Scientists and top officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have agreed to start interviews akin to depositions this week with House investigators, who are demanding to know their internal deliberations on a groundbreaking climate change study.
But the interviews may not be enough to placate the chairman of the House science committee, a global warming skeptic who last week stepped up the pressure on the Commerce Department to comply with his subpoena for e-mails that NOAA has refused to turn over.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) wants thousands of e-mails among scientists and NOAA’s staff of political appointees that he thinks will show that the researchers had something to hide when they refuted claims that global warming had “paused” or slowed over the past decade.
On Friday, Smith appealed to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to force NOAA to comply with his subpoena, telling her that its top officials have “obstructed” the committee’s oversight role.
“More than once, NOAA officials have attempted to shape and direct the Committee’s oversight,” Smith wrote. “Instead of assisting the committee with its Constitutionally-obligated oversight responsibilities, NOAA has refused to voluntarily and under subpoena provide information crucial to the Committee’s ongoing oversight. ” Commerce is NOAA’s parent agency.
“It is the end product of exchanges between scientists — the detailed understanding of scientific work and the data that underpins the authors’ findings — they are key to understanding the conclusions reached,” his letter continued.