Lamar Smith: #1 Enemy of Science

In a rebuke to the #1 enemy of science, Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has refused to comply with his attempt “to subpoena internal communications relating to a recent climate-change study by its scientists,” according to reports by Nature.


Nature further reports that:


In response to queries from Nature, Smith released a statement accusing NOAA of rigging its temperature records and stonewalling the House committee.

“NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda,” Smith said.

The truth is obvious: Lamar Smith is so deeply in denial of climate science, and so committed to protect the billionaires behind the fossil-fuel industry, that he’ll do anything to attack the science, including attacking the scientists.

All the data are already publically available, the research was published in a peer-reviewed journal, all the methods applied and results obtained are plain to see, but that’s not good enough for Lamar Smith — he also wants all the e-mails sent by all the scientists so he can go digging for anything that he can take out of context in order to smear them.

Some have accused Lamar Smith of going on a “fishing expedition” or even a “trawling expedition.” In my opinion, that’s not an accurate characterization, because Lamar Smith is on a witch-hunt, plain and simple.

Michael Tobis tweets about how, in Lamar Smith’s view, NOAA chose to “advance an extreme agenda” — like this:

with_and_out

We could also add a comparison of the result with the new corrections to the result with the old corrections:

old_and_new

We should also mention that what Lamar Smith really objects to is that research by Karl et al. disproved the “pause” that climate deniers loved so much. Lamar Smith wants to revive that zombie, so he can use it to push his anti-science agenda. But the zombie “pause” was already dead, even without the research of Karl et al. I showed it in my own research, using data without the sea-surface temperature revision, so did Cahill et al., in fact it’s now been shown in no fewer than five scientific publications, including the NOAA research that Lamar Smith hates so much, he’ll resort to the nastiest, costliest, and most vicious tactics to destroy.

That’s what Lamar Smith does. He’s the #1 enemy of science.

24 responses to “Lamar Smith: #1 Enemy of Science

  1. David Roberts (Vox) also has an interesting article about this:
    http://www.vox.com/2015/10/26/9616370/science-committee-worse-benghazi-committee

    And it was mentioned in the NY Times article about Greenland
    (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/27/world/greenland-is-melting-away.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fscience&action=click&contentCollection=science&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront).

    And there are ongoing articles and discussions in, for example, arstechnica (http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/10/us-congressman-subpoenas-noaa-climate-scientists-over-study/)

    Hopefully, there will be more discussion about this abuse of power in the media in the coming days and weeks, although I am not optimistic.

  2. So where’s the subpoena for Spencer & Christy’s emails? Their recent adjustments to the UAH dataset were quite a bit bigger than NOAA’s, especially over the last 15-20 years:

    UAH 5.6 1999-present: +0.15C/decade
    UAH 6.0 1999-present: +0.06C/decade

    They managed to reduce the rate of warming over the last 15 years by more than half. And yet, no subpoena.

    Curious.

  3. Reblogged this on Hypergeometric and commented:
    The discouraging thing is that Lamar Smith would not be who he is if there were not a good many Americans who are sympathetic to his position. And, indeed, that’s not only discouraging, it is sad, because, alas, whenever a large number of people are disconnected from deep reality in the way these Americans are, reality has a way of reasserting itself, and that usually involves inflicting pain, whether personal, or economic.

  4. David B. Benson

    So write to him and tell him.

  5. The denialists out in force onThe Hill, which has also reported on NOAA’s refusal to release the emails.

    I have been told that the way to deal with the denialists is to appeal to their experience, to find a way to help them personally relate to climate change and its consequences.

    I find I disagree. I find that I think the way to go is to shame them as being inadequate as adults and as citizens.

    Even more fundamental then their science denial, is their refusal to deal with the world as it is. They do not want to play by the rules. They do not want to take their turn and let others take theirs. They retreat into a world in which nothing is threatening, in which nothing actually matters.

    In other words, they refuse to grow up. And they need to be called out.

    • Yeah. To repeat, I think the way to go is to shame them as being inadequate as adults and as citizens.

      When will the ‘merricans grow up and begin serious adult climate discourse? When will they realize that not shaming the shameful is not political correctness but simply a shame? Well, no chance methinks. So could you be at least decent enough and put horses to Washington, in the tradition of the great Roman emperor Caligula? No?

      • “I think the way to go is to shame them as being inadequate as adults and as citizens.”

        And is that supported by any evidence whatsoever? In my experience, shaming is much more likely to simply deepen denial. In (the very few) cases where I’ve seen folks change their mind, it’s happened when they had space to do so–IOW, they were out of the discussion for a time.

        The best tactic I’ve found is to create questions–but not to personalize. Socrates was onto something with that question thing. But it’s harder to do than you might think. There’s something about assertions that appeals to human nature (he asserted.)

  6. And isn’t the BEST data “untouched by human hands”? And it shows exactly what everything else shows.
    It is sad that you have scientists trying to get as accurate a record as possible, and for that they cop criticism that they are fudging the data. Why do they need to do that? The raw unadjusted data shows the trends just the same.

  7. Well, we got rid of the worst anti-scientific PM in Canadian history. A PM who among other things literally destroyed scientific libraries by shoveling them into dumpsters (certainly not recycling bins), muzzled govt scientists such that they could not even talk about their work at professional conferences let alone answer questions about it publicly without political permission, destroyed or attempted to destroy world class facilities, and changed the granting process for basic science to move away from new knowledge creation. In fact these anti-scientific actions were cited as key reasons public polling identified as impt in voters’ decisions to get rid of him.

    It _can_ be done. It only took Canada about 6 years after the true extent of his nature became clear on these sorts of matters. Maybe the tide is beginning to turn in the USA on this score as well. There seem to be some few indications it is.

    • Looking good with Abbott gone in Australia, Harper gone in Canada, the Republicans doing their best to choose unelectable candidates… The anomaly that puzzles me is the anti-renewable energy stance of Cameron’s Conservatives in the UK, with only a small and declining fossil fuel sector (coal dying for decades, North Sea oil running out, natural gas a historic non-player and the public against fracking). Maybe the Conservatives are being influenced by a very small group with vested interests?

      And of course in the EU Germany is still struggling with the contradiction of combining Energiewende and a continuing reliance on coal and lignite, and Poland is pushing its coal mines and mostly antiquated coal-fired power plants.

  8. The letter at the link below (PDF) was sent to Lamar Smith last Friday by Eddie Bernice Johnson, a ranking member of the Committee on Science, Space, & Technology. Read it, then ask yourselves this question: how much longer is this type of nonsense going to go on? These knuckle-draggers on the Radical Right were once just a nuisance. They’ve now become something far worse, something far more sinister. So, again: when is it going to stop? And, perhaps more importantly, who or what is going to stop them?

    http://democrats.science.house.gov/sites/democrats.science.house.gov/files/Ranking%20Member%20Johnson%20Letter%20to%20Chairman%20Smith%20on%20NOAA%20Subpoena.pdf

    • Susan Anderson

      “something far worse, something far more sinister” – about time people stopped imputing honest motives to this organized and neverending material. However, bearing in mind that inaction is always easier than action, it is difficult shading over to impossible.

  9. That’s probably why they’re salivating over him at WUWT.

    As an aside, it’s surprising just how affordable a Congressman can be. Lamar Smith’s leading donors ranked by industry are oil & gas companies, but their total donations to him since 1998 only add up to $630,597.

    https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&cid=N00001811&type=C

    Those with more expensive tastes may want to consider stepping up to a senator. Oil & gas companies are also James Inhofe’s leading career donors, but at $1,790,677, a Snowball is nearly 3x the price of a Lamar.

    https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&cid=N00005582&type=C

    Note that the above figures are the open contributions on record; I’m not so naive as to think there isn’t a lot more happening under the sheets, so to speak.


  10. but their total donations to him since 1998 only add up to $630,597.

    Adjusted for 2K years of inflation, that’s approximately 30 pieces of silver.

  11. The sad thing is, for him and the echo chamber, it’s a win-win.

    NOAA gives you 6 years worth of emails? There’s roughly a 100% chance that something in them can be taken out of context and given to the media to make scientists and data look bad.

    NOAA refuse to give you 6 years worth of emails because your asking for them is vastly overstepping your Constitutional bounds? Then rail against the lawless executive branch and point out that they must have something to hide, otherwise they’d be sharing.

    Of course this is no way to govern, but Smith isn’t interested in governing. He’s interested in pandering to the base, raking in the fossil fuel money, and being re-elected in his probably gerrymandered district.

  12. It is interesting how over a WUWT, they are up in arms about the nerve that NOAA scientists have to be refusing to release all of their personal communications for Lamar Smith’s witch-hunt.

    Yet, at the same time, they characterize Sen. Whitehouse’s call to look into using RICO against oil companies who knowingly misled the public on climate change as using “intimidation and fear to impose conformity on climate thinking” and start talking about violations of the First Amendment and so forth.

    The level of cognitive dissonance over there is just astounding.

    • Actually, much funnier is that Watts complained when Tom Peterson made Watts’ e-mail to him public (the one in which NOAA were accused of fraud). The same e-mail would have to be given to Lamar Smith and his team, because it relates to the Karl et al paper!

  13. Lamar Smith and the other obfuscators of global warming facts are liars, plain and simple, and they must be held accountable and called out and identified as such. It’s the tobacco industry problem all over again.

  14. Can Karl et al. sue for defamation?

    Smith, via Nature: ““NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda.”

    There’s not much wiggle room around that as an accusation of fraud.

  15. Lars Karlsson

    Read this by Judith Curry and weep.

    “I’ve heard enough behind the scenes (including discussions with NOAA employees) that I am siding with Rep. Smith on this one.

    The politicization of climate science has gotten extreme. I don’t know where to start in trying to ameliorate this situation, but Congressional oversight and investigation into what is going on in government labs does not seem inappropriate under these circumstances.

    It’s a sad state of affairs that climate science has come to this.”

    The unintended irony is enough to make your head explode.

  16. One could argue that Judith Curry has too much prestige (i.e. whatever prestige she has left) invested in the hiatus not to support Lamar Smith.

    Yesterday FactCheck.org had an excellent article on Smith’s demands:
    http://www.factcheck.org/2015/11/smith-misfires-on-climate-science/

  17. The thing is that Brother Lamar doesn’t have to find any dirt in the emails. Hell, he doesn’t even have to succeed in getting the emails. His constituents are suckled at the toxic breast of Faux News, and they have the attention spans of gnats. All they’ll remember is that “Lamar caught them scientists manipulatin’ data,” and that will be all she wrote.

    As to Judy, well, she stopped being a scientist a long, long time ago.

    I remember nearly 20 years ago when the Republicans had their first hearing on climate change. It was chaired by Representatives John Doolittle
    and Tom Delay. That summarizes their strategy then and now.

    • Yep, I read just such a comment on a news site last night. No doubt the commenter would be ready, in most cases, to decry ‘political interference,’ but right now his boy is running the ball (in his mind at least.)