Democratic activists and lawmakers have launched a massive campaign to discredit academics and politicians who are skeptical of man-made global warming.
On the heels of a New York Times report critical of Harvard-Smithsonian climate scientist Wei-Hock Soon for getting funding from utilities and energy companies, Democratic lawmakers were quick to launch a campaign to uncover which fossil fuel companies were funding climate science.
First, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey called on coal and oil companies to disclose how much they had spent funding climate science. Markey promised to send letters demanding information from companies, trade associations and other groups to find out if they are trying to fund science critical of man-made global warming.
“The American public deserve [sic] an honest debate that isn’t polluted by the best junk science fossil fuel interests can buy,” Markey said in a statement. “That’s why I will be launching this investigation to see how widespread this denial-for-hire scheme stretches within the anti-climate action cabal.”
Now, Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee on Natural Resources, is demanding that seven universities reveal the funding sources of affiliated scientists who are skeptical of man-made global warming.
“Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air-quality standards are funding environmental research that influences state and federal regulation and shapes public understanding of climate scientists,” Grijalva wrote to the presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Pepperdine University, Arizona State University, the University of Alabama, University of Colorado and University of Delaware.
Grijalva’s letter targets universities where noted skeptical scientists work, including MIT’s Dr. Richard Lindzen, Georgia Tech’s Dr. Judith Curry, Colorado’s Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. and the University of Alabama’s John Christy and Roy Spencer. These scientists have published research in peer-reviewed journals.
Of note, Pielke has presented research showing that global warming is not making weather more extreme. Pielke has written studies on the subject and even testified before Congress with his findings. It should be noted that Pielke does believe that mankind is driving global warming, but simply challenges claims that it’s also making the weather worse.
“It is misleading and just plain incorrect to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally,” Pielke told Congress in 2013. “It is further incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.”
Christy and Spencer, on the other hand, operate the University of Alabama, Huntsville satellite temperature dataset. UAH satellite data has shown no significant global warming trend in more than 15 years — the Remote Sensing Systems satellite dataset shows no warming for more than 18 years.
“My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships,” Grijalva wrote in his letters, which ask for financial disclosures and information on research grants.
Democratic lawmakers’ efforts are being bolstered by the former Obama campaign group, Organizing for Action, which is now on the offensive against lawmakers skeptical of global warming.
“It’s tough out there for climate change deniers,” reads an OFA email sent out on Friday encouraging followers to join in on “calling out climate change deniers.”
“One by one, literally every argument and excuse they’ve been using for years is being proven false. They’re still grasping at myths and conspiracy theories, but deniers are on the run,” the OFA email adds.
OFA also has a website that lists dozens of federal Republican lawmakers and governors it has labelled as “climate deniers.” OFA says that “too many of our elected officials deny the science of climate change,” adding that “with their polluter allies, they are blocking progress in the fight against climate change.”
Democrats and activists have ramped up attacks on Republicans skeptical of global warming in recent months as the EPA prepares to finalize regulations aimed at curbing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
Republicans and about a dozen states have been highly critical of the rules, saying they will harm the reliability of the electrical grid and cause energy costs to skyrocket.
The EPA is expected to finalize carbon dioxide rules for power plants this summer, and the agency will soon be rolling out a regulatory proposal to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas wells.
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