GOP chairman ratchets up fight against global warming study

GOP chairman ratchets up fight against global warming study
© Getty

Rep. Lamar SmithLamar Seeligson SmithEx-officers acquitted in beating of Black colleague who was undercover at St. Louis protests Bottom line In partisan slugfest, can Chip Roy overcome Trump troubles? MORE (R-Texas) is ratcheting up his fight against federal climate change scientists, saying he has whistleblowers telling him that a widely publicized study on global warming was not conducted properly.

Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, is threatening to subpoena Commerce Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday Biden's new campaign ad features Obama speech praising him Obama Commerce secretary backs Biden's 2020 bid MORE in his probe of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) global warming study.


In a Wednesday letter, Smith said whistleblowers contacted the committee with concerns that align with some of the allegations he’s made about NOAA’s study published this summer that was said to refute the idea of a more than 15-year “pause” in global warming.

“Information provided to the committee by whistleblowers appears to show that the [Thomas] Karl study was rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA scientists, ignoring established and standard NOAA scientific processes and potentially violating NOAA’s scientific integrity policies,” he wrote to Pritzker, whose department includes NOAA.

Smith says the NOAA employees lodged their objections, but Karl, who heads NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, pushed forward with the publication schedule.

“These allegations raise serious questions about the Karl study and NOAA’s public statements about its conclusions,” he wrote.

NOAA denied the allegations that the paper was rushed to publication or that the agency is hiding something.

“We have been transparent and cooperative with the House Science Committee to help them better understand the research and underlying methodologies,” said NOAA spokeswoman Ciaran Clayton.

“We have provided all of the information the committee, or anyone else, needs to understand, verify, or challenge the paper’s findings,” she said.

Clayton said the agency stands by its scientists and that their work is objective and not politically motivated.

The letter is the latest chapter in Smith’s ongoing fight over the global warming pause study, research that angered climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill.

Smith has charged that the study was politically motivated, in order to back up the Obama administration’s climate change policies. He has sought detailed information, data, briefings from scientists and internal communications among scientists.

NOAA has provided much of what he asked for, but it has withheld emails among scientists, saying they are confidential.

Smith has subpoenaed for the internal documents and threatened civil or criminal action against Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA’s head.