Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Politics vs. climate science

Mostly just a pointer here. Chris C. Mooney reports:
House Energy and Commerce Committee chair Joe Barton has sent a threatening letter to the heads of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Science Foundation, as well as to the three climate scientists who produced the original "hockey stick" study. Barton isn't simply humoring questionable contrarian attacks on the "hockey stick" graph; he's using his power as a member of Congress to intimidate the scientists involved in producing it.

Subsequent posts on Mooney's site provide further information and reactions.

Deltoid presents additional reaction, and comments:
It is probably just a coincidence that Joe Barton has received $574,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, more than any other congressman.

Finally (for now), Prometheus assesses both reasonable and unreasonable aspects of the Congressional action, but especially on the unreasonable side notes that
Congressional meddling in science research has been happening science Senator Proxmire (D-WI) began giving away Golden Fleece Awards in 1975. By ridiculing specific NSF awards (among myriad other federal expeditures, see this link), Sen. Proxmire was essentially putting pressure on the scientific community to fund more "relevant" work. Senator Inhofe's proclamations of hoaxes and other comments on climate change are in a similar vein. However, this is congressional meddling taken to a whole new level and has the potential to set a bad precedent for the future, when the topic and stakes are different and the parties in power have switched. Furthermore, while some Sens and Reps have spoken vociferously against climate change, expressing their opinions of the research, none have yet used the dais to harass climate researchers.


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