Did the US Supreme Court Judge Nominee Lie about Climate Change Under Oath?

The October 14, 2020 statements made by Judge Amy Barrett on climate change are the worst I have read for many years and the worst possible in 2020.

US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett gave climate-change-denying answers under oath, actually saying to Senator Harris, “I want to be very, very careful; I'm under oath.

Earlier in the day, in response to questioning from Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut who asked: Do you believe that human beings cause global warming?, Barrett answered, “I don’t think I am competent to opine on what causes global warming or not. I don’t think that my views on global warming or climate change are relevant to the job I would do as a judge, nor do I feel like I have views that are informed enough — and I haven’t studied scientific data — I’m not really in a position to offer any kind of informed opinion on what I think causes global warming.” [emphasis added]

Later in the day, asked during a line of questioning by Democratic Senator Kamala Harris whether she believes that climate change is happening, Judge Barrett answered that Harris was trying to elicit “an opinion from me that is on a very contentious matter of public debate, and I will not do that, I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial because that’s inconsistent with the judicial role….”

Was Judge Barrett lying?

For many years, every scientific organization in the world has acknowledged that climate change is real, dangerous and mainly due to industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

In 1992, the reality and seriousness of global climate change was recognized by the United Nations and all nations under the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was ratified by all nations in 1993. The Convention states: “Acknowledging that change in the Earth’s climate and its adverse effects are a common concern of humankind,” “concerned that human activities have been substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, that these increases enhance the natural greenhouse effect, and that this will result on average in an additional warming of the Earth’s surface.”

Recently the UN Secretary-General António Guterres has made very strong, definite statements about global climate change, which were widely reported. In May 2018, he stated that climate change is an “existential threat to most life on the planet, ​including and especially humankind.”

The acid test on the question of Judge Barrett lying under oath rests with the IPCC. The IPCC is comprised of world climate scientists and also policymakers who scrutinize the IPCC assessments line by line; the assessment is not published until all world governments, as well as all the scientists, agree on every line.

Along with the proof that human-caused climate change has not been contentious for a great number of years, here is what Judge Barrett said she is not aware of (which is therefore proof that she lied under oath when asked about climate change): 

  • The 1992 second IPCC assessment (SAR) concluded: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”
  • The 2001 third assessment (TAR) said, “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”
  • The 2007 fourth assessment (AR4) said, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level. Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years. The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture. […] There is very high confidence that the global average net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming…. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns.”
  • The most recent IPCC assessment is the 2014 fifth assessment (AR5). It said, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. […] Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system.”

Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes (see Figure SPM.6 and Table SPM.1). This evidence for human influence has grown since AR4. It is extremely likely (i.e., 95-100% certain) that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.

On Judge Barrett’s statement “I don’t think that my views on global warming or climate change are relevant to the job I would do as a judge,” she has to know this is not true. In 2015, 21 youth, supported by Our Children’s Trust, filed a constitutional climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, against the US government. Their complaint asserted that, through the government's affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources. The high profile case has passed several court arguments and currently is pending for the third time in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Our Children’s Trust has launched youth-led climate lawsuits and legal actions in all 50 states over the past decade.

Amy Barrett is a Roman Catholic. In 2015, Pope Francis issued a climate change encyclical Laudato si (Praise be to you), in which he said, “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods.” In the encyclical and again later, he agreed with Eastern Orthodox Catholic Patriarch Bartholomew who had previously declared that “for human beings … to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; — these are sins for to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God.”

More recently (October 3, 2020), in Fratelli tutti (All brothers), Pope Francis has said that climate change is the most serious issue facing humanity, with science telling us “that urgent action is needed … if we are to keep the hope of avoiding radical and catastrophic climate change. And for this we must act now. This is a scientific fact.” 

The evidence appears overwhelming that Judge Barrett lied several times under oath about climate change. These are most extreme lies. They support continued fossil fuel emissions and their continued increase, with total planetary catastrophe being the only outcome. Those in positions of influence who lie about the climate change facts are condemning billions of people and eventually all humanity to a miserable death. This is the crime of all time in terms of morality and religion since these lies have the most evil and egregious outcome possible.

 

Photo credit: Getty Images

(Special Op/ed Note: By law, the Job One for Humanity organization does not and cannot endorse or condemn candidates or political parties. It is allowed to provide commentary, analysis, or opinions on specific policies or positions that political candidates or parties are forwarding that do relate to or affect our mission. 

We provide all information on the basis that it is for you alone to decide upon its merit or usefulness. We provide this information also to encourage public discussion and dialog on the presented relevant policy issues. This article is written by Peter Carter, an independent climate researcher. This op/ed article represents the analysis, positions, and opinions of climate researcher Peter Carter as a private individual.) 

 

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  • André-Louis Hermans
    commented 2020-10-17 17:49:20 -0700
    Climat change is a natural phenomenon. As long as scientists don’t study the movement of the magnetic poles in three dimensions (not 2), they will never understand it.
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