrarians and pit them against the overwhelmingly mainstream and claim this means the science isn't settled. By that measure, evolution will never be "settled".
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:19 thingsbreak
10:20
Gavin Schmidt: 
Petersen, Connolley and Fleck: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:20 Gavin Schmidt
10:21
Eli Kintisch: 
Meanwhile, Insless's giant stack of books/reports -- no doubt a visual appeal to authority -- looms over him and Rep. Waxman, who's sitting as a subcommittee member. If that thing falls over the metaphors will surely fly...
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:21 Eli Kintisch
10:21
[Comment From Roger Pielke, Jr. Roger Pielke, Jr. : ] 
There was no formal consensus on cooling in the 1970s, though some scientists held that view
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:21 Roger Pielke, Jr.
10:21
[Comment From thingsbreak thingsbreak : ] 
Burress falsely repeated the "cooling consensus" myth. @Eli, paper here: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1
Tuesday March 8, 2011 10:21 thingsbreak
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