‘Are you serious?’: John Kerry challenges NKY’s GOP Rep. Thomas Massie on climate change – Cincinnati.com
Rep. Thomas Massie, the Congressman who represents Northern Kentucky, found himself in a heated exchange with former Secretary of State John Kerry during a House Oversight meeting on climate change Tuesday.
Kerry was witness at the hearing, which was held to address the need for leadership to combat climate change.
Massie grilled Kerry for his “pseudoscience” college degree and his knowledge of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.
Here’s a few takeaways from the exchange:
‘Are you serious?’
Massie criticized Kerry for questioning President Trump’s convening of a panel of experts to determine whether climate change is a threat to national security.
“Instead of convening a kangaroo court, the president might want to talk with the adults he once trusted enough to fill his top national security positions,” Kerry said in his written testimony.
Arguing that Kerry seemed to be “questioning the credentials of the president’s advisers,” Massie interrogated the former secretary of state about his educational background. Kerry received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Yale University in 1966.
Massie: So, how do you get a Bachelor of Arts in a science?
Kerry: Well, it’s [a] liberal arts education and degree.
Massie: OK, so it’s not really science. So, I think it’s somewhat appropriate that somebody with a pseudoscience degree is here pushing pseudoscience in front of our committee today.
Kerry: Are you serious? I mean, this is really … happening here?
Massie later alluded tothe exchange on Twitter.
‘This is just not a serious conversation’
Massie asked Kerry to detail his knowledge of historic carbon dioxide concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Rising CO2 concentration is understood by researchers to correspond with a long-term increase in the average temperature of our planet’s climate system — a central aspect of global warming.
Massie: Are you aware that since mammals have walked the planet, the average [atmospheric carbon dioxide] has been over 1,000 parts per million?
Kerry: Yeah, but we weren’t walking the planet … We now know that definitively, at no point during at least the past 800,000 years, has atmospheric CO2 been as high as it is today.
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Massie: The reason you chose 800,000 years ago is because for 200 million years before that, it was greater than it is today.
Kerry: Yeah, but there weren’t human beings — I mean, it was a different world, folks. We didn’t have 7 billion people living here.
Massie: So, how’d it get to 2,000 parts per million if we humans weren’t here? … Did geology stop when we got on the planet?
Kerry: Mr. Chairman, this is just not a serious conversation.
‘You just played the 1 percent card’
Massie accused Kerry of ducking how to pay for proposed solutions to climate change. Kerry fired back, saying he offered several solutions in response.
Massie: You avoided my colleague’s question about how do you pay for it, but I want to ask, what is your solution to comply with the Paris Accord requirements?
Kerry: I did not avoid the question. I said there are many ways to pay for it.
Massie: He just asked for one.
Kerry: One would be to not give … a trillion dollars worth of tax benefits to the top 1 percent of Americans. I’m one of them. I didn’t deserve to get that tax cut — nobody did in this country at the expense of average folks who can’t make ends meet. So, that would be a fair way to start.
Massie: You don’t want to politicize this, but you just played the 1 percent card.
Kerry: No, I actually played a moral judgement about what is appropriate in building a civil society. That’s what I did.
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