Senator Franken Puts Deniers on Hot Seat with Cold Facts

June 26, 2017


Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has emerged as one of Congress’ most devastating questioners of the myriad climate science deniers who fill President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

And it’s largely because the comedian turned Senator combines two abilities rarely seen together — actual knowledge of climate science and genuine communications chops. Franken knows how to tell a good story, and as the best science communicators will tell you, the best messaging requires storytelling.

Just last week Franken dismantled Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in one hearing, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry in another. And by dismantled, I mean his doggedness drove Zinke to spout nonsense answers that a top climatologist called “stupid and ignorant,” while it drove Perry to simply lose his cool — a take-down that has since gone viral.

8 Responses to “Senator Franken Puts Deniers on Hot Seat with Cold Facts”

  1. Tom Bates Says:

    I have no idea what qualifications the Senator has for his comments nor how much he has actually researched on the subject. I do know he is a classic liberal in his political beliefs so he is very much in the current PC thought on climate.

    I did a lot of research on the subject. One of the research tools on CO2 and climate is a government model called MODTRAN (google it) which allows you to input CO2 ppm and a bunch of other factors to see what the warming effect is. When I did that I notice that a straight doubling of CO2 from today would take at least 133 years using the last two years increase and the increase in temperature would be a whole, 0.67F warmer than today. I am pretty sure we can live with that.

    • And since I have no idea what qualifications you have for your comment nor how much you have actually researched on the subject. Your comment is irrelevant.
      You’ll need a bit more detail than “a bunch of other factors.”
      Once your “thesis” passes peer review of the world’s scientific community your statement might be answered with something more than “so what”?

    • Greg Wellman Says:

      I know Bates is a troll, but for anyone who wonders what basis in reality his comment has … MODTRAN is used to calculate infrared transmission/absorption in the atmosphere at a moment in time. So if you’re using remote sensing to determine how hot something on the ground is, you might use MODTRAN to help you figure out what your sensor is telling you. So it uses a small chunk of the same physics that climate models do, but is otherwise irrelevant.

      BTW, one way to know Bates is spouting nonsense is to know that the most ridiculously low estimate for climate sensitivity is around 1C/doubling. 1C = 1.8F. In reality, credible estimates for equilibrium sensitivity start at 2C and many are higher.

    • Tommy Poo,

      When are you going to retract (and apologize for) the lies you told about NASA/GISS last year?

      For the benefit of new visitors here, here is a link to my debunking of Tommy Poo’s lies from over a year ago:

  2. why should we? 70000 Europeans died in the 2003 heat wave. how many people need to die from the heated climate for you to care?

  3. Tom, you may have missed my response when you last mentioned MODTRAN, so I’ve reposted it below.

    We can experiment with MODTRAN here:
    So lets start with a simple experiment: tropical atmosphere. We’ll add the standard Cirrus cloud model – of course there are lots of other kinds of clouds, but it’s a start.

    So then you double CO2, and then adjust the temperature to maintain outgoing IR – that means a temperature increase of about 1C.

    Now, that’s a bit low. We would expect to get the transient climate response (TCR), which according to climate models and other sources we would expect to be a bit higher – 1.8C is the most commonly quoted figure. So what’s missing? Well, we’ve already mentioned clouds, but there is something else obvious missing – water vapour.

    An increase of 1C at the surface should increase the water vapour by 7%. So we need to put 1.07 in the water vapour box.

    But that has blocked some more IR. So we need to increase the temperature again to correct for that, to about 1.3C. Which increases the water vapour further. Iterate and you’ll end up with a temperature increase of around 1.5C and an increase in water vapour of about 10%.

    So now we’re at about 80% of the IPCC number of 1.8C. What else is missing? Well we’ve only taken into account one fast feedback – water vapour. There are others, like snow cover and clouds. But for a very simple model, we haven’t done badly.

  4. Bob Trembley Says:

    Tom Bates has a ZERO post Facebook profile; yea, I’ll trust what he as to say… NOT!

  5. mboli Says:

    My guess is that a denier looks at the same video and sees Zinke asking ‘gotcha’ questions of Franken, which Franken seems not to know the answer to. Instead sees Franken fumbling around until he settles on his one question, which Zinke thinks is irrelevant anyway.
    I like Al Franken. His radio show with Katherine Lanpher (a bunch of years ago) was a hoot, some of his writings quite trenchant and quotable. But this clip does not to me illustrate master communication.

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