In Austin: Climate Denier Assails Katharine Hayhoe
April 28, 2015
Having met and interviewed Dr. Katharine Hayhoe a number of times, I gotta say, if you don’t like Katharine Hayhoe, you don’t like people. She handles herself flawlessly here, at a special convening of the Austin, Texas, City Council, devoted to Resilience and Disaster planning.
Dr. Hayhoe gave a nice short synopsis of what we know about weather extreme trends, and possible impacts on the Texas area – and a science denying Council member took strong exception.
I may post Dr. Hayhoe’s presentation later in the week, – it is short and worthwhile. For today, I’ve posted her “Climate Change Elevator Pitch” below the fold.
Our climate is changing because of human activity. Most scientists, including Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist who studies climate change, agree with that statement, although some do not. Hayhoe, a professor and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, was one of several speakers at Monday’s City Council briefing on resilience.
After Hayhoe’s presentation on global warming as it affects Austin, District 6 Council Member Don Zimmerman took out his anger on the scientist over government involvement in trying to control climate change.
“The worst thing that can be done to humanity is to put government bureaucrats in charge of carbon dioxide emissions or whatever it would be,” Zimmerman said. “I’m really, really upset about this political move of saying climate change — now we have to have government in charge of climate. It angers me and I think it should.”
After the briefing was over, observers reported that Zimmerman berated Hayhoe about her views as she was leaving the Council chambers.
While acknowledging that Time magazine recognized Hayhoe as one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2014, Zimmerman let Hayhoe know that he strongly disagrees with the idea that humans are causing global warming.
Zimmerman said the sun is the greatest source of heat and that carbon dioxide does not cause global warming. “You don’t have to be as smart as a fifth-grader to know that the sun causes climate change — the sun,” he said. “People tell me carbon dioxide warms the earth. No, it doesn’t. The sun warms the earth.”
Hayhoe referred him to a website called skepticalscience.com, saying that it has answered every major question about climate science. She said one of the main reasons some object to the solutions is because they are big government solutions.
“So that’s one of the reasons that I think it is so important to give free market solutions (a chance),” Hayhoe said. “Because, as my husband says, a thermometer is not Democrat or Republican. It’s about looking at 26 1/2 thousand indicators of a warming planet, many of which you can see in your own backyard.”
After the meeting was over, two observers noted that Zimmerman continued his argument with Hayhoe, loudly criticizing her views on climate change until some staff members took her out of the chamber.