The current leadership of the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology has a fraught relationship with climate science. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who chairs the committee, has used her subpoena powers to target NOAA climate scientists whose temperature dataset he doesn’t like. He has also gone after the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general who are conducting an ExxonMobil securities fraud investigation related to the public denial of climate change.
On Thursday, the commission’s Twitter account jumped on this anti-climate science bandwagon. It tweeted a link to a story titled “Global Temperatures Drop. Icy silence from climate alarmists” which was published by Breitbart – the hard-right, white-nationalist support news outlet that saw its chairman, Steve Bannon, become President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist.
The article was written by James Delingpole, a columnist who has made a career of offensive polemics against climate science. (In an episode of BBC’s Horizon, Delingpole famously admitted that he never reads scientific papers and called himself “an interpreter of interpretations.”) In this case, Delingpole usually pasted a few scornful quotes from a Daily mail story written by David Rose – who also has a long history of writing deeply misleading stories about climate science.
of rose Daily mail story used satellite measurements of atmospheric temperatures only by land to claim that a drop in temperatures since the middle of the year “proves” that the warmest annual records of 2014, 2015, and (soon) 2016 nothing to do with global warming. Instead, Rose claims it was all due to El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean – a claim that is very clearly false, as long-term warming far exceeds the year-to-year variation caused by El Niño and La Nina. Even the dataset chosen by Rose shows the long-term warming trend.
After a particularly strong El Niño in 1997 and 1998 pushed Earth’s average surface temperature to a major record, those who rejected climate science’s conclusions argued for years that global warming stopped in 1998. Another 1998 record, the popular excuse was “Well that’s just because this one is a warm El Niño year!” After 2015 absolutely broke the record, some climate scientists joked about how long it would take someone to argue that now global warming had stopped in 2015. If you had “less than 1 year” in an office pool, congratulations.
Popularizing this obvious misinformation wasn’t the only eyebrow-raising tweet from the House Science Committee account this week. On Wednesday, the account retweeted an article about a Utah support group made up of people angry about the impending impacts of climate change — mocking them for their concern.
Another group is ‘dealing’ with climate change in a non-scientific way along with the other green groups who prioritize politics and emotion over facts https://t.co/PF5lrWyXBu
— Sci, Space, & Tech Cmte (@HouseScience) November 30, 2016
Ars asked a spokesperson for the House Science Committee for comment on the decision to post these tweets, but no response has been received at this time.
This is not the first time the House Science Committee has tweeted Breitbart articles on climate change. Last November, it even tweeted a Breitbart story titled “Changing the data to get climate change”. The author of that story? Congressman Lamar Smith.