A House Oversight hearing on the subject of climate change turned into a heated sparring match between conservative Republican Rep. Thomas Massie (Ky.) and former Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday.
During a contentious moment in Massie's line of questioning, the Kentucky congressman asked the former Obama cabinet secretary about the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
During the exchange, Massie pointed out that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are currently much lower than the average amount that has been present since mammals have existed on planet earth.
"Yeah, but we weren't walking the planet," Kerry stammered before rebutting that atmospheric CO2 levels are the highest they've been in "the past 800,000 years."
Massie countered by asking why those levels were higher before that particular mark. After some back and forth, Kerry tried to dismissed Massie's carbon questions by saying it was "just not a serious conversation."
"Your testimony is not serious," Massie fired back to applause from the hearing chamber. "When you can't answer the question, that's the best answer you got."
At one point, Massie also questioned Kerry's qualifications as an expert witness on climate science, nothing that he holds a political science degree, rather than one in the hard sciences.
"So I think it is somewhat appropriate that someone with a pseudo science degree is here pushing pseudo science to this committee," Massie said of Kerry's credentials.
Massie explained that his questioning stemmed from Kerry's assertion in his prepared statement that the White House was "convening a kangaroo court" on the matter.
An engineer by trade and training before he ran for Congress, Massie also possesses bachelor's and master's degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Massie is also probably one of the greenest members of Congress in how he lives his everyday life. His entire Kentucky farm is solar-powered and operated with several other environmentally-sustainable processes.
"There is a not climate denier in this room," Massie began his line of questioning. "The climate was different yesterday, it was different 10,000 years ago and it's going to be different 10,000 years from now, whether there's a human on this planet or a domesticated animal."
However, he added that he believes that there are "some photosynthesis deniers" and "natural climate deniers" who try to conflate man-made effects on the environment with climate change from natural causes.
Full video of the hearing can be found here:
Full Committee: The Need for Leadership to Combat Climate Change and Protect National Security www.youtube.com