Yesterday, the Subcommittees on the Environment and Oversight of the Science Committee held a hearing on the social cost of carbon, SCC, a measure of how much a ton of carbon burdens the economy through climate change impacts. The SCC is used to determine the regulatory measures of controlling carbon emissions. The hearing was like an alternative facts universe. Some things that the witnesses and Republican committee members said were startlingly false, such as that human-added CO2 was good for the planet and ecosystem, that the Clean Power Plan had the most onerous regulations of any regulatory rule in history, that the calculation of the SCC was non-transparent, and so on. The hearing had five witnesses, four Republicans and only one Democratic witness. In my questions, I made it clear that the US has had a leadership role in the effort to reduce carbon emissions, that the history of the SCC was started under President Reagan and continued to be developed under President George W. Bush, and not under President Obama, and I also asked for information on the scientific methods used in its calculation. When I finished my five minutes of questioning, the chairman asked his CATO witness to rebut the last statement of the Democratic witness. The CATO witness claimed that the market would fix problems with reduced regulation, at which point I jumped in to challenge him by asking if he thought that industry would clean itself up. The chairman then gaveled my time over.

The Science Committee hearings are like visits to the Twilight Zone, with Republican members and witnesses who are disconnected from the science and from obvious facts. How do you communicate or argue with people who completely ignore or refuse to accept the facts? I will continue to try, but will not allow nonsense and alternative facts to go unchallenged.