‘Climategate’ hasn't swayed swing votes on climate change bill

‘Climategate’ hasn't swayed swing votes on climate change bill

Centrist Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCongress must step up to protect Medicare home health care Business, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration MORE (Maine) argues that the "climategate" e-mails should be probed on Capitol Hill, but the e-mails haven't changed her views on global warming.

“There appears to be sufficient controversy and concern that I think it warrants the Environment and Public Works Committee taking a look at it,” said Collins, a swing vote in the looming Senate fight on cap-and-trade, in the Capitol on Sunday.

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She told The Hill that the e-mails, hacked from a British research institute, led her to check in with two scientists at the University of Maine on the matter. “They are disappointed at what appears may have happened, but they tell me it does not change their own conclusions or their own research,” she said. Collins still believes humans are causing climate change.

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehousePence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech New battle lines in war over Trump’s judicial picks Dems probing whether NRA made illegal contributions to Trump MORE (D-R.I.) said he does not believe the e-mails are jeopardizing Democratic swing votes. Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidConstitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Klobuchar: 'I don't remember' conversation with Reid over alleged staff mistreatment Dems wary of killing off filibuster MORE (D-Nev.) hopes to bring a climate and energy package to the floor in the spring.

“I am not hearing anybody on our side, even the people who are more economically concerned about the climate legislation who come from coal states, that sort of thing, saying, 'What are we going to say about this, is this a problem?’ ” said Whitehouse, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee who backs fast action on mandatory emissions curbs.

Whitehouse said GOP members will use the messages to try and slow climate legislation, but predicts it will not work.

The messages appear to show scientists discussing ways to massage data and squelch views of researchers who do not agree that humans are warming the planet. They also show the scientists deriding climate skeptics. Both the University of East Anglia in the U.K., which houses the Climatic Research Institute, and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have vowed reviews.

But the researchers and their supporters say the e-mails have been taken out of context, and do nothing to dent powerful evidence that the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are causing climate change.

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOn The Money: Trump to sign border deal, declare emergency to build wall | Senate passes funding bill, House to follow | Dems promise challenge to emergency declaration Trump to sign border deal, declare national emergency Foreign Affairs chairman: US military intervention in Venezuela 'not an option' MORE (Okla.), the top Republican on the Senate Environment panel, as well as Sens. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants Overnight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House Senators highlight threat from invasive species MORE (R-Wyo.) and David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBottom Line Bottom Line Top 5 races to watch in 2019 MORE (R-La.), have called for various inquiries into the matter, including a committee hearing.

Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Hispanic civil rights icon endorses Harris for president California AG Becerra included in Bloomberg 50 list MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday said she isn’t planning a hearing, although she did not entirely shut the door on the question.

“The main thing is, is there any change in the underlying science? If I believed there was a change in an underlying science, I think that would be worth looking at because one would want to know, is the science right?” she told The Hill. “At this point it looks as if all of the scientists who have been engaged in this global warming issue who were not involved in the e-mails say there is nothing that changes their mind.”

Boxer said, however, that she is continuing to collect information, and also reiterated her view that any committee hearing should also explore criminal dimensions of the hacking. “If I were to hold a hearing, it would be on the entire issue, but right now, I don’t see reason to do it,” she said.

Look for Republicans, meanwhile, to keep raising the issue as Senate action on slow-moving climate legislation draws closer.

“I expect there will be a lot more learned about it and I think before we transform the American economy in such a dramatic way, and impose such huge additional costs on taxpayer[s], I think we ought to do it on sound science,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynPoll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week How the border deal came together MORE (Texas), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee.