Republican sceptics call climate change hearing that massively backfires as expert witness calls for carbon tax

It was compared to holding a hearing about whether “the Earth orbits the Sun”.

But the attempt by the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives’ Science Committee to challenge the science behind climate change appears to have, somewhat, backfired.

At the outset, Lamar Smith, who chairs the committee, made his views clear: the “alarmist theories” of climatologists had “no hard proof”, he claimed. 

And anyone who even tried to predict what would happen to the Earth’s climate by 2100 was “not credible”.

One commentator suggested the “insane” hearing was a form of gaslighting, with the “cavalcade of falsehoods” designed to make people question their mental health.

Just one renowned climate scientist, Professor Michael Mann, appeared at the hearing, flanked by three academics described as being “very much in the minority” on the issue.

But one of them, Dr Roger Pielke, a climate science policy writer at Colorado University, clearly disappointed some committee members when he said climate science had consistently shown there was a “fundamental risk” since the 1980s.

He even advocated imposing a carbon tax on petrol to “raise billions” for climate-related projects.

That suggestion prompted a telling response from one Republican committee member, Randy Weber, who described it as “utter blasphemy”.

Professor Mann, whose work on the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph demonstrated the world has been getting unnaturally warm, told the hearing: “We find ourselves at this hearing today, with three individuals who represent that tiny minority that reject this consensus or downplay its significance, and only one – myself – who is in the mainstream.”

As someone who has received hate mail and death threats over his research, he spoke with passion about the anti-science campaign against climatologists in the US.

“The attacks against scientists by individuals and groups, many of which allied with fossil fuel…

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