Professional science organizations’ calling on Republican lawmakers to stop questioning climate science is a “a blatant misuse of scientific authority,” according to a prominent climate scientist.
“This statement is a blatant misuse of scientific authority to advocate for specific socioeconomic policies,” Judith Curry, a Georgia Tech climate scientist, wrote of a letter sent by dozens of scientific groups to Congress last week.
Science groups, led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), sent a letter to Congress reminding lawmakers of the “the consensus scientific view of climate change.”
“This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science,” the AAAS letter reads. “There is strong evidence that ongoing climate change is having broad negative impacts on society, including the global economy, natural resources, and human health.”
But Curry, a noted skeptic of many of the claims of global warming alarmists, argued science groups shouldn’t be using science to press political goals. Indeed, AAAS is headed by Rush Holt, a former Democratic lawmaker.
“National security and economics (specifically called out in the letter) is well outside the wheelhouse of all of these organizations,” Curry wrote. “In fact, climate science is well outside the wheelhouse of most of these organizations (what the heck is with the statisticians and mathematicians in signing this?)”
“The rest are professional societies who are not involved with the physics of climate but explicitly profit from the alarm,” Curry said.
Professional science groups have been increasingly releasing statements on global warming science as the public debate heats up, but what’s odd about the current letter to Congress is the amount of non-climate related groups pushing lawmakers to stop questioning science.
For example, the American Public Health Association, the American Statistical Association and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics signed the letter, which Curry criticized.
One notable climate science group, the American Physical Society, did not sign the letter. APS told The Washington Post why it didn’t sign on:
“The American Physical Society did not sign the  letter because it was presented as a fait accompli, and there are significant differences between the letter and the APS Statement on Earth’s Changing Climate,” the group told The Post. “The APS statement went through a two-year vetting process involving multiple committees, the society’s 53,000-plus membership and the board of directors.”
This is not the first time AAAS has sent a letter to Congress. The group sent a similar letter in 2009, while lawmakers were debating a national cap-and-trade program. AAAS also sent a letter to House lawmakers last year condemning their investigation into a government scientist.
It turned out that letter was drafted by, at least in part, an environmental activist with the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“Well, I am somewhat reassured that this is not the population of scientists speaking, but rather the leadership of the professional societies speaking,” Curry wrote.
“It seems that the primary motivation of this is for the leaders of these professional societies to be called to the big table to engage in the Congressional policy deliberations about climate change,” she wrote. “The AAAS and the affiliated professional societies blew it with that letter. They claim the science is settled; in that case, they are no longer needed at the table.”
“Instead, by their dogmatic statements about climate change and their policy advocacy, they have become just another group of lobbyists, having ceded the privilege traditionally afforded to dispassionate scientific reasoning to political activists in the scientific professional societies,” she added. “With a major side effect of damaging the process and institutions of science, along with the public trust in science.”
“The AAAS et al. have shot themselves in the foot with this one,” she wrote.
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