Senate Budget Committee Hearing: Judith Curry responds

From Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

Last week’s Hearing was a sad example of what passes for debate and deliberations by the U.S. Senate.  In any event, it provides an interesting case study of why the U.S. cannot bridge the partisan divide and figure out how to deal sensibly with the climate change issue.

In case you missed it, the Chair of the Senate Budget, Sheldon Whitehouse, has immortalized on youtube his questioning of me at the end of the Hearing:  Chairman Whitehouse Presses GOP Witness in Budget Hearing on Climate Change and Insurance Markets.

I expected SW to go after me, which he has often done to Republican witnesses.  In my written testimony, I added a paragraph at the end of my biosketch to defuse any accusations of being in the pocket of ‘big oil.’  When SW introduced the witnesses, he thanked each one and said he was looking forward to their testimony – including the other Republican witness.  In introducing me, he simply stated my name and my positions. The writing was on the wall from the very beginning of the Hearing.   However, I did not expect the inanity that ensued.

It seems that Senator Whitehouse thought that his grilling of me was some sort magnificent ‘takedown’:  mischaracterizing things that I had written over a decade ago, out of context references to my use of alarmist trigger words “hoax” and “corrupt” in interviews and obscure blog posts, unpublished graphs that I have never seen before, words of ‘wisdom’ from Exxon in the 1960’s, etc.

Apart from the issue that almost none of this had anything to do with my testimony and much of the time I had no idea what he was talking about, he gave me about 30 seconds to respond to each of these, saying that I could respond later in writing.  The day after the Hearing, his staffer emailed me with follow up questions from Senator Grassley (see my responses:  Judith Curry response to Senator Grassley questions) and that “I will also be sending you a transcript of your remarks from the hearing in the next few days, to make minor edits to” – I have yet to receive this transcript.

In any event, that doesn’t sound like I will really have a chance to respond in the Congressional Record in a meaningful way, as promised several times by Senator Whitehouse. So I am responding here on my blog,  to show how pointless such behavior is in the Halls of Congress where serious issues should be debated in a serious manner.

My 2014 Congressional Testimony

SW brought up my my 2014 Testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which compared statements made by the IPCC AR4 (2007) with the IPCC AR5 (2013), which led me to conclude that the AR5 presented a weaker case for anthropogenic warming than did the AR4.

SW read off my summary bullet points without mentioning the substantial documentation I provided in terms of direct quotes from the AR5, and then proceeded to attempt a refutation of my 2014 Testimony by mischaracterizing my statements and bringing up recent observations, e.g. that the Antarctic sea ice was currently at a record low level.

Here is the text from my 2014 testimony that are direct quotes from the IPCC AR5:

“[T]he rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012) [is] 0.05 [–0.05 to +0.15] °C per decade which is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012) [of] 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] °C per decade.”

“It is very likely that the mean rate of global averaged sea level rise was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm yr–1 between 1901 and 2010, 2.0 [1.7 to 2.3] mm yr–1 between 1971 and 2010 and 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm yr–1 between 1993 and 2010. It is likely that similarly high rates occurred between 1920 and 1950.”

“It is very likely that the annual Antarctic sea ice extent increased at a rate of between 1.2 and 1.8% per decade between 1979 and 2012.  “There is low confidence in the scientific understanding of the observed increase in Antarctic sea ice extent since 1979, due to the incomplete and competing scientific explanations for the causes of change and low confidence in estimates of internal variability.”

SW asks how these conclusions have held up over time.  The historical temperature and sea level data remain as they were (well for the most part), and the slow but irregular creep of warming has continued.

Senator Whitehouse used the recent record low in Antarctic sea ice extent as a refutation of statements in my 2014 testimony. The IPCC AR5 statements about Antarctic sea ice that were cited in my 2014 Testimony have generally stood the test of time.  Here is text from the IPCC AR6 WGI Report (Section

“AR5 (2013) reported a small but significant increase in the total annual mean Antarctic SIE [sea ice extent] that was very likely in the range of 1.2–1.8% per decade between 1979 and 2012 (0.13–0.20 million km2 per decade) (very high confidence), while SROCC (2019) reported that total Antarctic sea ice coverage exhibited no significant trend over the period of satellite observations (1979–2018) (high confidence). SROCC noted that a significant positive trend in mean annual ice cover between 1979 and 2015 had not persisted, due to three consecutive years of below-average ice cover (2016–2018). SROCC stated also that historical Antarctic sea ice data from different sources indicated a decrease in overall Antarctic sea ice cover since the early 1960s, but was too small to be separated from natural variability (high confidence).”

Nowhere in the IPCC reports do they attribute any decrease in Antarctic sea ice extent to human caused warming.

Discrepancies between climate model projections and observations

During the Hearing, I was presented with a figure purporting to prove that climate models in 2004 had accurately predicted the global average temperature since then.

I did not recognize that particular figure, but I knew that the CMIP3 models used in the 2007 IPCC AR4 were found by the AR5 to have over predicted the temperatures for the period 1999-2012. I also knew that the CMIP3 climate models were heavily tuned to the historical temperature record (which explains the good agreement prior to 2004).  I subsequently found out that this figure was published in a blog post with no clear description of exactly how the model-observation comparison was done.

Here is the relevant figure from the IPCC AR5.  Figure 11.25 compares climate model projections with observations of global surface temperature anomalies through 2012.

Figure 11.25 shows that near term climate projections for the period 1999-2012 were much warmer than the observed temperatures, with several years dropping below the 5-95% envelope of the climate model simulations.

With regards to the CMIP3 simulations used in the blog post and diagram presented by Senator Whitehouse, the IPCC AR5 has this to say:

“However, the implied rates of warming over the period from 1986–2005 to 2016–2035 are lower as a result of the hiatus: 0.10°C–0.23°C per decade, suggesting the AR4 assessment [CMIP3 models] was near the upper end of current expectations for this specific time interval.

Ed Hawkins is the IPCC author who prepared Figure 11.25.  He updated the Figure with temperatures through 2021.  This later period included the extremely warm temperatures associated with the super El Nino in 2016.  The year 2016 barely made it to the midpoint of the climate model range; compare 2016 with 1998 (a previous super El Nino), which slightly exceeded the upper boundary of the 5-95% range.

Trigger words:  corruption and hoax

The most inane part of the questioning was challenging me on my use of two trigger words for climate change alarmists – “corrupt” and “hoax”.

SW stated:  You’ve accused the IPCC of corruption.  Do you stand by that accusation? He did not prove a direct quotation, I have no idea exactly what he is referring to even after a google search of the relevant words.

In a 2010 interview for Discover Magazine, I made the following statement:

“There is a substantial level of public interest in investigating the issues raised by Climategate. These issues include: wanting an assessment of the reliability and accuracy of the historical and paleo temperature records/reconstructions; wanting an assessment of whether the IPCC was corrupted and whether their conclusions are reliable and can be trusted as the basis for international carbon and energy policy; and whether there are some “bad apples” in the climate research community that need to be weeded out in the sense of not being in positions of responsibility as journal editor, IPCC lead author, administrator.”

This statement was subsequently exaggerated inappropriately in a 2010 Scientific American profile on me:

“Few scientists would claim the IPCC is perfect, but Curry thinks it needs thoroughgoing reform. She accuses it of “corruption.” “I’m not going to just spout off and endorse the IPCC,” she says, “because I think I don’t have confidence in the process.” “

A 2012 interview with made the following statement, which correctly reflects my concerns about the IPCC process.

“Judith was a one time supporter of the IPCC until she started to find herself disagreeing with certain policies and methods of the organization. She feared the combination of groupthink and political advocacy, combined with an ingrained “noble cause syndrome” stifled scientific debate, slowed down scientific progress, and corrupted the assessment process.”

Around the same time of these interviews, the UN InterAcademy Council (IAC) began a thorough review of the IPCC’s policies and practices, in response to issues raised by Climategate.  The IAC invited me make a presentation on my concerns. Also around the same time, the U.S. Natural Research Council Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy invited me to make a presentation on my concerns about the integrity of climate science in light of Climategate.

While the IPCC has instituted several of the changes recommended by the IAC, I remain very concerned about the politicization of the IPCC .  For the past 15 years, I have been an advocate for the integrity of  scientific research and assessment processes.

At this point, the IPCC WGI on the physical basis of climate change maintains some measure of objectivity, although the Summary for Policy Makers is politicized and cherry picks the findings.  As evidenced by the recently published IPCC Synthesis Report, it seems that science has left the room, with the emphasis on weakly justified findings on climate impacts driven by extreme emission scenarios from WGII, and politicized policy recommendations on emissions reductions from WGIII.

The “hoax” issue is even more inane.

Senator Whitehouse made the following statement: “Curry has agreed with Trump’s description of climate change as a “hoax”, writing in 2016 that the UN’s definition of manmade climate change “qualifies as a hoax.”  This is a blatant misrepresentation of what I wrote.

In a 2016 blog post title “Trumping the climate,” I examined President-elect Trump’s statements on climate change and his frequent use of the word ‘hoax’.

Lets first look at the definition of ‘hoax’, here are a few I spotted by googling:

  • a humorous or malicious deception.
  • to trick into believing or accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous
  • a plan to deceive a large group of people
  • a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth.

With these definitions in mind, here are two examples that qualify as hoaxes that I have previously written about:

  1. The UNFCCC definition of ‘climate change’ arguably qualifies as a hoax: climate change is a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.[link]. This perversion of the definition of ‘climate change’ was designed to mislead people into thinking that all climate change is caused by humans.

With regards to #1, here is my concern.  The UNFCCC has redefined the term “climate change” away from the traditional definition used in the geological, atmospheric and oceanic sciences, to make a distinction between climate change—attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition (mainly CO2), and climate variability—attributable to natural causes. This redefinition of “climate change” to refer only to human-caused changes to the atmospheric composition has effectively eliminated natural climate change from the public discussion—the common parlance refers to “climate change,” with no mention of natural climate variability. As a result, any change that is observed over the past century is now implicitly assumed to be caused by human emissions to the atmosphere. This assumption leads to connecting every unusual weather or climate event to human-caused climate change from fossil fuel emissions.  This redefinition of “climate change” by the UNFCCC is a deception and misleading, which has arguably  contributed to Trump calling climate change a hoax.

Why anyone thinks this is worth discussing in a Congressional Hearing is beyond me.

EXXON and the American Petroleum Institute

I was shown an indecipherable diagram that was created by EXXON at some unspecified date, but presumably in the 1960’s or 1970’s.  SW characterized this graph of CO2 concentrations and temperatures as being a ‘model’ that turned out to be pretty accurate.  Two lines both having the same trend do not constitute a model, or imply anything about causation.

I was also read a statement that was made in 1968 by a report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, warning that continued increases in CO2 could cause harm from warming the climate by 2000.

The point is this.  Our knowledge of climate change was in its infancy in the 1960’s.  What Exxon or anyone else ‘knew’ at this time was associated with a very weak knowledge base, and is irrelevant to the current scientific debate on the issue.  We have understood the basic mechanism of the atmospheric greenhouse effect since the 19th century; the key questions remain as to its magnitude and its importance relative to natural climate variability.

The IPCC’s First Assessment Report published in 1990, which reflects the best assessment of our knowledge several decades subsequent to the Exxon ‘model’ and the AIP Report, included the following summary judgment:

“The size of this warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability Thus the observed increase could be largely due to this natural variability, alternatively this variability and other human factors could have offset a still larger human-induced greenhouse warming. The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is not likely for a decade or more.”

My 2007 Washington Post op-ed [link]

Senator Whitehouse asked me if I stood by my 2007 op-ed, after reading aloud the part about risk and risk management. This is actually something of relevance for this Hearing.

“But if the risk is great, then it may be worth acting against even if its probability is small. Think of risk as the product of consequences and likelihood: what can happen and the odds of it happening [JC addendum:  also need to add strength of the knowledge base in assessing risk]. A 10-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100 is not likely; the panel gives it a 3 percent probability. Such low-probability, high-impact risks are routinely factored into any analysis and management strategy, whether on Wall Street or at the Pentagon.

The rationale for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide is to reduce the risk of the possibility of catastrophic outcomes. Making the transition to cleaner fuels has the added benefit of reducing the impact on public health and ecosystems and improving energy security — providing benefits even if the risk is eventually reduced. [JC qualification:  I stand by this statement, but it is most definitely not an endorsement of rapidly transitioning to wind and solar power].

There is no easy solution to this problem; the challenge is how best to develop options that are feasible, efficient, viable and scalable. Lomborg is correct to be concerned about the possibility of bad policy choices. But I have yet to see any option that is worse than ignoring the risk of global warming and doing nothing.”

I was wrong about trusting the IPCC on polar bears, and I was wrong in most of my criticisms of Lomborg. However, my statements about risk hold up fairly well after 16 years.  I would add the following nuance from my more recent perspective of having written a book on this topic: “Climate Uncertainty and Risk,” specifically with regards to “doing nothing:”

Acceptable risk requires no management. Risks are tolerable if activities are considered as worth pursuing for the associated benefits. For tolerable risks, efforts for risk reduction or coping are welcomed, provided that the benefits of the activities are not lost. Burning fossil fuels has historically been considered a tolerable risk. Climate change risks have been characterized as acceptable, tolerable, and intolerable by different individuals and constituencies – clearly an ambiguous situation. As described in my written statement, judgments of intolerable risks from climate change relate to mistakenly conflating the slow creep of global warming (an emerging risk) with consequences from extreme weather and climate events (emergency risks).

The slow creep of warming is best characterized as a tolerable risk.  If we can eliminate this risk by reducing fossil fuel emissions in a way that does not incur further harm, then this should be welcomed.  However, plans to rapidly dismantle our power infrastructure and replace it with unreliable wind and solar power risks producing greater harms than any conceivable impacts from climate change.  My written testimony refers to this as “transition risk.”

Volcanoes and climate change

SW’s only mention of my written testimony is a question regarding volcanoes, in response to my statement:

“Plausible scenarios of natural climate variability in the mid-21st century (not included in the climate model simulations) point to a slowdown in the rate of global warming driven by: an expected solar minimum, the possibility of explosive volcanic eruptions, and a projected shift in multi-decadal ocean circulation patterns.”

SW asked a question about whether I expected volcanoes to save us from global warming.  My take on this is consistent with the IPCC AR6 WG1 Box 4.1:

“Typically, three in every four centuries have experienced at least one eruption stronger than –1 W m-2 (Pinatubo or larger). The volcanic aerosol burden was 14% lower during the 20th century compared to the average of the preceding 24 centuries, whereas the 13th century was among the most volcanically active, with four eruptions exceeding that of Pinatubo-1991.”

“Due to the direct radiative effect of volcanic stratospheric aerosols, large volcanic eruptions lead to an overall decrease of GSAT [global surface air temperature], which can extend to multi-decadal or century timescales in the case of clustered volcanism.”

“Given the unpredictability of individual eruptions, volcanic forcing is prescribed as a constant background loading in CMIP6 models. This means the effects of potential large volcanic eruptions are largely absent from model projections, and few studies have addressed the potential implications on 21st century warming. One study considered future scenarios with hypothetical volcanic eruptions consistent with levels of CE [Common Era] volcanic activity under RCP4.5 and found that climate projections could be substantially altered. Although temporary, close to pre-industrial level temperatures could be experienced globally for a few years after a 1257 Samalas-sized eruption.”

“Clustered eruptions would have substantial impact upon GSAT [global surface air temperature] evolution throughout the century, and could have far-reaching implications, as observed for past eruptions.”

JC message to Senator Whitehouse

If you are going to attempt such a takedown in the future, I suggest that you need better staffers.  The questions on “corrupt”, “hoax”, Exxon, and API were truly inane.  If you are attempting to prove something such as 2004 climate model projections matching observations, you should rely on a better source than a blog post.  In any event, all this seems to have impressed the 80 or so clueless commenters on your youtube clip.  But it won’t impress serious people.

Climate change is a serious issue.  Depending on your perspective and values, there will be much future loss and damage from either climate change itself, or from the  policies designed to prevent climate change. Conflicts surrounding climate change have been exacerbated by oversimplifying both the problem and its solutions. And from mischaracterizing the risks from climate change.

Constructively working with your Republican colleagues is essential for accomplishing anything that could help reduce our vulnerability to extreme weather events and the slow creep of warming.  A good start would be to provide some modicum of respect towards witnesses invited by Republicans and carefully considering the arguments made in their testimony.  Hearings are an opportunity for Senators to actually learn things from the expert witnesses.

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Tom Halla
March 27, 2023 6:17 pm

Sheldon Whitehouse knows his audience is as careless and stupid as his staffers, so he is playing to people who get their information from legacy media or TikTok.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 28, 2023 5:51 am

Whitehouse is a radical Democrat who took the opportunity to attack Judith for not going along with his human-caused climate change narrative.

Don’t expect fairness from radical Democrats. They are only interested in their agenda, and if you don’t go along with it, then you become the enemy, and radical Democrats are ruthless when it comes to their enemies. The last thing they will be is fair.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 28, 2023 6:04 am

And now you get a taste of what Republican nominees face in Congressional hearings, not just for judicial nominees. It takes large staffs and many thousands of dollars to assemble the requested information on every speech and report ever given and every other type of communication.

Stephen Philbrick
March 27, 2023 6:34 pm

The evidence doesn’t support the hope that Senator Whitehouse is interested in learning from thoughtful, nuanced witness. He seems more interested in playing gotcha, and sadly, thinks he succeeded, not being smart enough to understand his own blunders.

Last edited 2 months ago by Stephen Philbrick
Reply to  Stephen Philbrick
March 30, 2023 6:08 am

So you’re saying Sheldon Whitehouse is a Democrat.

Reply to  fdemaris
April 1, 2023 8:13 pm

Whitehouse has pals who are alleged republicans called RINOs who are just as lazy and brainless as Whitehouse.

Democrats and RINOs are allied together in getting as rich as possible off of climate alarmism, and pushing the USA into socialism with Democrats and RINOs as the elites.

Last edited 1 month ago by ATheoK
March 27, 2023 6:43 pm

There is an old saying. If you are not for us you are against us. This is an error in logic going back a couple of thousand years to the ancient greeks. It is a means of painting people into corners.

Most people, including scientists are not for or against anything. They are sitting on the fence. They want to hear the facts and let the facts speak for themselves.

Whether you believe in Climate Change or not is not science, it is belief. Belief is not science, it is religion

You cannot argue religion with anyone because it is not based in logic. It is based in belief.

The same is true of politics. Thus the two banned topics at the dining table are politics and religion. And climate change.

Reply to  ferdberple
March 28, 2023 4:24 am

The facts are there is nothing wrong with the “climate”. This is all politically driven crap.

More Soylent Green!
Reply to  ferdberple
March 28, 2023 6:24 am

I’m not certain scientists “are not for or against anything” is true. Perhaps it once was. Then again, we only hear from the activist scientists. Are the others afraid to speak up, or has activism replaced science?

March 27, 2023 6:47 pm

Senator WhiteGuiltHorse’sRear managed to destroy the integrity of his office more in that one session than even his worst critics expected. He owes Judith Curry and everyone who had to endure his embarrassing schoolyard bully shtick a written apology. He epitomizes everything that decent people LOATHE about Democrats.

March 27, 2023 6:55 pm

What is really really sad is the you-tube comment section and their inane support for whitehouse.

March 27, 2023 7:00 pm

He’s known as Sen. OUThouse for a reason, ya know.

Reply to  eck
March 28, 2023 12:32 am

I love a clever insult of a leftist
And that is one
Senator Outhouse

March 27, 2023 7:20 pm

I think the world of Judith Curry’s science but I think she imagines “government” is somehow a benign implementer of thoughtful policies based on thorough and well-considered analysis. With all due respect, she comes across as a political naif.

Climate “science” has been politicized beyond anything recognizable as science. Scientists who work hard to discover how our climate works without any preconceived notion or desired outcome have been overwhelmed in the last 25 years by climate “scientists” who were recruited for their a priori belief in man-made global warming and, for those who did not enter the field with any such prior belief (it’s hard to imagine anyone interested in a PhD in climate science isn’t a priori biased), they have been “trained” to believe.

She expects to be questioned thoughtfully and wants to respond thoughtfully. Such a mindset will have no impact on bringing any sort of reasonable outcome from government. She needs to go to Senate hearings loaded for bear and prepared to “take down” her questioners. Reasonable dialogue is waste of her time and ours.

Please, Judith, for the next Senate hearing, do your best to show them what fools they are so ordinary Americans can understand their stupidity and cupidity. Please.

Last edited 2 months ago by Meisha
Mark BLR
Reply to  Meisha
March 28, 2023 5:18 am

Please, Judith, for the next Senate hearing, do your best to show them what fools they are so ordinary Americans can understand their stupidity and cupidity. Please.

In the ATL article Judith says that Senator Whitehouse referenced “obscure blog posts [and] unpublished graphs that I have never seen before“, and as a result in the moment — and with only 30 seconds to react each time — “much of the time I had no idea what he was talking about“.

She had to check afterwards, and even then in some cases “He did not prove a direct quotation, I have no idea exactly what he is referring to even after a google search of the relevant words“.

At the next Senate hearing the goalposts will be shifted, yet again.

It is one of the standard “Alinsky Rules” :

RULE 8 : “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.”

Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Mark BLR
March 28, 2023 8:19 am
Dave Yaussy
Reply to  Meisha
March 28, 2023 5:18 am

Meisha has a point. Judith Curry is fantastic at calmly analyzing climate science. Whether you agree with her or not, she stands as a paragon of reasoned thought on the subject of climate change. Would that other academics emulated her.

Congressional hearings, on the other hand, are theater. You have to appear respectful (unless there’s an opening for impassioned righteous indignation) and not evasive, while delivering zingers of your own. Sound bites rule; nuance is a lost cause.

Even if Ms. Curry is capable of such behavior, I think that I would regret seeing her sink to that level.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
March 28, 2023 8:20 am

Her interview by Jordon Peterson, who gave her plenty of time to explain her ideas, was a joy to listen to. He also interviewed other climate skeptics.

Mark Whitney
Reply to  Meisha
March 28, 2023 6:09 am

I think the most concise observation relevant to your comment is attributed to George Washington:

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

Another wise man offered advice confluent to that of Mr. Washington.

“Of each particular thing, ask: What is it in itself? What is its nature?” —Marcus Aurelius

Anyone expecting any government, however conceived, to be a rational body concerned with truth is destined to be disappointed. It is by its very nature the most corruptable of constructs.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Mark Whitney
March 28, 2023 8:22 am

GW- what his contemporaries said about him, “first in war and first in peace”

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Meisha
March 28, 2023 8:17 am

I like the way Alex Epstein responds to stupid questions in Congress- very smart and witty. He’s not afraid of stupid questions- I think he likes them and he expects them. He’ll be a great warrior in this battle for a long time.

David H
Reply to  Meisha
March 28, 2023 9:21 am

Very well said. Reasonable thought and the scientific method are so “old school”

March 27, 2023 7:23 pm

Sen. Whitehouse is an idiot. And, that, is being unkind to idiots. A village somewhere is missing their idiot and Whitehouse continues to apply for the job everytime he opens his piehole.

Steve Richards
March 27, 2023 10:18 pm

“Slow creep of warming” makes warming sound bad!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Steve Richards
March 28, 2023 6:03 am

At present, the slow creep is of cooling. The temperatures have cooled about 0.6C since the temperature highpoint in 2016.

I guess the Senator missed that. He is still living in 2016.

Now, think about some poor Republican congresscritter trying to take on the Human-caused Climate Change narrative. They would be hit with all the things Judith was hit with, and would be much less able to answer all the assertions made.

And the Republicans know they can be made to look like fools in a situation like this, so this keeps them silent, and the Democrats have the field to themselves, which is VERY bad for the nation.

The only solution is to elect an American president who doesn’t believe in human-caused climate change.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 28, 2023 8:36 am

At present, the slow creep is of cooling. The temperatures have cooled about 0.6C since the temperature highpoint in 2016.

This looks like an example of old ‘crayon method’ of assessing temperature change, Tom. A crude line is drawn between 2 points in a chart and the difference between them is taken to be the total change, ignoring everything in between.

In this case, it looks like you are using UAH and drawing your line from the peak at Feb 2016 (+0.70C) to the latest month, Feb 2023 (0.08C); hence your ~0.6C cooling.

Linear regression overcomes this error by considering all the points, not just the start and end. Using LG (in Excel), the linear change in UAH from Feb 2016 to Feb 2023 is less than -0.2C. As Judith Curry helpfully points out above, this cooling is the result of “…the extremely warm temperatures associated with the super El Nino in 2016…”.

Her other point about “…the slow but irregular creep of warming…” continuing is also bourne out by regression analysis of the full UAH data. Total warming from Dec 1978 up to and including that high point in Feb 2016 was +0.43C. Today, despite the slight cooling between Feb 2016 and the present, this now stands at +0.59C.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
April 1, 2023 8:23 pm

He is still living in 2016.”

I doubt Whitehouse has advanced out of his grade school dunce cap, that far predates 2016.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Steve Richards
March 28, 2023 8:23 am

I’d prefer fast creep- so far, this March has been unpleasant in Woke-achusetts- cold and damp, mostly- unfit for humans, much warmer and drier would be just fine

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
March 27, 2023 10:27 pm

Curry simply received the same treatment that oil executives get whenever they are ‘invited” to appear before a democrat chaired hearing. The proceedings have nothing to do with fact finding or coming to a better understanding. It’s a democrat orchestrated clown show attack that wins rave review in the liberal dominated media and smiles for their willfully uninformed low information voters. That despicable behavior has to be what We the People approve of, or “we” wouldn’t have a preference for a democrat dominated House and Senate for a significant percentage of the time. The bad news is we get the government we deserve.

Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
March 28, 2023 2:31 am

I’m in the UK so not sensible to comment on the hearings but fully recognise the direction of travel with the left sloping Senator – similar travesties abound in the UK HoC Select Committees ( as witnessed in December where Andrew Bridgen’s factually accurate testimony was “trashed” by the Chair – a fellow Tory and most worryingly, a GP ).
“The bad news is we get the government we deserve” – I consider “we” get the government “our” election systems dictate.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
March 28, 2023 4:40 am

No, WE don’t.

I haven’t voted for a Democrat since I reached voting age.

More Soylent Green!
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
March 28, 2023 6:30 am

Republicans seem clueless about changes to voting laws and have no idea how to stop the steal and ensure honest elections. You almost think they wanted Trump to lose.

March 27, 2023 11:45 pm

 “In any event, all this seems to have impressed the 80 or so clueless commenters on your youtube clip. But it won’t impress serious people.”

I wouldn’t bet on that, ever heard of “confirmation bias”, it’s all the rage at the moment.

March 28, 2023 12:28 am

Ms. Curry is a nice person but she is very unsophisticated on the subject of leftist politics. I normally do not enjoy reading any articles by Curry at her website. I find articles there by other authors to be much better. But this description of how she was treated in Washington was fascinating reading.

The sad fact is this article could have been imagined before going to Washington.

It should have been expected that a Climate Realist would be:
Character attacked
Have their motives challenged
Have their sources of information challenged
Quoted out of context to ridicule them
Have “their science” refuted by the Appeal to Government Scientists Logical Fallacy (the “Scientists say” argument)

It was obvious in advance that Democrats would character attack Curry rather than debating her science.

I wish she would learn that CAGW is unrelated to science
Meaning a science debate about CAGW is impossible.

CAGW is just a belief, expressed as a prediction
A belief that can not be falsified
Like a belief in God.

The CAGW predictions have been consistently wrong since the 1979 Charney Report

Ms. Curry believes it is proper to directly answer questions that are asked of her by hostile Democrats. In that regard, she was the fool.

If given an opportunity to talk, on the Congressional record, Curry DOES NOT HAVE to answer any question directly. She can say whatever she wants to say. And she should have done that.

Her response to every question ought to be a short speech ridiculing the history of 100% wrong climate predictions. And also mentioning the lack of global warming since 2015, despite the largest amount of manmade CO2 emissions during any eight year period in history.

Leftist politicians generally don’t ask questions or answer questions. They make short speeches disguised as questions, and make short speeches disguised as answers. Leftist spokespeople do the same thing. They also lie and deceive whenever doing that promotes their leftist narrative. Truth is not a leftist value.

Leftist politicians are hostile questioners — that was known in advance — they put conservatives on defense. Doing that is a Saul Alinsky strategy.

Conservatives do not have to answer hostile questions or charges from leftists. That is not how you deflect the Alinsky ridicule strategy. It seems that only one Republican knows how to do that: Donald Trump. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know when to stop, attacking both Republican rivals and Democrats, But no one is perfect.

One question I have:
Where were the Republicans during this inquisition?
They don’t seem to be helping to refute CAGW at all.
Honest Climate Science and Energy Blog

Last edited 2 months ago by Richard Greene
YallaYPoora Kid
Reply to  Richard Greene
March 28, 2023 4:04 pm

Excellent summary of such hearings.
Where were the Republicans indeed!

March 28, 2023 12:59 am

You should have just asked him about the albedo of his all-white beach club.

On your comments about risk one of the main factors in risk assessment is the risks of your mitigation actions. The world has 7 billion people that are fed, sheltered, warmed and transported by fossil fuels. What are the risks of completely replacing all that infrastructure, resilience, and knowledge in just 2 or 3 decades? Throwing away a century of knowledge and experience of nitrogen fertilizer agriculture. Throwing away a century of urban planning based around the automobile. Throwing away at least a half century of food storage and transport using plastics to contain and preserve food.

That’s what they are proposing with ending fossil fuels.

Reply to  kazinski
March 28, 2023 1:44 am

It is the fertilizer that keeps me awake. I can stay reasonably warm using a lot less energy than I like to use, and I would miss seeing far away friends and relatives. I can stay reasonably clean using a lot less hot water, and I am happy enough to work via Zoom.

But I can’t eat what can’t be grown.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  kazinski
March 28, 2023 6:09 am

“You should have just asked him about the albedo of his all-white beach club.”

Good point! Jusith should have brought that up! 🙂

Coeur de Lion
March 28, 2023 1:55 am

Regarding the dishonesties of the IPCC, Donna Laframboise’s two books are a solidly effective read. Her second deals with the corruption of the sexually compromised chairman Rajendra Pachauri and leaves us wondering why he was not fired earlier.

March 28, 2023 4:22 am

So, Democrats acting like the moronic morons they have always been. Why is anyone surprised?

Captain Climate
March 28, 2023 4:31 am

The nastier they get in hearings, the more certain you are that they know the climate catastrophe scam is unraveling.

March 28, 2023 6:09 am

Sen. Whitehouse is a great learning lesson into the historical case of Sen. Frank Church in his committee who worked tirelessly to get released the names of CIA agents leading to their torture and execution. Frank Church got caught with blood on his hands, but climate antics remain a safe place to distort reality. It just requires blaming others in the case of the Texas winter blackout.

March 28, 2023 6:25 am

I think it would have been far worse if Dr. Curry was a white male scientist. There are no protections or rails in that case in America.

March 28, 2023 7:51 am

It seems like Judith Curry missed a chance to ask Senator Whitehouse about how recent blizzards in the mountains near Los Angeles are related to global warming. If Senator Whitehouse wants to talk about GLOBAL warming, he needs to consider the climate of the entire world, not just Rhode Island, the smallest of our 50 states.

March 28, 2023 7:57 am

Hmm I just had an “interesting” experience at youtube, where I simply quoted the last paragraph of JC´s text above as a comment.
That comment was removed after about 10min. It seems that the hawks are circling around that youtube clip preventing any balanced information (unlike here, I tried really hard to refrain from expressing any personal opinion there)

CD in Wisconsin
March 28, 2023 9:23 am

“The UNFCCC has redefined the term “climate change” away from the traditional definition used in the geological, atmospheric and oceanic sciences, to make a distinction between climate change—attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition (mainly CO2), and climate variability—attributable to natural causes. This redefinition of “climate change” to refer only to human-caused changes to the atmospheric composition has effectively eliminated natural climate change from the public discussion—the common parlance refers to “climate change,” with no mention of natural climate variability. As a result, any change that is observed over the past century is now implicitly assumed to be caused by human emissions to the atmosphere. This assumption leads to connecting every unusual weather or climate event to human-caused climate change from fossil fuel emissions. This redefinition of “climate change” by the UNFCCC is a deception and misleading, which has arguably contributed to Trump calling climate change a hoax.”


This is an example of propagandizing, pure and simple. And it actually succeeds with people who have little or no idea that they are being programmed to be faithful yet ignorant soldiers in the war on the fossil fuels, our way of life and Western civilization as we know it.

This Orwellian redefinition of the phrase ‘climate change’, as part of some self-righteous and ‘noble cause’ campaign, is so intolerant of dissent and difference of opinion that it makes religious heretics and Orwellian thought criminals out of anyone who dares push back against it.

The level of arrogance and egotism that drives climate alarmism leaves its victims like Dr. Curry and anyone else who still cling for dear life to ethical, sound and supportable science these days living a life that is much more difficult than it should be. It is all too sad to see scientists like her being demonized for a religion whose end cannot come soon enough for me.

It would be a day to dance and celebrate in the streets when Sen. Whitehouse is run out of D.C. His asinine behavior should preclude him from representing and serving anyone.

Andy Pattullo
March 28, 2023 11:21 am

Sheldon Whitehouse will have his name prominently placed on the list of idiots trying to sabotage human society in the name of an invented climate religion. If he has any clue of what the scientific method is and how truth is honestly sought, he has shown no evidence of that knowledge. Either he is clueless, dishonest or a combination or both.

March 28, 2023 12:31 pm

Democrats are only interested in obtaining power to redistribute wealth so the whole world will live in utopia. It’s no different than wishing Tinkerbell will come back. Arguing with them is meaningless. They will never change their agenda no matter what is said.

March 28, 2023 1:36 pm

“In any event, it provides an interesting case study of why the U.S. cannot bridge the partisan divide and figure out how to deal sensibly with the climate change issue.”

With respect to Judith Curry and her testimony, I hold her in high regard, I don’t always agree with her but that is not a big deal.

I really struggle with the quote I pasted in this comment and other things people say like it. Bridge the partisan divide, reach across the isle, deal sensibly with issues and many more I won’t bore you with. A democrat’s idea of compromise is for you to agree with him and if you can’t agree fully then give into him a little so he can move forward. I say no, why should I agree to move in the wrong direction so those I disagree with can move forward. Republicans aren’t much different but are mere pikers compared to how the democrats operate.

So we can deal sensibly with issues. What on earth makes you think the democrats don’t think they are dealing sensibly with climate?

There is a place for compromise but not in every case. I know I look at things through a very simple lens and most times I think it is better to do that. Before I compromised an inch with the likes of Whitehouse we would have to agree on three questions. Number one is CO2 the control knob for earth’s climate? If you think it is show me. Number two are we in a climate crisis now? If you think we are show me. Number three are we going to reach a tipping point and experience ever increasing temperatures making life on earth near impossible? If you think we are then show me. If you can’t prove these three things I see no reason for action and I certainly see no reason to compromise with you.

Allan MacRae
March 28, 2023 5:22 pm

Thank you Judith Curry for your courage. You understand that many politicians, like Senator Whitehouse, are scientifically ignorant and corrupt – no rational personal should believe them.
We have two great global frauds to deal with – Climate and Covid. The costs to date are huge – trillions of squandered dollars and hundreds of millions of wasted lives. Both scams were concocted by the same scoundrels and adopted by the same imbeciles – wolves stampeding the sheep for political and financial gain.
I am publishing a Substack book on the Covid and Climate frauds – a work-in-progress:
We called the Climate and Green Energy scams in 2002. I called the Covid-19 Lockdowns and Vaccines scams in Feb2020 and published on 21Mar2020. All Correct!
The contents are at this time are:

  • Letters to governments and media informing them since 21Mar2020 about the Covid-19 Lockdown and Vaccine scams.
  • Papers published from Nov2002 to Present on the Climate and Green Energy scams.

The INDEX is here.
Figures and Videos to be filled in when I can. Many are available at     
Best regards, Allan MacRae in Calgary
The Climate and Covid scams were Crimes Against Humanity – wars against scientific reason and technical competence that exceed the 80 million souls killed on all sides in World War 2.
The death toll in the USA from the mismanagement of the Covid-19 illness and the toxic Covid-19 “vaccines” totaled 1.6 million to end 2022. The Covid-19 avoidable American death toll to date exceeds the total 1.1 million American deaths in all your wars, including the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WW1, WW2, Korea, and Vietnam.
Deaths attributed to the toxic Covid-19 “vaccines” in 2021&2022 totaled 98,000 Canadians to end 2022, increasing to 145,000 by end 2023. Justin, Jagmeet and their Liberal and NDP cohorts have killed more than twice as many Canadians as the 44,000 we lost in WW2. 

March 28, 2023 6:38 pm

At some point all she needs to say, politely, is, “Senator, with all due respect, neither you nor your staff knows any of this better than I do. I’m not here to answer to political hit pieces.”

Jeff Alberts
March 28, 2023 7:34 pm

and the slow but irregular creep of warming has continued.”

Where? In the “global average”? Meaningless.

Mark Luhman
March 28, 2023 11:02 pm

We are being ruled by educated idiots, need I say more?

Reply to  Mark Luhman
March 29, 2023 5:04 am

Educated well beyond their innate intelligence, in many cases.

April 1, 2023 8:02 pm

Don’t take it personally, Dr. Curry.

Many USA senators and congressmen are dumber than boxes of rocks and not likely to improve ever.

Your comments, summations, references and conclusions are the result of hard strenuous effort and intelligence.
As you probably figured out, Whitehouse and others of similar ilk avoid work and intelligence every chance they get.

If you submit your corrections, responses and references to Skeptical Senators, they can read your work into the Federal Record in spite of Whitehouse’s attempted malfeasance and misrepresentation.

April 7, 2023 2:03 pm

As for the IPCC being corrupt, do they still pay Michael Mann a salary after all the times his work has been debunked, or encourage universities to keep him employed? If so, they’re corrupt. They want more government power (which they imagine will become their own power) and buy “scientists” that support that desire, with no regard to the quality of the science.

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