Senate Commerce Feb. 7 climate science hearing follow-up: Witness testimony and archived Webcast

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Witness testimony and an archived Webcast of the hearing on “Climate Change Research and Scientific Integrity,” held by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on February 7, are available on the Committee’s Web site. CSW Director Rick Piltz testified as one of a panel of six witnesses.

Some annotation of the archived Webcast of the hearing to help guide viewers:

The Webcast posted by the Committee is visually a very basic document.  It begins with a static title-page screen for some time before the hearing actually gets underway. The live hearing does not begin until 19:47 into the video feed that is archived. 
There are opening statements from Committee Chair Inouye (D-HI), Vice-Chair Stevens (R-AK), and Senators McCain (R-AZ), Kerry (D-MA), Lautenberg (D-NJ), and new, first-term Senator Klobuchar (D-MN). 
The opening statements are followed by witness oral testimony, in order:  Brennan, Anthes, Knutson, Mahoney, Piltz, and Rowland. 
Bill Brennan, Acting Director of the Climate Change Research Program, made a statement as the sole government witness and thus stayed right on the official line. 
Rick Anthes, President of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, spoke as a co-chair of a recently issued report of the National Research Council on the future of the global observing system, and presented very serious concerns about the emerging crisis of the degradation of the system.  (We will have much more to say about this in later posts.)
Tom Knutson, a scientist at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, who faced political interference from the political level of NOAA and the Dept. of Commerce with his freedom to communicate about his reserach on hurricanes and global warming, spoke about his experience and the current situation.
Jim Mahoney, former Director of the Climate Change Science Program and now an independent environmental consultant, testified on a number of issues but passed up the opportunity to make any really revealing statements about his experience as a former Bush Administration political appointee.
Rick Piltz testified on the same topics he covered in his January 30 House Oversight Committee hearing testimony, with an additional discussion (mostly in the written testimony) about the Administration’s dramatic ongoing cutbacks in the Climate Change Science Program budget, in particular in the global climate observing system.  (This latter also raises issues of the Administration’s relationship to the integrity of the research program, which we will be developing further.)
Dr. Rowland, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on the chemistry of stratospheric ozone depletion, testified from an independent scientist’s perspective, touching on the issue of interference with scientific communication. 
 
For those who are interested in the Climate Science Watch / Government Accountability Project material from the hearing:
CSW Director Piltz’s oral testimony runs from 1:09 – 1:16.
In the Q&A, Piltz is questioned by Senators Inouye (1:26 – 1:29), Lautenberg (1:41-1:44 and 1:46-1:50), Nelson (D-FL) (1:51-1:53 and 2:03-2:06), and Kerry (2:06-2:12 and 2:26-2:27). 
The hearing gained energy as it went along, in particular with some intensity in Sen. Kerry’s lengthy comments and Q&A starting at 2:06. 
The hearing adjourned at 2:29. 

The Commitee Web site includes the following opening statements and witness testimony:

Majority Statements

Minority Statements

     
  •   Ted Stevens
    (Republican, Alaska, Committee Vice-Chair)

Witnesses:

     
  • Mr. Bill Brennan
      Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
      Acting Chairman, Climate Change Science Program
  •  

  • Dr. Richard Anthes
      President
      University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
  •  

  • Mr. Thomas R. Knutson
      Research Meteorologist, Climate Dynamics and Prediction Group
      Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  •  

  • Dr. James R. Mahoney
      Environmental Consultant
  • Former Director, Climate Change Science Program
     

  • Mr. Rick Piltz
      Director
      Climate Science Watch, Government Accountability Project
  •  

  • Dr. F. Sherwood Rowland
      Bren Research Professor, Chemistry and Earth System
      School of Physical Sciences, University of California

Additional written testimony submitted for the record:

     
  • Peter Gleick [PDF]
      President, Pacific Institute
      (see also press release issued by the Pacific Institute on 7 February 2007)

 

 

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