Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) held a hearing Dec. 8 to attempt to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that human activity significantly contributes to climate change. The Texas senator chastised “global warming alarmists” and the “climate industrial complex” for what he said was exaggerated “political theory” about the risks of climate change.
But perhaps the strangest exchange of the three-hour hearing came from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Mark Steyn, a Canadian political commenter without any scientific background. Markey was speaking around the 2:11 mark of the hearing when, in an unusual break of Senate decorum, Steyn began peppering the senator with questions and interrupting his responses, apparently in an attempt to question Markey’s credibility on the issue.
Markey: If you want to ignore that these changes are taking place and that they are having a dramatic impact, then you are in the right place.
Steyn: Do you know what the winters were like at Plymouth Rock? Do you know what the winters were like at Plymouth Rock, senator?
Markey: Well, here is the thing. We…
Steyn: You don’t. How long has your family been in Massachusetts?
Markey: We are new arrivals and I have to admit…
Steyn: You should have been in there in 1750.
Markey: The Irish weren’t arriving in 1750, so I apologize for being late to the country and I’ll have to chastise my grandparents for not leaving until the economic conditions in 1902 forced them here, but that notwithstanding, there is as much consensus that man is causing climate change as there is in Galileo’s original theory.
Steyn: What percentage of climate change is man-causing, senator? What percentage of climate change in anthropogenic?
Markey: Well, according to the scientists who are in Paris right now, which would fill pretty much the entire space of the building in which we’re in right now and the number of deniers would still be the ones who are at the table.
Steyn: Yeah, what’s the percentage senator?
The hearing then shifted focus back to other matters. You can watch the entire exchange around the 2:11:00 mark here.
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