The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will not comply with a House Science, Space and Technology Committee subpoena for communications related to a climate study published in June.
The House science committee wants all communication related to a climate change study. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
A committee aide confirmed NOAA will not turn over communications related to the study that showed there has been no slowdown in the rate of global warming, as was previously thought. The burning of fossil fuels is believed by most scientists to be causing global warming through the release of greenhouse gases.
Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith said the committee would use all the tools at its disposal to continue its oversight activities on NOAA.
“It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades,” the Texas Republican said. “The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made.
“NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda. The agency has yet to identify any legal basis for withholding these documents.”
Smith, a climate changer doubter, was criticized this week by Democrats and other climate scientists who say he is leading a witch hunt against scientists who come up with results with which he disagrees.
However, those close to the committee say the investigation is a necessary part of its oversight activities and is not targeting scientists. The subpoena is asking for all communications by government employees who were connected with the study and its public release, not just the scientists who worked on it.
Tom Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, did the climate change study. Karl’s study reported the rate of global warming in the last 15 years has been as fast, if not faster than, the rate of global warming during the latter half of the 20th century.
As a part of the study, Karl used temperatures from 30,000 surface stations, as compared to the 7,000 stations used in older studies. The data also included temperatures from 2014, the hottest year on record.
Ciaran Clayton, director of communications for NOAA, said the agency has complied with multiple requests for data, methodology and discussion with committee members. However, it draws the line on communications that could contain confidential scientific discussions.
“There is no truth to the claim that the study was politically motivated or conducted to advance an agenda,” Clayton said. “The published findings are the result scientists simply doing their job — ensuring the best possible representation of historical global temperature trends is available to inform decision makers, including the U.S. Congress.
“This study, led by a renowned climate scientist, was independently peer reviewed and vetted by a well-regarded scientific journal. It is standard practice to take new climate data into account to better refine current findings. The study was not initially conducted to refute the climate hiatus claim.”