Lamar Smith will be the most expensive legislator ever imposed on the American public, will put millions of Americans out of work and cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars, and will most impact financially vulnerable families who already struggle to find employment and pay their bills

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:

crut4

But here, inside the red box, is the only thing Lamar Smith wants you to think about:

crut4_Lamar

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.

37 responses to “Lamar Smith will be the most expensive legislator ever imposed on the American public, will put millions of Americans out of work and cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars, and will most impact financially vulnerable families who already struggle to find employment and pay their bills

  1. Smith has been rebuked in a letter from Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ranking Member on the committee. Well written.

    http://tinyurl.com/qd5psrd

    • Yes, that is well worth taking a few minutes to read.

      “By issuing this subpoena, you have instigated a Constitutional conflict with an inquiry that seems more designed to harass climate scientists than to further any legitimate legislative purpose. This is a serious misuse of Congressional oversight powers.

      “Unfortunately, this is not the first time the powers of the Chair have been used to harass and second guess our nation’s preeminent research scientists. Two years ago, the EPA Administrator was subpoenaed to acquire research data from several seminal public health studies. At the time, you stated your intention in issuing the subpoena was to pass the data onto a researcher with extensive ties to the tobacco industry for reanalysis. I hesitate to ask to whom you’d like to pass the information you have demanded from NOAA. There’s certainly not enough scientific expertise on your staff or on the Member rolls to reanalyze the scientific data you have been provided. I will only note that subpoenaing information from the Executive branch for the purposes of providing it to third parties is not a legitimate exercised of Congress’s oversight powers, and certainly not a valid basis for a Constitutional conflict.

      “The baseless conflict you have created by issuing the October 13 subpoena is representative of a disturbing pattern in your use of Congressional pwer since your Chairmanship began. In the past two years and ten months that you have presided as Chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology you have issued more subpoenas (six) than were issued in the prior 54 year history of the Committee.”

      –Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ranking Member, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, to Committee Chair Lamar Smith, October 23, 2015

  2. Asteroid Miner

    So what are we going to do about Lamar Smith?

  3. I often wish a Democrat opponent would drop the gloves and the feigned civility that so many professional politicians maintain and just rip the likes of Smith or Inhofe to shreds. I mean it… scorched earth, burned bridges, no shaking hands and making up afterwards. Call them out publicly on their corruption and idiocy even if Congress and the Senate gasp in fake outrage.

  4. Wasting time and money on witch hunts. I hope he gets a lump of coal for Halloween. http://democrats.science.house.gov/sites/democrats.science.house.gov/files/Ranking Member Johnson Letter to Chairman Smith on NOAA Subpoena.pdf

  5. There is nothing to do. The people re-elect imbeciles because the press doesn’t explain that they are imbeciles, because the press is owned by the same wealth that owns the Lamar. It will unfortunately, only be when the climate itself overrides the liars and the incompetents and the bought and paid for reporting, that the people will have the slightest chance to do anything about Lamar. He’ll be gone by then anyway. He will never have to face the people he is hurting and we can’t sue him cause he’s a congresscritter.

    The only thing to do realistically, is to sue the ones we can get at.

    I don’t think idiocy is an impeachable offense.

    Lying to Congress however, is. Charging him with it… repeatedly and ferociously, might be a partial answer.

    • As a long-time listener to NPR/WNYC’s On the Media it seems clear that, rather than being interfered with by wealthy owners, the media suffer from a more mundane list of deficiencies, including

      – Reporters who ask challenging questions of politicians risk losing access (conversely, many who have already asked challenging questions are effectively blackballed by the pols).
      – The long-established culture of journalistic balance lead to the fallacies of false balance and both sides do it. Mainstream political coverage is often just reporting what either side says, with little or no factual analysis from the journalists themselves.
      – Actual investigative reporters are much rarer now, replaced with newsreaders, churnalists and “human interest” reporters

    • “Lying to Congress however, is. Charging him with it… repeatedly and ferociously, might be a partial answer.”

      When you’re under oath testifying in a congressional hearing, maybe. Congresspeople themselves are virtually never called to testify as witnesses, of course.

      When you’re another congressperson speaking on the floor it absolutely isn’t and shouldn’t be.

    • BJ – I’m the democratic candidate who will be running against Lamar in next years election. But we can’t beat him by ourselves; we need everyone who can help to do so. http://www.wakely2016.com

  6. This is why we need to vote–and never, ever, vote for a Republican. I used to split my ticket, carefully considering individual candidates. I don’t think I can afford that luxury any more. Any Republican in office strengthens the whole group. We must vote them all out. If you can’t stand to vote Democratic, then vote Libertarian, or Green, or Socialist Labor Party. But for God’s sake, break up the Republican majority in congress. We’ve got to get rid of them as a political power.

  7. I’d encourage NASA to respond in the fullest possible way: every piece of information related to NMAT, no matter how remotely. Every casual email (preferably both sender and receiver, separately.) Every invoice for every service, piece of equipment, or other relevant item. Every internal memo (every copy.) Every background briefing, every scoping document. Everything that could possibly help interpret, contextualize, or understand the NMAT program, history and purpose.

    After all, he clearly needs every possible assistance.

    It would be an interesting instantiation of Rep. Johnson’s letter which basically admonishes the Hon. Lamar to be careful for what he wishes.


  8. Every casual email (preferably both sender and receiver, separately.) Every invoice for every service, piece of equipment, or other relevant item.

    The email dump, of course, would include hard copies every email that contains Rep. Johnson’s letter as an attachment (or even mentions the letter), sent by any employee or contractor, or received by any employee or contractor. That’s a minimum of two copies for every email sent: the sender’s copy, and the recipient’s copy. For emails broadcast to an entire department or group, that would mean sender and recipient copies for every single recipient (inside or outside the agency).

    Hopefully, that would include many dumps of email traffic sent to All@nasa.gov and All@noaa.gov.

    And make sure that they are at the top of the pile.

  9. Michael Hauber

    Why do some continue to attempt to scare us with doom and gloom catastrophe based on ideology and ignore similar failed predictions of the past. I doubt this prediction of economic catastrophe will be any better than the predictions of economic catastrophe when we put the Montreal protocols in place to control CFS etc.

    • Exactly, those alarmist economists who claim that solving the problems of AGW will destroy the economy are as wrong as those that claimed that the Montreal protocol would destroy the economy.

  10. Michael–the reason that CFC’s are not a catastrophe is because all parties heeded the warnings of scientists. There was a real problem, and 20 years later it is fixing itself after we adjusted.

    Why do you think that you can ignore physics and get a good outcome?

    • FWIW–I’m sure Michael can speak for himself–I read his comment as being in agreement with your perspective. That is, his ‘some continue to attempt to scare us with doom and gloom’ would be the ‘alarmist economists who claim that solving the problems of AGW will destroy the economy’ that John referred to in his reply.

    • He doesn’t, read more closely, the alarmists he mentions are those economists and politicians claiming that heeding climate science will destroy world economy:

      “I doubt this prediction of economic catastrophe will be any better than the predictions of economic catastrophe when we put the Montreal protocols in place “

    • You’ve misunderstood Michael’s point. But this is understandable considering he’s used some of the denialati’s pet phrases (“attempt to scare us”, “doom and gloom catastrophe”, “failed predictions”).

  11. Mitch: I think you had better read Michael’s post again: it’s the people who were claiming economic catastrophe that he’s talking about.

  12. Lamar should be sued for criminal negligence. A doctor who ‘just doesn’t believe in the theory that bacteria cause disease, so doesn’t bother to wash before operating, would be arrested.

  13. Lamar Smith (@LamarSmithTX21) has been getting an earful about this on twitter. If you have a twitter account, feel free to pile on — get on over there and bust his chops!

  14. Trying again, hope this is not a duplicate.

    NYTimes has a beautiful interactive on Greenland; it’s worth one of your 10 free if you are not a subscriber.
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/27/world/greenland-is-melting-away.html

    Also my least favorite denier wmar has gone to town and is getting “votes” because he mentions Box and Alley and is clever about misrepresenting them. Being one of these:
    https://xkcd.com/386/

    I have to go dig on that one.

    [Response: I deleted the duplicate. Note to readers: don’t expect me to do that on a regular basis.]

    • That is pretty cool, I must say. Thanks! (And no pun intended.)

    • Susan Anderson

      Thanks Tamino, bug in this laptop/G+; I appreciate the consideration I get from the scientific community despite my amateurism.

      Greenland article also goes to town on Lamar Smith.

  15. Interesting political development: the Climate Plan picks up its first Republican Senate supporter.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/10/26/3715954/ayotte-gop-support-clean-power-plan/

  16. What Lamar does no longer surprises me. But his assault on scientists and his attack on scientists has gone from being just plain silly to dangerous. That’s why I am running as the Democratic candidate to unseat him. But we can’t do it alone. He’s sitting on a million dollars and has proven year after year to raise millions of dollars. Tom Wakely / http://www.wakely2016.com

  17. I wish you the best, Mr. Wakeley.

    • Thanks for your comments. I’d also like to ask you to share the campaign’s website with friends and colleagues. We are looking to raise a $1,000,000 dollars by next year July. We need to match Lamar dollar for dollar. Take care and thanks for the encouragement.