Watch: Congressman Makes “Completely Wrong” Claim About Temperature


At a congressional hearing Wednesday on the Obama administration’s climate-change policy, most Republicans steered clear of global warming denial. But not David McKinley. The West Virginia Republican insisted that “over the last 40 years,” there has been “almost no increase in temperature, very slight.”

Scientists disagree. Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, called McKinley’s claim “completely wrong.” Michael Mann, the Meteorology Director at Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, called it a “flat-out falsehood.” Mann explained that “global mean temperatures have warmed at an average rate of roughly 2 [degrees Fahrenheit] per century over that time frame.”

Indeed, this NASA chart of annual global temperatures shows dramatic warming over the last 40 years:

McKinley’s office didn’t respond to multiple requests for the source of his temperature claims.

During the hearing, McKinley also argued that Arctic sea ice has “actually increased by 60 percent.” That’s a reference to the fact that less ice has disappeared this summer than during the record-setting 2012 melt. Skeptics have cited this in suggesting that the dangers of climate change are overstated, but the fact is that the current Arctic sea ice extent is well below the 30-year average.

Moments after McKinley spoke, Democrat Henry Waxman called McKinley’s statements “incredibly inaccurate.”

“I think this illustrates why we need a committee where we bring in the scientists,” said Waxman. He added, “We need scientists to come in here and talk about science.”

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate