Because Lamar Smith is a climate denier. He’s also chairman of the House Committe on Science, Space, and Technology.
Lamar Smith is spearheading a full frontal assault on science. He opposes nearly every science-based policy from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This includes regulations on ozone — that’s where I got the phrasing for this blog title, because Lamar Smith described ozone regulations this way:
This rule could be the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public. It will put millions of Americans out of work and cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars. And it will most impact financially vulnerable families who already struggle to find employment and pay their bills.
A bit hyperbolic, don’t you think? It’s also untrue. By reducing the frequency of asthma attacks and other medical problems, reducing hospital admissions as well as lost time for work and school, it will save money. The real problem for Lamar Smith is that the new EPA regulations will save money for regular people, taxpayers, not for billionaires. The new regulations will also save lives — does that even matter to Lamar Smith?
Lamar Smith is also attacking the National Science Foundation. He wants to interfere with how they grant money for research — research he doesn’t like, that is. That includes research in the social sciences, and in climate science.
Pity that Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, doesn’t understand science. He especially doesn’t understand climate science. Here’s what Lamar Smith wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post in 2013:
Contrary to model predictions, data released in October from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit show that global temperatures have held steady over the past 15 years, despite rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Lamar Smith is so utterly ignorant of science and mathematics, that he actually swallowed the crap from deniers about the “pause” in global warming. And of course, he — just like his denier buddies — only thought about data starting in 1998, the year the giant el Nino made extra hot.
When it comes to global temperature data from the Climate Research Unit (annual averages, with 2015 year-to-date), here’s what I think you should be looking at, at the very least:
But here, inside the red box, is the only thing Lamar Smith wants you to think about:
Cover your eyes so you can’t see! Don’t look at what happened before, or what came after! Don’t even think about what’s really going to happen — believe the fairy tales that it’s all a hoax, that everything is going to be fine, that we shouldn’t interfere. It seems to me that Lamar Smith would rather people don’t know what happened before 1998, or after 2012.
He so strongly wants people not to know, that if they do hear about it he wants to deny that it’s real. That’s why he recently went looking for data about NMAT (Nighttime Marine Air Temperature), because it was used (in a very minor way, mind you) to help improve estimates of sea-surface temperature. And improved estimates of sea-surface temperature made it even clearer, even more beyond doubt, that global temperature did not go through a “pause.”
Of course, the whole thing is moot becuase 2014 was the hottest on record even before using improved sea-surface temperature, and 2015 is going to be the new hottest on record, improved sea-surface temperature or no.
But Lamar Smith bought into the “pause” meme so much, that he just can’t abide its crumbling right before his eyes. So, he is actually using his position as head of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology to harrass scientists — including NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Lamar Smith’s continued attack on science will undermine the science leadership we’ve worked so hard to get here in the U.S. When individual scientists, and our most respected scientific organizations, are subject to harrassment and attack, the best and brightest will go elsewhere. Jobs will go elsewhere. Innovation will happen elsewhere.
But the worst is that climate change is real and is already costing billions of dollars, right here in the U.S. Did global warming cause hurricane Sandy? No. Did sea level rise make the flooding from hurricane Sandy worse, make it cost billions more than it would have? Yes. Did global warming cause the horrific wildfires in the west this year? No. Did it make them much worse, make them cost billions more to fight, make the damages billions more? Yes. Lamar Smith’s attack denial of climate change — that’s what’s really going to put millions of Americans out of work and cost the U.S. economy billions, maybe even trillions of dollars.
That’s what Lamar Smith has condemned us to. And the cost, in terms of dollars and of lives, will mainly hit the poor, vulnerable families who already struggle to find employment and pay their bills.
When science tells us the truth and Lamar Smith doesn’t like it, he denies the science, or attacks the science, or both.