“Science” Committee Goes Full Climate Denial/White Supremacist – Tweeting Breitbart

December 2, 2016

Above, if you have not seen this video on the workings of Rep. Lamar Smith’s House “Science” Committee, by all means do so now, and share with anyone that cares about the future.
Then consider a donation to the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.

You can tell if you are doing good work by the enemies you attract.
And it looks like Yale Climate Connections, an organization for whom I produce the monthly “This is Not Cool” video series, has gotten under the skin of Lamar Smith’s House “Science” Committee.

First, let me say, I do not speak for Yale Climate Connections, I am a contractor for them and nothing more, I have no influence or stake in their management or editorial decisions – but generally they are reporting the mainstream science of climate change in a moderate and sensible tone.
Hence, I guess,  the outrage of the “Science” Committee.

In a further sign of things to come, the Committee has now taken to tweeting out pathetic anti-science screeds from the White Supremacist/Climate denial website Breitbart.

The piece mentioned, is authored by James Delingpole, the same author commissioned on short notice to respond to my January video on Satellite temperature measurement.

It’s apparently an outline of new climate denial talking points that will be deployed as 2016 becomes the third year in a row to break a global temperature record.

I’ll handle the substance of the Breitbart piece either in a future post, video, or both.

For now, just a reminder that we are at the very beginning of a values clarification exercise that could result in a much more distinct picture of who we are as a nation, and as human beings.
Yale Climate Connections recently published an introspective take on this from one of the most highly respected and quietly gutsy climate scientists in the world, Ben Santer of Livermore Lab.

Yale Climate Connections:

Statement of Purpose – Ben Santer PhD

I look at differences between expectations and reality. The expectations are from computer models of the climate system. Computer models can tell us about historical changes in climate – the changes we should have seen in response to things like human-caused increases in greenhouse gases. My job is to compare these expected changes in climate with actual observations.

In my scientific life, expectations and reality match up most of the time. There are also times when they don’t match up. I try to understand both the “matching up”, and the “not matching up”. The bottom-line message from this work is that there’s very good agreement between most model expectations and reality – but we only find this agreement if models include human influences on the climate system. Natural factors alone don’t give us “matching up” between expected and observed changes in climate.

I’ve also learned that when model expectations and reality don’t match up, the differences between the two are revealing. They tell us something useful about uncertainties in real-world climate measurements, about factors missing from the model simulations, and about the effects of natural climate variability.

That’s the way science works. When expectations and reality do not align, we learn. We try to understand. We try to improve the models. We try to reduce uncertainties in the observations. We keep on iterating. We keep on confronting expectations with reality, until what once was mysterious is no longer puzzling. Advances in scientific understanding are unstoppable, even when magnitude 8.0 seismic shifts occur in our political system.

In life, too, there are differences between expectations and reality. After the last Presidential election in the United States, over half of the voting population encountered differences between what they wanted and what they got. They expected a United States in which racism, religious intolerance, and misogyny do not have a place. They expected a United States government determined to find solutions to the existential problem of human-caused climate change. They expected a country eager to find cheap and efficient ways of producing low-carbon energy – a country ready to become a clean energy leader rather than a follower of others. They expected a country in which rational and respectful discourse is possible, in which ignorance is not glorified, and in which fear is not used as a motivational tool.

As yet, we do not know whether reality will match these expectations. Perhaps the harsh rhetoric of the campaign trail will give way to more thoughtful speech. Perhaps solutions will replace slogans, and divisiveness will give way to inclusiveness. Perhaps the job will change the job-holder. Perhaps pragmatism will win out over ideology. Perhaps there will be a few moments of clarity, when a signal of understanding – understanding of the President’s responsibility for our country’s future, and for our planet’s climate future – emerges from the continuous background noise of special interests, lobbyists, ideologues, and forces of unreason.

Some of my colleagues, younger and older, have concerns about this new post-election reality. They wonder whether there is still a place for kindness, tolerance, and rationality, and for curiosity about this strange and beautiful world in which we live. They are unsure whether “climate scientist” is still a viable career option. They are concerned about the climate risk their children and grandchildren are already being exposed to. They know how that risk will grow if we do nothing to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

I do not have good answers for their questions and concerns. All I can tell them is that we need to understand and learn from these “expectation-versus-reality” differences, just as we do in climate science. I tell them that we can find clever ways of using and amplifying our scientific voices, and of declaring who we are and what we stand for. I tell them that we have the amazing privilege of being in a position to advance scientific understanding, to work on problems that are truly important. I tell them that this is not the time for despair – it’s time for leaving the sidelines and entering the public arena. And finally, I give them my post-election statement of purpose, and tell them that this is how I have chosen to spend my time. That’s something we all have control over – how we choose to spend our time.

Personal statement of purpose:

1. To continue working to improve scientific understanding of the nature and causes of climate change;

2. To continue to inform the public and policymakers about all aspects of climate science;

3. To continue to seek constructive engagement and respectful dialogue;

4. To continue to be in the public arena, to be a voice of reason, and to be accountable for the research I do.

Ben Santer, San Ramon, Ca., November 22, 2016



13 Responses to ““Science” Committee Goes Full Climate Denial/White Supremacist – Tweeting Breitbart”

  1. Thanks, Peter. Ben Santer’s essay and statement of purpose is just what I needed this morning. Rational, clearly stated, inspiring.

    The other thing that perked me up this morning was Trump’s appointment of Stephen Cheney as Secretary of Defense. Whatever else you think about him, he is not a climate denying ditto head but someone who has taken the research and the science seriously. So, when Trump is sitting around that big table with his cabinet and one of his moronic ideologues says something inane about climate, perhaps Cheney, who is not shy, will verbally slap him down. This would be good. He might even get the Donald to pay attention for longer than five minutes.

  2. No – I disagree with Mr. Santer’s approach. It is lame, and more or less in keeping with past practice.

    I am not a true scientist; therefore I am not familiar with the day-to-day activities of the scientist. But what I can see clearly is that political activism is not in the scientist’s statement of work. The scientist searches for objective truth in the form of developing and refining theories, and making public those findings. In a sane world – that is exactly as it should be. But we no longer live in a sane world.

    Calm statements of latest scientific findings will matter not one hoot to the incoming administration, in my view. Trump already has repeated the absurd talking points of the denialist think thanks and websites and other entities (Breitbart included). These beliefs are all but hard wired and it will take extraordinary efforts to get them turned around. I see AGW as an existential threat – one in which science must literally cry out to the world. Why is not climate science beating down the door of those in influential places, rather than rope-a-doping in committee hearings, or sending out open letters? If the skulduggery of the denialists is so obvious (it is) to us, then why are you not doing everything in your power to expose it for what it is. If you did, it just might be possible for a Trump to say “wow – I just didn’t realize it”.

    Nope – all I see is an open letter by the UCS, which will be refuted. And Trump will pay more attention to the refutation. End of story.

    I wonder how Sagan or Einstein would have tackled this. Get with it.

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    Not Cheney, but James “Mad Dog” Mattis is the DOD secretary nominee, and he may be one of Trump’s better choices.


  4. I really hate Lamar Smith. Really. He’s not a snake in the grass, he’s a snake right up there in your face.

    And Ted Cruz, true story, he looks and moves and sounds just like this ‘in-law’ I once had who was literally crazy. He was an extreme religious zealot who would corner me and scream at me about dinosaur bones actually being bones of giant men who god smote for their gluttony. It was both disgusting and scary. So whenever I see Cruz, that’s who I think of.

  5. redskylite Says:

    Does everyone remember 14th of October 2012, when the misinformation muck spreader David Rose published “Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it” in the tabloid “The Daily Mail”, featuring supportive quotes from Judith Curry.

    It launched so much defense and controversy, wasted so much time of valuable expertise like Kevin Trenberth.

    Now the bastard is at it again with “Stunning new data indicates El Nino drove record highs in global temperatures suggesting rise may not be down to man-made emissions” publish in the Daily Mail on the 27th November 2016, and complete with the insidious Judith Curry

    No surprise buoyed by the recent election result he has published it right now, these are the times of this non-science nonsense.

    I just hope that Climate Feedback and other Science sites strongly debunk this article, bearing in mind the harm created by the first. 4 years is a long time on the human news timescale and many may not remember so far back.

    We are being played yet again like and old Phonograph cylinder record.


  6. andrewfez Says:

    Science Committee figures out it gets cold in the winter. Tackling the big issues.

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