Just before 2 a.m. on February 19, the war on climate science showed its grip on the U.S. House of Representatives as it voted to eliminate U.S. funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Republican majority, on a mostly party-line vote of 244-179, went on record as essentially saying that it no longer wishes to have the IPCC prepare its comprehensive international climate science assessments. Transcript of floor debate follows.
To give you the flavor of how the know-nothings are in the saddle, here’s the debate on the amendment to de-fund the IPCC (my unofficial transcript).
The amendment was sponsored by second-term Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri), who obviously knows nothing about climate science or the IPCC, and I expect could care less. His talking points were clearly provided by some denial machine operative and Mr. Leutkemeyer simply followed the script. Leading off with a reference to the stolen climate scientists emails (‘climategate’), he said:
Luetkemeyer: Scientists manipulated climate data, suppressed legitimate arguments in peer-reviewed journals, and researchers were asked to destroy emails, so that a small number of climate alarmists could continue to advance their environmental agenda.
Since then, more than 700 acclaimed international scientists have challenged the claims made by the IPCC, in this comprehensive 740-page report. These 700 scientists represent some of the most respected institutions at home and around the world, including the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense, U.S. Air Force and Navy, and even the Environmental Protection Agency.
For example, famed Princeton University physicist Dr. Robert Austin, who has published 170 scientific papers and was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Austin told a congressional committee that, unfortunately, climate has become a political science. It is tragic the some perhaps well-meaning but politically motivated scientists who should know better have whipped up a global frenzy about a phenomenon which is statistically questionable at best.
Mr. Chairman, if the families in my district have been able to tighten their belts, surely the federal government can do the same and stop funding an organization that is fraught with waste and abuse. My amendment simply says that no funds in this bill can go to the IPCC. This would save taxpayers millions of dollars this year and millions of dollars in years to come. In fact, the President has requested an additional $13 million in his fiscal 2012 budget request.
My constituents should not have to continue to foot the bill for an organization to keep producing corrupt findings that can be used as justification to impose a massive new energy tax on every American.
That is now the prevailing viewpoint of the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Speaking in opposition to the amendment, not surprisingly, was Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California), who actually does know something about the issue. This is the position now officially rejected by the House of Representatives:
Waxman: The U.S. contributes only $2.3 million to the IPCC. Our $2.3 million contribution leverages a global science assessment with global outreach and global technical input – a process we could not carry out alone and one that could come to a halt without U.S. support.
Its work on climate change is unparallelled, and its four assessment reports to date have brought together thousands of scientists around the world, in disciplines ranging from atmospheric sciences, to forest ecology, to economics, to provide objective and policy-neutral information. The panel has attracted hundreds of the best U.S. scientists. In fact, a majority of the research that’s reviewed is undertaken in U.S. institutions.
The IPCC’s work has been lauded by the U.S. Academy of Sciences, and by the Interacademy Council, a body comprised of the national academies of the world. The organization won the Nobel Prize in 2007 for its assessment work.
This institution is a nonpartisan and technically extraordinarily sound organization. The Republican majority has already voted to prevent EPA from using funds to regulate greenhouse gases. Now we’re being asked to de-fund the work of international scientists to learn about the threat.
The assumption seems to be that there is no threat, and therefore let’s not study it. I think that is not a wise assumption. This is a very shortsighted proposal to cut these funds. It’s like putting our heads in the sand, denying the science, and then stopping the scientists from working – because they might come to a different conclusion from the Republican Party’s ideology, in believing that there’s no problem and therefore we don’t need to know anything about it.
If we’re not going to do anything here at home, at least work internationally to understand the threat and work with other countries to combat it.
Leutkemeyer: The international panel the last year or two has been funded at the rate of about $12.5 million per year. The President has it in his 2012 budget at $13 million a year. This group has been in the headlines for their activities with regard to how they are trying to tinker with the data they put out. Why would we want to fund a group of folks who are nefarious and give us incorrect information? It’s beyond me.
Such a dim parochialist. And thus the congressional denialists (‘folks who are nefarious and give us incorrect information’?) become complicit in trashing the climate science community as collateral damage in their anti-regulatory crusade.
Waxman, concluding: I don’t see how the gentleman from Missouri can say that this is a ‘nefarious’ group of people. After all, these are scientists who have won the Nobel Prize for their scientific acitivites. I used to think that people from Missouri were the ‘show-me’ state. Now this gentleman from Missouri is suggesting, I don’t want to know about it. And I don’t think that’s what the position should be of the United States Congress. Let’s learn the facts, and then decide what to do about it, and not stop trying to learn what the science is behind the global threats.
The Senate can put a stop to this.