Concerned scientists tell Lamar Smith – HELL NO – to his overreaching McCarthyistic info request #science #intimidation @UCSUSA @BadAstronomer

Phil Plait has written a scathing take down in Slate of anti-science Representative Lamar Smith and his recent request for oversight over the Union of Concerned Scientists (ironically Smith is the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology). See the many, many, many previous CauseScience posts about Rep. Lamar Smith intimidating scientists and anti-science credentials.

Plait does a great job summarizing Smith’s history against climate change, as well as the recent controversy involving the  Union of Concerned Scientists – a quick and informative read:

To the surprise of no one, Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is continuing his unfounded attack on science, ratcheting it up even higher than before. This time, he’s trying to tie up the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The good news? They’re having none of it.

 

Smith’s been ramping up a new(ish) tactic, trying to flush out what he thinks is a cabal of scientists fighting the fossil fuel industry. On May 18, 2016, he sent a letter to the UCS, an obvious attempt to create a chilling effect on their work to help scientists maintain the freedom they need to do their research.

See the ridiculous letter from Smith to UCS here. The letter and intent behind it are far overreaching Smith’s jurisdiction – as pointed out by Plait. The head of UCS responded by saying HELL NO, more or less. Below is the response… in fewer words, UCS will not be intimidated by Smith. AND UCS will not allow Smith to set a precedent of overreaching his jurisdiction when it comes to harassing scientists! Way to go UCS! Can’t wait to see the guaranteed McCarthyistic response from Smith and his Committee!

Several members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee have sent letters to 17 state attorneys general, the Union of Concerned Scientists and other groups, requesting that they turn over documents and communications among the groups related to investigations into ExxonMobil. Attorneys general from California, Massachusetts, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are investigating whether ExxonMobil lied to its shareholders and the public about the threat of climate change.

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“The premise of Chairman Smith’s letter is a farce. The attorneys general are not investigating ExxonMobil’s scientific research, but rather whether the company misled shareholders and the public about the dangers of climate change in order to continue profiting from a lucrative product. Documents uncovered by UCS and others reveal that scientists with Exxon and other companies knew about the causes and consequences of climate change by the 1970s, but company leaders chose to deny, disparage and downplay this evidence to avoid sensible regulation.

“We are unapologetic about our efforts to expose this deception, and we will not be intimidated by this tactic. Record temperatures, rising seas and unprecedented flooding affects people around the globe and they rightly expect carbon producers to be held accountable for their deliberate strategy to deceive the public, shareholders and policy makers.

“It’s ironic that Representative Smith sees our work as an attempt to stifle scientific discourse, when he has spent the last 10 months harassing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists whose research he doesn’t like. This abuse of power has been repeatedly and strongly rebuked by the scientific community.

“In keeping with Mr. Smith’s calls for transparency, the public should demand that oil companies fully disclose what their scientists knew about climate change and when. And more importantly, the public deserves to know which industry executives made decisions to mislead shareholders, policy makers and investors about the harm of their products.”

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@LamarSmithTX21 wrong on climate change… AGAIN. #tired @HouseScience @factcheckdotorg

scichecksquare_4-e1430162915812Representative Lamar Smith heads the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology –  and is essentially as anti-science as you can get when it comes to climate change (see our many posts about Smith here). This week FactCheck.org gives Lamar Smith the SCICHECK – and no one should be surprised by the results.

Rep. Lamar Smith at a recent hearing claimed a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change “confirms the halt in global warming.” It doesn’t. In fact, the authors of the paper write, “We do not believe that warming has ceased.”

At the March 16 House hearing, Smith also continued to criticize the Science paper. He said the paper was “prematurely published,” but the editor-in-chief of Science told us Smith’s claim is “baseless and without merit.” Smith also said that the NOAA researchers used “controversial methods” in their study, but the authors of the Nature paper cited by Smith said this wasn’t the case. In fact, they cite the Science paper as having “high scientific value.”

Overall, each study asked different scientific questions, the answers to which can both remain valid and correct, according to the Nature authors themselves.

The SCICHECK also goes on to remind us of the many other times Lamar Smith was way off base when it came to climate science… a trend even an untrained scientist like Smith should be able to recognize.

This is not the first time Smith, a Republican from Texas, has made false statements about climate science and the so-called “Karl study,” named after Thomas R. Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and the Science paper’s lead author.

As we’ve written before, Smith claimed in October 2015 that “climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades” and that NOAA scientists “altered the data” to get the results they presented in the Science study.

Check the whole article for the latest SCICHECK of Lamar Smith!!!

House Science Committee and Chair Lamar Smith should focus on science, not politics #climate @NOAA

lamarChairman of House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Lamar Smith thinks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) should focus on studying weather patterns rather than climate. Lamar Smith stated this, and a lot of misinformation, at a budget hearing for NOAA this week. Clearly Lamar Smith has failed Earth Science 101. While climate and weather are not the same thing, climate change can heavily influence weather patterns, and has been linked more and more strongly to EXTREME weather events.

“Instead of hyping a climate change agenda, NOAA should focus its efforts on producing sound science and improving methods of data collection,” said Smith. “NOAA should prioritize areas of research that significantly impact Americans today, such as ways to improve weather forecasting. Unfortunately, climate alarmism often takes priority at NOAA.”

Kathryn Sullivan, head of NOAA responded to Smith:

“NOAA forecasts help communities prepare and respond to weather events, including the severe storms that swept through Texas last year, tornado events across the mid-west and Florida, and the recent winter storm that struck the Northeast,” writes Dr. Sullivan in her statement. “But the greater demand for our services goes beyond just extreme weather.”

But perhaps the best response came from Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson:

“It is clear to me that this investigation is unfounded, and it is being driven by ideology and other agendas,” says Johnson. “The majority has asserted, without offering any credible evidence, that NOAA and the climate science community at large are part of some grand conspiracy to falsify data in support of the significant role humans play in climate change. However, the overwhelming body of scientific evidence across many different fields has shown that this is not the case.”

In our opinion, Lamar Smith and the House Science Committee are an embarrassment to the American people, and the amazing science that is done here. It is very sad that NOAA and NOAA scientists are constantly being harassed by this political entity. (Check out @HouseAntiScienc on twitter)

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Lamar Smith and @HouseScience are bullying @NOAA climate scientists -#ISupportNOAA #SciCheck @factcheckdotorg

[tweet https://twitter.com/GretchenTG/status/665265166334885888]

Representative Lamar Smith, the Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, has been the subject of a number of CauseScience posts. The House Committee continues spreading misinformation and seemingly abusing its power, now to bully NOAA climate scientists – Scicheck has summarized the anti-science misinformation and bullying on factcheck.org (which they have also done in the past).

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Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, has made several inaccurate or misleading claims about climate science in an ongoing battle with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Smith, who has long rejected mainstream climate science, is using the committee’s subpoena power in an attempt to obtain internal communications at NOAA regarding a June study published in the journal Science. In his statements on this issue, Smith has claimed that “climate data has clearly showed [sic] no warming for the past two decades,” and that NOAA has “altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda.”

In fact, there has been substantial warming over the past two decades, and NOAA’s adjustments to its data are well-studied, publicly available, peer-reviewed methods for obtaining the best possible temperature readings.

I’m sure that Rep. Lamar Smith and the House Committee are more qualified to judge a paper in SCIENCE than the peer-reviewers who are also climate scientists….. NOT! For a scary look at the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, check out their twitter feed. Wow… just wow.

Join scientists and others in supporting NOAA climate scientists by tweeting #ISupportNOAA – @HouseScience!

Representative Lamar Smith gets SCICHECKED on climate change – @factcheckdotorg #science

SciCheck (part of FactCheck.org) has fact-checked a recent Wall Street Journal editorial by Representative Lamar Smith, one of CauseScience’s favorite anti-science congress members.

The short version of highlights below – Read the SciCheck article here for a breakdown and the scientific evidence debunking Smith’s claims.

  • Smith wrote that a connection between worsening storms and climate change has been “widely debunked,” and that the United Nations doesn’t believe that warming is related to “more severe weather disasters.” Both claims are incorrect. There is some evidence linking climate change to worsening hurricanes, droughts and other disasters.
  • He mentioned an oft-repeated claim that there has been a “lack of global warming over the past 15 years.” Though the rate of warming has slowed, the world does indeed continue to warm, and cherry-picked data underlie the claims that warming has stopped.
  • Smith quoted an InterAcademy Council report as saying the U.N.’s climate reports had “significant shortcomings in each major step” of the U.N.’s assessment process. That’s misleading. The report found that though there is certainly room for improvement, the U.N.’s process has been “successful overall.”

Lamar Smith’s lame attempt to justify his controversial NSF investigation – NATURE. #science

Representative Lamar Smith has been waging a controversial investigation into science that is funded by the NSF and the science review process at NSF. This week, Smith fires back at a recent article in Nature about his investigation.

As chairman of the US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, I do not believe that you do justice to the committee’s efforts to better understand how the US National Science Foundation (NSF) spends US$7 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money (Nature 5191381392015).

The NSF is not “caught between the scientists it serves and the lawmakers it answers to”. The money is not the NSF’s or the scientists’: it is the people’s. Congress has a responsibility to ensure that the money is spent wisely and in the national interest.

Smith’s weak defense of his witch hunt highlights that taxpayers can’t trust politicians to judge what qualifies as wise spending when it comes to science. And I certainly doubt their ability to judge what science is in the national interest. At a time when many politicians prove their complete lack of understanding of science, or openly ignore, deny, or refute science, how can anyone trust them to judge science in an unbiased, or even semi-educated way????

GOP Rep. Lamar Smith is beginning a McCarthy-esque witch hunt of NSF funded #science

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Ok, so the title is a bit over the top, but Republican Lamar Smith is certainly eroding the peer-review process at the National Science Foundation (NSF), which serves as the model for almost all science review. Tim McDonnell at Slate summarizes how Smith, the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, is investigating the NSF review and grant process (the Slate story also links to a great article in Science about the same topic). It is a bit disgusting that Lamar Smith and his investigative team, think they are better judges of what science is worthy for NSF funding than the expert scientists who initially reviewed the grant applications. This is highlighted in the amazing written correspondence between Smith and NSF Director France Córdova that is linked in the Slate article (definitely worth a read). Or as McDonnell writes:

The letters over the past few months between Smith and NSF Director France Córdova, an astrophysicist and former president of Purdue University, are a great new entry in the annals of government scientists explaining Science 101 to Republican congressmen.

This is a horrifying turn of events for government funded science. And McDonnell hits the nail on the head with his conclusion.

In other words, basic science shouldn’t be judged by how closely it hews to a predetermined, profitable advance. The Large Hadron Collider probably isn’t ever going to do much for the U.S. economy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not in the “national interest” for us to understand the basic physics of the universe. Sometimes, even research on the mechanics of corkscrew-shaped duck penises can be a worthy investment of taxpayer dollars.