Lamar Smith denies denial

He says he’s not a climate denier, just a “semi-skeptic.” I say he’s not a skeptic at all, just a denier.


The Texas Observer reports that Lamar Smith is convinced scientists at NOAA are


… using cooked stats to overstate the effects of climate change, which Smith believes is itself part of President Barack Obama’s “agenda.”

The paper also reports,


Asked why he would subpoena NOAA’s internal emails when their research data is already publicly available, Smith said it’s the only way to sniff out what he says is “biased” data.

Lamar Smith is chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. But, apparently he thinks he’s a scientist:


“I think the human component may actually be a small fraction of the contributing forces on climate change,” Smith said, listing other causes like “natural cycles” and changes in the tilt of the Earth’s axis over time.

How reassuring that Lamar Smith feels so qualified to lecture us on what the science really is.

Perhaps the most telling statement in the article is this:


Smith’s goal? To ferret out out how — not whether — politically motivated government scientists are using what Smith believes are “skewed” numbers.

My opinion: Lamar Smith doesn’t like the temperature data because it shows rapid warming of the globe. So he decides that not only are the data wrong, they’re wrong because scientists are perpetrating a fraud, and it’s part of some “agenda” by President Obama. But he doesn’t have any evidence of that, so he issues a subpoena hoping he can either find some, or just discredit the scientists by the simple act of accusation.

What’s the definition of “witch-hunt”?

27 responses to “Lamar Smith denies denial

  1. I love how ‘skeptics’ cite ‘natural cycles’ as a cause of climate change when, in fact, cycles are not causes at all. They are results. They have causes, which, of course, the ‘skeptics’ never bother to identify.

  2. Yeah – like that ‘skewed’ numbers worked out in the last elections… :)

    On a different note: RSS doesn’t show a ‘stagnation’, at least, when you look at water vapor. Lord Monckton will probably have to circle the wagons even closer.

    See this comment here on scienceblogs (it’s German but the Google will help and the links inside speak for themselves – especially the second one):

    http://scienceblogs.de/primaklima/2015/11/10/neuer-globaler-waermerekord-2015-teil-ii/#comment-71371

    Now, I’m not an expert, but could that rise of water vapor in an atmosphere with ‘stagnating’ temperatures mean that that Roy Spencer should have a hard look at his (calculated) temperature record – again?!

  3. “Lamar Smith will be the most expensive legislator ever imposed on the American public … ”

    Not to mention the damage this chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is doing to the reputation of the USA around the world. It is your democracy, your political system, your electorate that has allowed this individual to get to the position he now occupies.

  4. “I think the human component may actually be a small fraction of the contributing forces on climate change,” Smith said, listing other causes like “natural cycles” and changes in the tilt of the Earth’s axis over time.

    Presumably he doesn’t expect us to take him at his word and will be providing will be providing all the raw data, methodologies and correspondence that led him to this conclusion?

  5. Does anybody here think the emails would contain the type of details Lmar Smith thinks he will find – seems certain are there*? What are the odds the White House sent an emails to Karl ordering him to “skew” the data to erase the pause?

    I find that to be implausible, completely.

    It looks to me like there are other scientific groups who are exceedingly familiar with the same data, and who do similar scientific work to what Karl and NOAA did, and that they would be screaming like crazy if such an obvious manipulation had taken place.

    * Judith Curry hints that NOAA insiders are talking to her and that is why she supports what Lamar Smith is doing. I take her to mean NOAA insiders are saying the smoking gun Smith seeks is in the emails.

  6. Rattus Norvegicus

    Smith should remember what happened last time Republicans thought the numbers were skewed: President Obama got reelected.

  7. Smith deviates from the script – he is a heretic and should be shunned!

  8. JCH, if we were dealing with honest men, that would be one thing, but remember 2009.

    “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.”–Cardinal Richelieu

  9. Stephen Spencer

    There is a quote that is attributed to Cardinal Richelieu which probably explains Smith’s intentions:
    “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.”

  10. If I had any residual respect left for Judith Curry, that tears it. The woman is just evil.

  11. The denialists who say global warming is “just a natural cycle” are inconsistent. Tiny shifts is radiative forcing caused by the Milankovitch cycles together with feedbacks produced the ice ages. An order of magnitude higher radiative forcing caused by greenhouse gases however is having no effect? Bizarre.

    • A 55% increase in CO2 from 180 to 280ppmv is a large factor driving ice age cycles. Milankovitch forcing appears to be just the “blasting cap”, not the “explosive”.

  12. what next? will Smith subpoena 6000+ climate scientists and 20+ international national science associations ( or more) and have them all testify so that he can find out how they have secretly been communicating to plan this “hoax” to reset and adjust all thermometers without leaving any record of their plot.

  13. The deniers are looking for a new “climategate”. Of course even if “damaging” emails are found, they will amount to nothing. All they really want is a bit of mud to throw around at the Paris talks.

  14. Seems like a great subject for the hashtag #academicnoir that is going around twitter at the moment

    https://twitter.com/hashtag/academicnoir?src=hash

  15. Considering the gerrymandering of Smith’s 21st district (http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/fyiwebdocs/PDF/congress/dist21/m1.pdf)
    No wonder he expects everyone to skew their data to get the results they want.

    • Susan Anderson

      Terrific comparison, gets right to the point, which is this is not about science but borderline criminal political manipulation

  16. I don’t know if anyone has seen this, October was the warmest on record by a wide margin in the NASA record.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

  17. David B. Benson

    Tamino — You wrote a blog post refuting the existence of the so-called pause. Be so good as to send Representative Smith a printed copy.

    • Dito. Pretty please! I recall an animation of one of your graphs contributed in the comments which graphically demonstrates the statistical stupidity of the “pause”.

  18. From that “dirtyenergymoney” site, a small data set.
    I wonder — could this be useful as a statistical lesson on the arithmetic used in detection of trends? Possibly there’s a comparable list for, oh, introduction of bills by subject by year, or something, to correlate.

    Since 1999 $460,145
    113th (2013-2014) $104,550
    112th (2011-2012) $86,750
    111th (2009-2010) $54,150
    110th (2007-2008) $48,800
    109th (2005-2006) $54,975
    108th (2003-2004) $43,500
    107th (2001-2002) $37,200
    106th (1999-2000) $30,220