Today’s New York Times has a terrific op-ed piece by Michael Mann, who directs the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University and is a member of AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure. Mann writes about the efforts of Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, “to go after the government’s own climate scientists, whose latest study is an inconvenience to his views.” I blogged some weeks ago about some of Smith’s earlier assaults on science. Now Smith — who has no scientific training whatsoever — has subpoenaed Kathryn D. Sullivan, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, demanding all internal notes, emails and correspondence concerning a study its scientists published in the journal Science. Here is Mann’s account of what happened:
The study found that the “rate of global warming during the last 15 years has been as fast as or faster than what was seen during the latter half of the 20th century.”
This conclusion disputed the claim, seized upon by climate-change deniers like Mr. Smith, that there has been a slowdown in the rate of global warming in recent years. In fact, 2014 was the warmest year on record, and this year is likely to end up even warmer.
Fortunately, NOAA did not acquiesce to Mr. Smith’s outrageous demands. The agency pointed out that it had provided Mr. Smith’s committee with the scientific briefings, data and studies behind the Science article, as well as two thorough briefings by NOAA scientists. But Mr. Smith was not satisfied. He repeated his demand for all subpoenaed documents and warned of “civil and/or criminal enforcement mechanisms” if the agency did not comply. . . .
As the American Meteorological Society pointed out in a letter to Mr. Smith, “implicitly questioning the integrity of the researchers conducting those studies can be viewed as a form of intimidation that could deter scientists from freely carrying out research on important national challenges.”
That, of course, was not the end of it. But read Mann’s op-ed to learn more. You can read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/08/opinion/the-assault-on-climate-science.html