Photo: Jessica Paterson
I am holding members of the U.S. government in contempt of science.
Real climate scientists have been threatened by Big Oil shills and right wing talk media for decades. More recently those threats have proliferated throughout government. Esteemed climate scientist Michael Mann, and others, have received death threats.
The Congress and Executive Branches own this. These threats and lies come from the same sources that feed the credibility swamp in Washington, DC.
Here are just a few examples of the thoroughly discredited propaganda coming from some Senate and House members: “There has been no warming in the past 18 years.” “Switching to sustainable energy sources will cost millions of jobs.” “Climate change is a hoax.” “Global warming is a conspiracy so that climate scientists can get grant money.” “There is no scientific consensus on climate change.” These accusations and lies are premeditated and scripted through the Heritage Foundation, the Koch Brothers (Board members of the John Birch Society) and other far right ideological government officials who have painted themselves into a corner of blind ideology.
More recently there was this tweet by President Elect Donald J. Trump:
The majority of Americans, Republican and Democrat, believe that global warming and climate change is real and is happening. This disconnect between the politicians and the public is an insult to representative government.
Perhaps the greatest threat is that thoroughly documented and authenticated truth is no longer the public’s expectation of their government or elected officials.
Some elected officials are seeking to inhibit legitimate scientific communication.
In 2015, according to the Miami Herald, Governor Rick Scott of Florida established an unwritten policy not to use the terms “global warming,” “climate change” or “sustainability” in any press release or official correspondence. This went into effect soon after he took office in 2011. This was verified by Christopher Byrd, attorney for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) who said he received this directive from his superiors in the Office of General Counsel.
In December 2016, The Washington Post released a story that President Elect Trump’s transition team sent the Department of Energy (DOE) a questionnaire with 74 questions. What was alarming was a request that the DOE:
“…identify which employees and contractors have worked on forging an international climate pact as well as domestic efforts to cut the nation’s carbon output.
“The questionnaire requests a list of those individuals who have taken part in international climate talks over the past five years and ‘which programs within DOE are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.’”
The rhetoric and actions of the Trump transition team is a clear attempt to target, intimidate and silence the scientific community. It attacks the very agencies that were created to inform the government of the best available facts and carry out the laws enacted by the government.
Science is the pursuit of knowledge, period.
Scientific research requires the free exchange of ideas, methods and data. The politicization of science removes the absolute objectivity that is essential to scientific investigation. Science does not censor research that might disagree with the majority. It welcomes evidence from all inquiry, pro and con to accepted theory. Accepted theory, however, must rest on the preponderance of the evidence.
The Trump cabinet nominations are a litany of climate science deniers and the billionaire elite. It has become abundantly clear that these nominations herald an attempt to silence the truth. It corrupts the freedom to express the scientific consensus of virtually all academic scientific institutions and >97% of climate scientists.
True knowledge is a never ending reiterative process. The truth is not revealed when threatened or punished. The “enhanced interrogation” tactics shown in congressional committee meetings only reveals the anti-science, anti-intellectualism of ideological demagoguery.
Suppressing the consensus of federally funded scientific work from institutions like the U.S. Department of Energy, is censorship. The publication and free exchange of ideas by scientists must be protected.
The mandate of the following official government institutions is to sort through the data and identify what is applicable and credible before offering a position.
If the DOE, EPA, DoD and other federally mandated organizations say the Earth is cooling, I’m going to get my coat. If they say the planet is warming, I’m going to look for shade.
In 1863, an Act of Congress established the National Academy of Sciences (NAS); and charged it with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Today nearly 500 members of the NAS have won Nobel Prizes. Today the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (founded in 1914) is one of the premier international journals publishing the results of original peer reviewed research. The research on climate change is one of the most time relevant topics covered by the NAS. (The National Academy of Sciences and climate change)
In 1970 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established under Republican President Richard M. Nixon. The mission statement of the EPA is simple, “…to protect human health and the environment.” EPA does not write laws. It can set standards applicable to the laws passed by Congress and the Executive. Those standards are based on extensive research from numerous sources and rigorous research. That research clearly identifies climate change as a major threat to human health and the environment. EPA publishes the findings, recommendations, and standards on a wide range of areas affected by climate change. Placing Scott Pruitt, a flagrant climate denier, in charge of the EPA does not change the scientific fact of climate change. It only politicizes the truth.
The role of the Department of Defense (DoD) is to defend American interests. The DoD has published numerous assessments of the significance of climate change on their mission and the security of their facilities, domestically and abroad. As sea levels rise, dozens of DoD facilities will have to be moved or adapted. The DoD has notified Congress and the Executive, in writing, that the ability to complete their mission will be, and is being, compromised by of the cost of climate change adaptation.
Let the science be tested in the lab, instead of prejudicial hearings filled with gish gallop, irrational hyperbole and name calling.
Federal agencies are directed to inform the government of the best available information gathered by career professionals who have dedicated their lives to credible research. Science must not be corrupted by ideology and a lawyer class Congress — a Congress paid for by the billionaire elite, to argue their agenda, regardless of the scientific truth.
Enough is enough. You have thrown down the challenge. I’m calling you out.
You, Senator Jim Inhofe; you, Senator Ted Cruz; you, Senator Ron Johnson; and you, Scott Pruitt. Let’s meet, on public prime time and duke it out. You can attack with your kerfuffle. Science will take you on, one point at a time, backed by the climate science community, academia, and the very federal agencies the U.S. Government put in place to provide the best information possible — Robert’s rules and no quarter.