A non-profit is trying to get professional science societies tosignÂ a letter condemning a House Republicaninvestigation of the governmentâ€™s climate agencyover a study that drastically rewrote the global temperaturerecord.
The letter may have actually been written byaÂ left-wingÂ environmental activist, and notThe American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)personnel — undercutting the notion this letterisÂ the work of aÂ disinterested scientificbody.
The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained the AAAS letter, andan examination of its metadata shows the document was created by Michael Halperin, who works for theUnion of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
UCS is a left-wing environmental group that opposes fossil fuelsand claims global warming â€œis already havingsignificant and harmful effects on our communities, our health, andour climate.â€ The group claimsÂ the oilindustry is engaged in a â€œcoordinatedcampaign of deceptionâ€ on climate science led byâ€œExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell,Peabody Energy, and other members of the fossil fuelindustry.â€
UCS members have given thousands of dollars to Democratic politicians over theyears, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), whilegiving nothing to Republicans. UCS has also spent more than $5million lobbying lawmakers and federal agencies since 1998,according to CRP.
The UCS-written AAAS letter is in response to an investigationled by Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith into a study published byNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) claiming the 10- to 15-year â€œhiatusâ€in global warming never existed. The studysaysÂ newly â€œadjustedâ€temperature data does â€œnot support the notion ofa global warmingâ€˜hiatus.â€™â€
Smith asked NOAA for records regarding the study, includingcommunications from agency employees surrounding thestudyâ€™s methodology and public relations effort.NOAA gave the committee publicly available data about the study,but refuses to turn over emails and other communications toSmith.
NOAA says such records â€œessential to frankdiscourse among scientists.â€ The science agency says ithas a history of protecting the â€œconfidentialityof deliberative scientific discussions.â€
Liberal media outlets and environmentalists, including UCSâ€™ Halperin, castSmithâ€™s investigation as aâ€œwitch hunt.â€NOAAâ€™s refusal to turn over records likelyinspired AAAS to circulate a letter of support for NOAA — aletter that may have actually been written by Halperin.
â€œThese excessively broad inquiries threatento inhibit the free exchange of ideas across scientific disciplinesnot only for NOAA, but for other government experts and theacademic and industry scientists with whom theycollaborate,â€ according to the AAAS letter to otherscience societies possibly written by Halperin.
â€œWe are concerned that establishing apractice of aggressive inquiry into federal scientists whosefindings may bear on policy in ways that some find unpalatablecould well have a chilling effect on the willingness of governmentscientists to conduct research that intersects with policy-relevantscientific questions,â€ the letter reads.â€œThe repercussions of thecommitteeâ€™s actions could go well beyond climatescience, setting a precedent to question other controversial topicssuch as genetically-modified organisms and vaccines that haveregulatory and policy implications.â€
NOAA has agreed to let scientists, policy experts and otheremployees be interviewed by Smithâ€™s committeestaff, but still wonâ€™t release emails.
Things could get difficult for NOAA, however, as Smith nowclaims whistleblowers told the committee theagencyâ€™s study on theâ€œhiatusâ€ wasâ€œrushedâ€ and may have ignoredâ€œestablished and standard NOAA scientificprocesses and potentially violating NOAAâ€™sscientific integrity policies.â€
AAAS denied Halperin wrote the letter in a response toTheDCNF’s request for comment:
It sounds as though you received a very early version of aninter-society letter that has not been finalized nor approved. Asyou saw in the metadata, multiple people have provided input toit.
Michael Halperin of the UCS is not the author; that would be aninaccurate statement. He is one of a number of individuals who haveoffered us their input. The letter has undergone substantialchanges since Mr. Halperin shared his input. AAAS will take allinput under advisement.
Halperin also denied to TheDCNF he wrote the letter:
We have spoken with AAAS and others in the science communityabout how to respond to the NOAA subpoena. AAAS is the author ofthe letter. AAAS is taking suggestions from UCS and a number ofother scientific organizations who expect to be among thesignatories to the final letter.
AAAS added the final version of the letter would be“substantially different” from the one obtained byTheDCNF. Halperin also noted AAAS likely used his ideas as “astarting point” for the letter condemning Smith’s NOAAinvestigation.
AAAS’ spokeswoman said her colleague did a “saveas” after she got “input” from Halperin on theletter instead of starting a new document.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: TheDCNF obtained a draft copy of anAAAS letter to be sent to Rep. Smith regarding his NOAAinvestigation. AAAS claims the letter went through “multiplepeople” and Halperin is just one of many who gave his input.The metadata, however, shows only two people worked on the draftletter before it was obtained by TheDCNF — Halperin and KaseyWhite, the policy director at the Geological Society of America.The letter originated from Halperin’s computer and was sentout to a “Climate Science WorkingGroup”Â email list by White. White’s emailasks those on it to let her colleague know if they would sign ontothe letter by Monday.Â