Cracker Congress Critter Claims Climate Conspiracy

November 23, 2015


Readers are familiar with Lamar Smith and his Witch Hunt against NOAA scientists as head of what tragically passes as the House “Science” Committee.

Now it’s moved up a notch.  This must have seemed like a good idea to somebody at some point.

Washington Post:

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) opened another front in his war with federal climate researchers on Wednesday, saying a groundbreaking global warming study was “rushed to publication” over the objections of numerous scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In a second letter in less than a week to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Smith urged her to pressure NOAA to comply with his subpoena for internal communications. Smith says whistleblowers have come forward with new information on the climate study’s path to publication in June.The study refuted claims that global warming had “paused” or slowed over the past decade, undercutting a popular argument used by those who refute the scientific consensus that man-made pollution is behind global warming.

The “whistle blower” claim is the new wrinkle here, although it’s not completely original. (see below)

The study in question here is the Karl et al study from June which showed that one of denialdom’s most closely held crocks, the “pause” in global temperatures, is a statistical artifact that disappears when improved temperature data are applied.  Mr Smith has taken offense at that result, and seeks to bully, surveil, and intimidate the scientists responsible, and anyone else who might consider committing science in the future.

The data, methodology, studies, everything that Mr Smith would need to analyze if he were actually interested in science, is of course, readily available and always has been.

This set up the ranking Democratic member of the Committee to pen one of the most jaw dropping roundhouse clock cleanings I’ve ever seen.

Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ranking Member, House Committee on Science, Space and Technology:

In my prior letter, I noted that in four separate written demands to NOAA to comply with your “investigation” you never actually identified what it is you were claiming to investigate. instead of responding to either me or NOAA with some legitimate rationale for your actions, you instead wrote a fifth demand letter to NOAA which continued your insistence that NOAA must comply with your demands because your “investigation” – still without every making any accusation of any waste, fraud, or abuse to be investigated.
Just last week, you also sent a similar cajoling letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. In six separate, and increasingly aggressive,letters, the only thing you accused NOAA of doing is engaging in climate science – i.e., doing their jobs.

Yesterday, you again wrote to Secretary Pritzker demanding the same email communications of NOAA scientists you have demanded on six previous occasions. However, unlike the six previous demand letters you wrote, your seventh letter actually contained an allegation against NOAA’s scientists. In this letter you claim to have whistelblowers who have provided information showing:

“[t]hat the Karl study was rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA scientists.”

I would like to point out use how curious it is that you are only now justifying your previous six demand letters and subpoena with an actual allegation of “wrongdoing” by the agency. To be frank, this appear to be an after-the-fact attempt to justify a rising expedition. Moreover, your “whistleblowers” don’t even appear to be challenging the findings of the study, but rather, that the study was “rushed”. This mild accusation would hardly seem to warrant the hyper-aggressive oversight and rhetoric you have leveled at NOAA.

Neither I nor my staff can evaluate the veracity of your whistleblower claims, because you have not shared then with the Minority. However, one sentence in your letter gave me pause immediately. You state:
“More troubling, it appears that NOAA employees raised concerns about he timing and readiness of the study’s release through emails, including several communications just before its publication in April, May, and June of 2015.”

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Karl study was actually submitted to the journal Science in December of 2014 – four months before your alleged whistleblower communications. Science accepted the study for publication in May of 2015.  Moreover, the Karl study relied, in part, upon the work of two previously published studies by Boyin Huang and Wei Liu. It was these studies which explained NOAA’s updated sea surface temperature records, not the Karl study.  These studies were submitted to the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate in December of 2013 – nearly one and a half years before your alleged whistelblowers raised their concerns.
Given these discrepancies, I hope you will take this opportunity to provide the Minority with the whistleblower information you possess, so we might better be able to evaluate the veracity of these claims. Until you provide the Minority with this information, I hope you will understand my skepticism regarding the new claims you have made in your seventh demand letter.


Dave Roberts in Vox:

Here’s a fun side note. In Smith’s letter to NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan, he demanded that she turn over her staff’s internal communications or face “civil and/or criminal enforcement mechanisms.”

Johnson notes:

I think it might be informative to take note of whom you are sullivanthreatening. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan is a PhD geologist, former naval reserve officer, former three-time NASA astronaut, former chief scientist of NOAA, and former member of the National Science Board. As an astronaut, Dr. Sullivan became the first American woman to ever “walk” in space.

This is who Smith says colluded with the White House to falsify scientific data.

There’s more, but you get the idea



Phil Plate in Slate:

I can’t stress enough just how distant from reality Smith is here. His view is literally that NOAA is purposely doctoring results to make it seem as if the planet is warming. After NOAA announced it wouldn’t kowtow to such nonsense, Smith’s office released this statement:

It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades. The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made. NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda. The agency has yet to identify any legal basis for withholding these documents. The Committee intends to use all tools at its disposal to undertake its Constitutionally-mandated oversight responsibilities.

Holy. Wow. For years I have been stressing that belief in anti-science has very real consequences, and now here we are. The chairman of the House Science Committee is attacking a science agency because of a conspiratorial belief that is utterly wrong.

His claim that the world isn’t warming is simply wrong. The so-called pause in warming has been shown not to exist, and it goes well beyond just NOAA data; multiple agencies around the world have data to show this (see, for example, this, and this, and this). We’ve known this for years now, and in fact not only is there no pause, but warming hasn’t even slowed.

So let’s review.
2014 was the hottest year in the instrumental record, and 2015 is going to blow it out of the water.

That, plus a record breaking El Nino event currently in progress are bringing an unprecedented series of climate related events to wide areas of the US.  2016 looks to be even hotter still.

It’s an election year in which the Democratic candidates have signaled they will be making climate change an issue – in no small part because unambiguous polling results show clearly that a majority of Americans are concerned about human caused climate change, and believe the government has a role, even a moral obligation – do deal with it.

Polls also show that the public trusts scientists, for instance, NOAA scientists, as the best resources on climate information, and generally regards congress as less trustworthy than the average cockroach.

So, somebody’s idea to apply high profile bullying and pressure tactics to government scientists in the hope they can get a repeat of the infamous “climate gate” snafu of 2009, that helped sink climate negotiations in Copenhagen, is looking less and less brilliant.

And those whistleblowers? It’s been tried before with dubious results.


20 Responses to “Cracker Congress Critter Claims Climate Conspiracy”

  1. It’s moving up a notch globally now. More than 50% of the population in some countries now realizes it’s all a hoax.

    The Earth’s surface would be VERY much colder if it were just direct solar radiation supporting that surface temperature. Variable solar flux with a mean of only 168W/m^2 would not support a temperature as high as -40C: it would probably only support a temperature colder than -80C. The Sun’s direct radiation comes nowhere near supporting the estimated mean surface temperature of Earth, let alone Venus. Nor does a mean of 390W/m^2 support a temperature anywhere near 288K, and it’s incorrect anyway to include back radiation in Stefan-Boltzmann calculations.

    Why is the temperature of the surface of our oceans warmer than the thermocline, say 50 meters below and also warmer than the air 50 meters above? That thin surface layer absorbs very little solar radiation – perhaps half of the 168W/m^2 in the first meter or so. An iceberg would supply more.

    Until you understand precisely how the Venus surface acquires new thermal energy and actually warms from 732K to 737K during 4 months on the sunlit side, you understand nothing of relevance. Take the short cut and learn from the thousands of hours I have put into understanding what really happens. It’s all explained here and supported with empirical evidence and experiments with centrifugal force.

    • petermogensen Says:

      I think I’ll wait for your Nature article on the subject – thanks.

    • Does anyone else understand the post from “new climatechangetheory”? It sounds like he strung a number of statements together almost at random. So what’s the “hoax”? Climate change or climate denial? Is it satire?

      • It seems as if new climatechangetheory feels that climate and atmospheric scientists have gotten the reactivity of gases all wrong, and that water vapor, methane, and carbon dioxide are all coolants.

        I can’t quite decide if he’s claiming that warming is not happening, or if it’s just his theory that there are other causes. He seems to misinterpret much of the data, throws out things that don’t fit, and doesn’t seem to have a grasp of what factors are included in the models to begin with.

        An example might be that he appears to confuse radiative forcing with basic thermodynamic behaviour. The claim is that the climate science community expects the atmosphere to be transparent to solar radiation unless the greenhouse gases were present.

        Sorta reminds me of Dr. Gray at CSU, who seems to assume that anyone who disagrees with him must be wrong.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        There’s a very small chance that he may be Poe-ing us and it may be satire, but I don’t think so—I’ve tracked him down on a number of sites, and I think he’s just another delusional type like Oliver Manuel. You waste your time if you try to “understand” his nonsensical “science”. See my 9:16 comment.

        (PS Now reading The Ghost Map—well written, and complements Dirty Old London)

        • Bob Doublin Says:

          Hahaha. Now that they’ve pretty much exhausted all they can milk from The Laws of Thermodynamics, I guess they’ve switched to “Centrifugal Force” (oohaaheeh!!)

          • neilrieck Says:

            I thought all reputable scientists refused to use the phrase “Centrifugal Force”. I still remember my secondary school physics instructor (1968) shouting “Centripetal, Centripetal, Centripetal”. IMHO, people who make this kind of mistake also confuse “Theory” with “Hypothesis”. All professions do this by the way. During theological instruction (1965) our instructor told the class that he can tell if a person has had formal theological training by asking them what they meant when they said “they were agnostic” (most people give the colloquial definition)

      • neilrieck Says:

        Read the feedback comments for his book at Amazon dot com. BTW: Not all comments are bad; the first one I noticed was written by the author himself.

    • neilrieck Says:

      It seems to me that we only need to compare Earth to the Moon to refute some of your solar thermal claims. Since the two bodies are almost the same distance from the sun, the primary differences are “size” and “surface constitution”. In the case of the moon, there is no atmosphere or ocean and so we observe wild swings between lunar day and lunar night. In the case of the Earth, the atmosphere and oceans buffer the swings which reduce temperature peaks and troughs. Comment: technical people with an electronics background might wish to use use “capacitors in a power supply” as a metaphor..

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Excellent post! Great review of how LAME-brained Lamar is and Johnson’s letter IS jaw-dropping good. Lamer won’t even notice, unfortunately, because he is both too stupid and on a mission to justify the campaign $$$ he gets from the fossil fuel interests (he and his OK neighbor Strom Inhofe).

    Looking forward to watching him go down in flames over this stupid stupid move. Did the Repugnants learn nothing from Climategate and KookyNelly’s pursuit of Mann? They may stir up their ignorant “base” with this, but they will alienate more and more of the rest of the voters—-the ones with at least partially functioning brains.

    PS to Peter. This is a good post that will likely elicit some good commentary. EXCEPT that it is already being crapped up by newclimatechangetheory babbling his lunatic science. He is really Doug Cotton, a rather infamous troll that has been banned from a number of climate change sites—see my comments on the “Weekend Wonk—Steven Sherwood” thread. He reminds me of Oliver Manuel, that persistent “former NASA scientist” whackjob who also spouts endlessly repetitive BS on many sites and refuses to go away until banned. Denier whores like Russell Cook at least serve as bad examples and can be tolerated for that reason—-Doug Cotton aka newclimatechangenonsense simply wastes our time and lowers the quality of the Crock experience. PLEASE get rid of him—his “science” brings nothing to the discussion.

    • addledlady Says:

      Oh dear. I thought good old Dougie had given up and gone away.

      Just another Energizer Bunny making more racket – coming back anywhere and everywhere even though He’s Been Told his daft mathturbations and freak physics are not welcome.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        LOL The “Energizer Bunny making more racket” description is perfect.

        I tracked down Dougie’s history on a number of sites, and I’m afraid he will keep “coming back” somewhere until they lock him in a padded room and take away his computer. Can’t happen soon enough.

  3. […] Elsewhere on this page you can read about Congressman Lamar Smith’s continuing witch hunt against professional scientists. […]

  4. ubrew12 Says:

    “Smith’s office released this statement: ‘It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades.’ ”

    Only a look at ocean heat content can make that determination. The atmosphere is 1% of the global total heat capacitance, and cannot therefore matter to any statement like “no warming for the past two decades”. That nobody seems to understand this is a testament to how brilliantly effective the denial machine has been… for the past two decades. But, really, any high school physics student can, with a bit of thought, work that one out.

  5. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Awesome letter – a mic drop from orbit!

    Does Lamar (King Cnut) Smith realise how mindnumbingly stupid and futile it is to ignore the laws of nature, and embarking on such a witch hunt will end badly for him?

  6. […] that don’t confirm his favorite Fox News talking points on climate change.  More here, here, and […]

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