House Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is promising to give a “careful relook” at climate change science in the wake of last year’s “Climategate” scandal if Republicans take over the House.
“That doesn’t mean that global warming isn’t happening,” Issa told The Hill on Wednesday. “It means that we have to make sure that when we recalibrate what’s happening, why it’s happening, how much it’s happening, we need to ensure that we get a careful relook at the figures so that we’re accurate.
“It could be happening faster or slower,” he added, “but it’s very clear that those people played fast and loose with both the truth and our money.”
Issa is referring to e-mails from climate scientists at Britain’s University of East Anglia that appeared to include discussing ways to massage data and squelch views of researchers to strengthen the case for global warming.
Climate skeptics pounced, arguing it is a prime example of how the science behind global warming is manipulated.
Multiple outside reviews have cleared the researchers of claims they tried to manipulate data.
Issa — who could become a key part of an effort to expand oversight and congressional critique of the Obama administration if Republicans control the House — last December said the U.N.’s decision to investigate the matter constituted a “direct rebuke” of the Obama administration, which had not opened up its inquiry.
The White House largely dismissed Republican calls — including Issa’s — to open an inquiry because its top scientists contended one controversy hardly undermines decades of more reliable research on climate change.
“I believe that we are in a warming cycle,” Issa said. “I have insufficient [scientific] knowledge myself by far to really know how much we’re contributing, how much is going in from other sources, how much small changes in the ocean may or may not be helpful or hurtful. And so I very much want to have an honest scientific process, and our committee will limit itself to making sure that that occurs.
“I won’t accept anything as settled science because in the 1970s remember you had Jim Hansen talking about global cooling,” Issa said, referring to the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and outspoken advocate of efforts to mandate reduction in man-made greenhouse gas emissions. “So I think science should always be filled with skeptics, and I want to make sure the skeptics are heard.”