An investigation by Democratic lawmakers into the sources of funding for scientists who challenge details of the greater global warming narrative has already forced one scientist to call it quits.
University of Colorado climate scientist Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. has been targeted by Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking liberal on the House Natural Resources Committee, for his research challenging the claim that global warming is making weather more extreme.
This investigation, and other attacks, have forced Pielke to stop researching climate issues. He said the “incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues.”
“I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject,” Pielke wrote on his blog.
Pielke is one of seven academics under Grijalva’s investigation for allegedly taking money from the fossil fuels industry in exchange for research. Pielke says he’s never been funded by fossil fuels interests — a fact to which Grijalva already knows since Pielke disclosed as much when he testified before Congress.
Grijalva’s investigation into climate scientists who scrutinize conclusions about man-made global warming comes after the New York Times published a piece critical of Harvard-Smithsonian scientist Wei-hock Soon for not disclosing his funding from energy companies in his research.
“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 seven universities housing supposedly skeptical scientists.
So what’s Pielke’s connection to all of this? Grijalva’s staff wrote that Pielke “has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on climate change and its economic impacts.” One “2013 Senate testimony featured the claim, often repeated, that it is ‘incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.’”
Why is Pielke a target? Because White House science czar John Holdren has “highlighted what he believes were serious misstatements by Prof. Pielke,” according to Grijalva’s letter to the University of Colorado.
“Congressman Grijalva doesn’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none,” Pielke wrote. “He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony – which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren’s incorrect views).”
Holdren said Pielke’s views were “outside the mainstream.” Pielke presented evidence to the Senate that global warming is not causing weather, like hurricanes and floods, to become more frequent or extreme. Holdren, disagreed, and singled out Pielke in a six page statement saying that global warming was making the weather worse.
The main problem with Holdren’s argument is that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which Holdren himself often defers to — has said the evidence favors Pielke’s argument that weather has not gotten more extreme.
The IPCC says that “[l]ong-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded.”
Pielke’s views have gotten him labelled as a “climate denier” by Grijalva and some in the media. But Pielke does not deny that mankind is causing the world to warm. In fact, Pielke wrote a book calling for a carbon tax and has come out in support of the EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations.
“All of this is public record, so the smears against me must be an intentional effort to delegitimize my academic research,” Pielke wrote.
“When ‘witch hunts’ are deemed legitimate in the context of popular causes, we will have fully turned science into just another arena for the exercise of power politics,” Pielke wrote. “The result is a big loss for both science and politics.”
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