World leaders are gathering in Paris to figure out how to exchange the current method of producing low cost, reliable, plentiful electricity with a system that is more expensive, intermittent and based on wind and sunshine.  Nations will make pledges to reduce CO2 emissions.  As part of the agreement, the president will pledge that the United States will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28 percent over the next decade and by 80 percent or more by 2050. 

What will this mean for the average consumer?  It is like owning two cars, one that is available on-demand at any time of day.  And another car that only works when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.  Few people want that second car.  We have come to expect that electricity will flow when we flip a switch or plug in our iPhones.

{mosads}What makes this radical transformation so troublesome is that, although we are being told it is based on “serious science”, unfortunately, no one is allowed to see this science.   The fact is, it is easier to get access to classified government material than it is to see the science behind the policies being promoted in Paris even though public government funds pay for this science. 

So it was a little surprising when several scientific organizations decided last week to criticize Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, for requesting information behind a report published by one of the agencies under his committee’s oversight.

One wonders what these “scientists” have to hide.

Here are the specifics. In June, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a study in the journal Science that adjusted global historic temperature data in an attempt to refute the notion that there has been an 18-year hiatus in warming.  Atmospheric satellite data, considered the most objective, has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades in spite of UN IPCC climate models which consistently predict substantial warming. This is well documented.

After getting no response to several letters he wrote asking NOAA to turn over scientific data as well as internal communications between or among employees involved in the study, Chairman Smith issued a subpoena for the information.  NOAA’s stonewalling only serves to make it appear that data were altered to get politically correct results and the timing of the report suggests it was purposely released in advance of the president’s trip to Paris. 

Many observers and members of Congress are used to EPA withholding data that forms the basis of many of their climate policies.  Now, apparently, NOAA has decided to do the same.

Should national policy be based on secret science?  “I am from the federal government, trust me” does not seem like a mantra anyone on the left or right should follow.  The president’s Paris pledge is an attempt to take an end run around the Congress.  This is not what the founders envisioned when they formed three co-equal branches of the government and any agreement is not likely to withstand legal or Congressional scrutiny. 

Like a common language, serious matters should be informed by objective honest science.  That was the theme of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s recent ‘At the Crossroads’ energy conference. Serious people talking about serious matters.  The effort to study the climate has been wrecked by faulty science including Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, Michael Mann’s infamous “hockey stick” fake graph, the roundly discredited “97 percent of scientists agree” study, and by the exposure of the “climate gate” email conspiracy at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. 

It is no surprise that government funded research has discovered that the government is right.  Only we cannot see the data. We live in an open society and need scientists with the courage to stand behind their research.  Show us the data.

Domenech is the director of the Fueling Freedom Project at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

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