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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

A Reminder: This Guy Runs the House Science Committee

By Phil Plait

Last week, the House Science Committee took a battle ax to NASA’s earth science budget.

So I just want to remind you about Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the chairman of that committee. If you have any doubts at all that he and his fellow Republicans did this very much on purpose—and remember, the vote fell right along party lines—then I urge you to read this: a fact check on Smith’s recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about climate change:

  • Smith wrote that a connection between worsening storms and climate change has been “widely debunked” and that the United Nations doesn’t believe that warming is related to “more severe weather disasters.” Both claims are incorrect. There is some evidence linking climate change to worsening hurricanes, droughts, and other disasters.
  • He mentioned an oft-repeated claim that there has been a “lack of global warming over the past 15 years.” Though the rate of warming has slowed (Editor's note: No it hasn’t; see links below), the world does indeed continue to warm, and cherry-picked data underlie the claims that warming has stopped.
  • Smith quoted an InterAcademy Council report as saying the U.N.’s climate reports had “significant shortcomings in each major step” of the U.N.’s assessment process. That’s misleading. The report found that though there is certainly room for improvement, the U.N.’s process has been “successful overall.”

I suggest you read Greg Laden’s post about global warming getting worse, and Tamino’s post about the faux pause.

I find it fascinating that the only way to justify climate change denial these days is to twist reality so much it turns into a Möbius strip. If global warming isn’t real, then why are so many so misleading about it?

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