House panel to challenge climate science

House panel to challenge climate science
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Republicans on the House Science Committee are planning a hearing next week to challenge mainstream climate science conclusions.

The committee, chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), has dubbed its hearing “Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method.”

The hearing comes as the GOP, which controls both chambers of Congress and the White House, works on multiple fronts to unravel former President Obama’s aggressive agenda on fighting climate change.

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President Trump is planning to use his power to undo major regulations like the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, while Congress works to undo some rules such as limits on methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling.

Smith doubts the scientific consensus that greenhouse gases from human activity are the main driver behind a changing climate and has used his committee gavel extensively to fight what he frames as “climate alarmism.”

The witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing will include big names in the climate skeptic community who often provide fodder for GOP lawmakers fighting global warming policies.

They include Judith Curry, who recently retired as a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research has focused largely on highlighting what she sees as vast uncertainty in climate forecast models and criticizing scientists and policymakers who downplay the uncertainty.

John Christy, meanwhile, has argued that mainstream climate models predict a far higher climate impact from greenhouse gases than is actually the case, and that policies to reduce emissions would have little effect. He is a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Roger Pielke Jr., from the University of Colorado, Boulder, is also scheduled to appear. He accepts most mainstream scientific findings on climate. But his high-profile writing has researched extreme weather and argued that the increasingly high impact of weather phenomena like hurricanes is overestimated, along with general criticisms of the politicization of the issue.

The panel’s Democrats have invited Michael Mann of Penn State University. He is known best for the “hockey stick” graph of 1999 that showed a sharp increase in average temperatures in recent decades.

Mann has often feuded with Curry, Christy and Pielke. For example, Mann once said “climate science would be stronger without Curry,” while Pielke has accused Mann of working “to destroy academic careers of those with views different than his.”