by Judith Curry
We need to work to curb climate change, and a big step is to raise our voices to change the conversation in Washington. Call these deniers out. Hold them accountable. Ask them if they will admit climate change is a problem. –
Note: revisions have been made to the original post.
The website Organizing for Action http://www.barackobama.com/climate-deniers/ with a list of climate change deniers in both the House and the Senate.
What is the relationship between OFA and President Obama? Here is what the OFA web site says:
Does President Obama support the establishment and activities of OFA?
OFA is advocating for the agenda that President Obama has presented to the nation, and as an organization dedicated to this purpose, OFA has been grateful for the expression of support for its work by the President, Vice President and First Lady. Although it was privately established and will be privately operated, without government funding, OFA will work hard to retain the support and confidence of the President by effectively advocating for his Administration’s core agenda. It also looks forward to working with other civic organizations that are similarly committed to the successful enactment of this agenda.
Do the organizations working closely with or in alliance with OFA include the Democratic Party?
No. OFA is not a partisan political organization and will not engage in electoral activity with any partisan political organization. It welcomes Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to support its work, and its advocacy will be directed to all Americans, without regard to party or other political affiliations.
What is the relationship of OFA and Obama for America?
Obama for America was the re-election committee of the President while OFA is a nonprofit nonpartisan organization not involved in electoral activity. The organizations are separate and established for different purposes. Organizing for Action will draw in part on the network, technology and volunteers that distinguished the President’s successful re-election effort, but only for its purposes of issue advocacy and mobilization of citizens in support of the President’s legislative agenda. OFA will lease and buy assets from Obama for America as the re-election committee retires its debt and prepares to terminate.
The relationship between President Obama and OFA is fuzzy, but it is hard to imagine that a major website with the web address barackobama.com has nothing to do with Obama’s presidency and agenda.
Back to the climate change web page:
We will continue updating the list below as supporters get answers to the basic question of whether their representatives in Congress accept the science on climate change. We hope that this list will shrink as members clarify what they truly believe about climate change.
The website includes a list of 87 Representatives from the House (20% of total), and 23 Senators (23% of total), along with a brief quote for each citing evidence of their denialism.
By my own accounting, only a fraction of these are denying either that climate has been warming or that humans do not contribute to atmospheric CO2 or CO2 does not influence climate.
The list includes the following as ‘deniers’:
Rep. Marsha Blackburn
“Also absent from the discussion in Copenhagen is the climate-gate scandal. Recently leaked e-mails reveal climate scientists have a long track record of manipulating data to hide scientific evidence that contradicts the global warming establishment. And why? To bully citizens and lawmakers into supporting job-killing energy tax schemes. This scandal raises serious questions about the Democrat’s climate control plans, questions that deserve a transparent investigation, not a rush to judgement by the bureaucrats in Copenhagen.”
Rep. Kevin Brady
“Climategate reveals a serious lack of integrity in the underlying data and models, such that it is doubtful that any process can be trusted until the data and models are validated and their integrity assured.”
Despite a widespread scientific consensus, the West Virginia Republican said she’s “not convinced” that human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide are leading to global warming that will alter the planet’s climate in ways that could be dangerous.
Rep. Michael Conaway
Science is never settled…they changed the phraseology because the climate isn’t warming.
Rep. Randy Forbes
Elected officials need to depend on experts in the field to make determinations on the degree to which our planet is warming, and there is evidence among scientists and researchers pointing in both directions.
Representative Cory Gardner, a freshman Republican from Colorado and a skeptic of human-caused global warming… ““I think the climate is changing, but I don’t believe humans are causing that change to the extent that’s been in the news.”
Rep. Phil Gingrey
Filed petition with EPA claiming: “Climategate reveals a serious lack of integrity in the underlying data and models, such that it is doubtful that any process can be trusted until the data and models are validated and their integrity assured”
Rep. Gregg Harper
“I don’t believe that the science is at all settled on man-made global warming.”
Harris said there is a recent warming trend, but “I don’t understand or know, or I don’t believe anybody really knows, how to place that in historic perspective.” He also said human contribution to climate change “is also a complex question,” and that even if humans are contributing, “can you change that contribution given that we burn a lot of carbon-based products to create the energy we need to run the economy of the world?”
Rep. Cynthia Lummis
“We’re just beginning to explore what mankind’s role is in climate change, so I’d argue that the jury’s still out.”
“We’re all told of course the debate is over and that all the scientists agree… and as all of you know, that is succinctly not the case.”
“Energy independence, green technology, and innovation is something we should pursue as a nation. However, we shouldn’t seek to accomplish that by taxing people based on questionable science. Neither should we ignore domestic energy resources – coal, natural gas, oil – because of baseless claims regarding global warming.”
Rep. Randy Neugebauer
“What we have here is a case of formulating scientific findings that back up policy, instead of creating policy that is backed up by legitimate science. Proponents of man-made global warming in Congress will use every opportunity they have to invite witnesses to testify before Congress who only share their point of view. We now have clear evidence of what we knew all along, that there are perhaps thousands of scientists who don’t share these views, and sadly have been the subject of concerted efforts to discourage and suppress their findings from publication.”
“The emails that emerge from the University of East Anglia call into question the accuracy of the IPCC data.”
Rep. Phil Roe
“Many believe greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to the gradual warming of our planet and changing of our climate. While there are many questions surrounding the science of the issue, it seems to me like we could develop a solution that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions without inflicting catastrophic damage on our economy.”
Rep. Todd Rokita
“The link between manmade carbon emissions and measureable harm to the environment is a topic currently under debate. While there may exist a link, the current debate continues.”
Rep. Paul Ryan
Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow.
Rep. Lamar Smith
“I believe climate change is due to a combination of factors, including natural cycles, sun spots and human activity. But scientists still don’t know for certain how much each of these factors contributes to the overall climate change that the Earth is experiencing,”
“The science regarding climate change is anything but settled. “
Rep. Lee Terry
“There’s an argument here on the true impact of man… Is it really 97 to 3? I don’t think so.”
“The science is not settled.”
Asked if she believed in climate change, she said, “there is scientific evidence that demonstrates there is some impact from human activities. However I don’t think the evidence is conclusive.”
Sen. John Boozman
“Well I think that we’ve got perhaps climate change going on. The question is what’s causing it. Is man causing it, or, you know, is this a cycle that happens throughout the years, throughout the ages. And you can look back some of the previous times when there was no industrialization, you had these different ages, ice ages, and things warming and things. That’s the question.”
“I’ve read the basic scientific studies, and a lot of it doesn’t add up for me,”
“There remains considerable uncertainty about the effect of the many factors that influence climate: the sun, the oceans, clouds, the behavior of water vapor (the main greenhouse gas), volcanic activity, and human activity. Nonetheless, climate-change proponents based their models on assumptions about those factors, and now we know that many of those assumptions were wrong.”
Sen. Deb Fischer
Asked about man-made climate change, Fischer immediately said, ‘I certainly don’t support cap-and-trade.’ She said she believes in weather change, but she said she does not believe man has a huge impact on the climate.
“But the scientific aspect that I still reserving judgment on is the extent to which it’s manmade or natural. And it’s reasonable, considering that there’s at least a natural factor in it, because historically, and you can go to the core drillings in the glaciers to get proof of this, that we’ve had decades and decades, and maybe even centuries of periods of time when there’s been a tremendous rise in temperature, and then a tremendous fall in temperature. And all you’ve got to do is look at the little ice age of the mid-last millennia as an example. And so we’ve got to single out what’s natural and what’s manmade before you can make policy.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch
“There is also some disagreement among scientists as to whether global warming – regardless of its cause – would result in a net benefit or detriment to life on earth. Scientific studies demonstrate overwhelmingly that humans tend to fare better during warming spells than periods of cooling.”
“Well, the science shows that there’s warming. There’s different opinions of exactly what’s causing it.”
“Science has shown us that there has been a gradual warming of the earth over the last 50 years. What is not as clear is whether the cause for this warming is man-made emissions, a cyclical warming of the planet, or a combination of both. Given the uncertainty in the science behind climate change, I believe that we should take proactive steps, both personally and as a nation, to reduce our emissions footprint.”
Sen. Mike Johanns
There is a significant debate as to what role man plays in warming of the climate.
“When you analyze all the data, there is a warming trend according to science. But the jury is out on the degree of how much is manmade.”
Sen. Pat Roberts
“There’s no question there’s some global warming, but I’m not sure what it means. A lot of this is condescending elitism.”
The government can’t change the weather. I said that in the speech. We can pass a bunch of laws that will destroy our economy, but it isn’t going to change the weather. — “I don’t think there’s the scientific evidence to justify it,”
“My view is: I think the data is pretty clear. There has been an increase in the surface temperature of the planet over the course of the last 100 years or so. I think it’s clear that that has happened. The extent to which that has been caused by human activity I think is not as clear. I think that is still very much disputed and has been debated.”
Several things struck me about this web page.
The number of ‘deniers’ in the House of Representatives and Senate are less than 25% of the total. And at least half of these do not hold irrational positions (by my judgment anyways) on the climate change debate. And many of these support cleaning up the environment and an energy policy that includes renewables, independently of their views on climate change. Blaming the lack of a sane U.S. energy and climate policies on climate change ‘deniers’ in Congress does not seem convincing. Labeling of these individuals as deniers (particularly those with rational positions) only serves to polarize the situation. This does not seem like good politics to me.
The factors that seem to contribute to the ‘denialism’ of these Congressmen include:
- Climategate and distrust of climate scientists
- Claims of ‘settled science’, which are not convincing
- Failure to address the issue in a convincing way of how much of the recent warming is anthropogenic (beyond the fuzzy statement of ‘most’)
- Backlash against ‘alarmism’
- Lack of convincing evidence that ‘warm’ is ‘bad’
- Dislike of cap and trade
If President Obama’s supporters in OFA and the consensus scientists focused more on these factors, rather than continued efforts to convince that there is an overwhelming consensus and labelling anyone who disagrees as a ‘denier’, well then maybe some sanity could emerge on energy and climate policy.