Upcoming March 8 Congressional hearing on “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations”


The U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Power has scheduled a hearing featuring testimony from several prominent climate scientists, including IPCC Working Group II co-chair Christopher Field, Richard Somerville, John Christy, Roger Pielke Sr., Francis Zwiers, and others. The collision between climate science and the dismal political realities of the nation’s capital continues. Not to be missed – by students of science and politics alike.

Climate Science Watch will cover the hearing in a subsequent post.

The hearing, held by the Subcommittee on Energy and Power of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, is scheduled to convene at 10:00 a.m. on March 8 in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  The hearing is open to the public. Opening statements, witness testimony, and a live (and presumably to be archived) webcast will be available online at http://energycommerce.house.gov/.

WITNESS LIST (In alphabetical order)

Dr. John R. Christy
Director, Earth System Science Center
University of Alabama in Huntsville

Dr. Christopher Field
Director, Department of Global Ecology
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Stanford, CA

Dr. Knute Nadelhoffer
Director, University of Michigan Biological Station
University of Michigan

Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.
Senior Research Scientist,
Cooperative Institute for Research in
Environmental Sciences
University of Colorado at Boulder

Dr. Donald Roberts
Professor Emeritus,
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Bethesda, MD

Dr. Richard Somerville
Distinguished Professor Emeritus,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego

Dr. Francis W. Zwiers
Director, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium
University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia

Joe Romm at Climate Progress did a post in advance of the hearing, as usual well worth reading: House GOP line up the usual disinformers for climate science hearing, John Christy and Roger Pielke Sr., plus a DDT-booster!.

We’re inclined to share Chris Mooney’s general obervation on DeSmogBlog about the theater of such hearings, at least in the current political context (“So Now They Call in the Scientists?”):

My view is that it’s certainly better to hear from scientists than not to hear from them—but “science fight” hearings are rarely very enlightening. Some members of the media, the Congress, and the public are able to parse the flurry of claims and counterclaims. But most walk away with the impression that there’s a big “debate” and a lot of “uncertainty.”

So I guess my conclusion is, “two cheers” for the latest hearing. With so much climate skepticism and denial in the current Congress, it’s probably the best you are going to get.

On the other hand, while hearings often tend to be more a matter of political positioning from the members’ viewpoint, rather than really meaningful science education, we’d say the hearing will provide valuable information about the current state of communications between scientists and members of Congress. Students of science, politics, and the science-politics nexus will find much to learn in watching it.

Earlier CSW posts featuring some of the witnesses at the hearing:

Richard Somerville

The Importance of Science in Addressing Climate Change: Scientists’ letter to the U.S. Congress

Somerville Part 1: Better climate science education a task that “will take many years at best”

Somerville Part 2: Six public guidelines for recognizing and rejecting junk climate science and disinformation

Richard Somerville: A Response to Climate Change Denialism

Richard Somerville: Include climate change ethics and equity issues in science research agenda

An eminent climate scientist working to hold government officials accountable

Chris Field

At House hearing, prominent scientists reaffirm climate science’s broad knowledge, urgency to act

Climate Progress interviews Christopher Field and Michael MacCracken on climate change reality

Questions to an IPCC co-chair on ensuring the credibility of IPCC leadership and communications

Leading climate scientists’ U.S. Supreme Court brief in states’ greenhouse gas regulation lawsuit (Massachusetts v. EPA)

Roger Pielke Sr.

Michael MacCracken’s review of Roger Pielke, Sr.’s climate talk to the Marshall Institute

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1 Response to Upcoming March 8 Congressional hearing on “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations”

  1. Mark Anderson says:

    In response to Chris Mooney’s statement regarding the “theater” of scientific testimony in hearings and his poition that most people walk away with the notion that there is a great deal of uncertainty, I would like to quote the Executive Summary of “Degrees of Risk: Defining a Risk Management Framework for Climate Security” published Feb. 2011 by E3G.org
    “… it is hard to imagine a politician trying to argue that counter-terrorism measures were unnecessary because the threat of attack was uncertain. But, precisely this arguement is often used by opponents of action on climate change to argue against even small measures to mitigate the threat, or build resilience to impacts.”
    Unfortunately, this type of reasoning is predominant in Congress and especially so in the denial camp that any voice of reason and sense is ignored because doing so is politicaly expedient for the deniers as it is in the interests of their financial backers and industry lobbyists. What is most hypocritical is the deniers are mostly good conservatives ( an oxymoron I know) who place high value on National Security but ruen a blind eye, even as the Dept of Defense spends millions on determining risk and developing contingencies for such scenarios. Go figure.

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