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Posted at 4:12 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

Will the GOP House attack science, after all?

By Stephen Stromberg

The last time the Republicans controlled Congress, oversight hearings on energy and environmental policy were too often ideological, anti-global warming wastes of effort. Is there any hope this time will be different? It appears that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the House government reform committee and the Republicans' new chief investigator, is backing off of climate issues.

Politico reports that Issa has prepared his agenda for committee hearings in the new Congress. And, though earlier signals indicated that climate science and President Obama's move to regulate greenhouse gases would be targets, they're not on the list.

Issa is aiming to launch investigations on everything from WikiLeaks to Fannie Mae to corruption in Afghanistan in the first few months of what promises to be a high profile chairmanship of the top oversight committee in Congress.

According to an outline of the committee's hearing topics obtained by POLITICO, the House Oversight and Government Reform is also planning to investigate how regulation impacts job creation, the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis; recalls at the Food and Drug Administration and the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to agree on the causes of the market meltdown.

Of those, inquiring into executive branch regulation is probably the item most hostile to President Obama. According to the outline Politico obtained, "The committee will examine how overregulation has hurt job creation and whether the administration intends to try and abuse the regulatory process to implement regulations that Congress would reject."

This could be understood to condemn the regulation of greenhouse emissions that the Environmental Protection Agency began on Sunday. But Kurt Bardella, Issa's spokesman, insists that "EPA really wasn't what we were thinking." The committee aims to get "input from business/small businesses, especially about what, if any, regulatory impediments are impacting their ability to create long-term, permanent jobs." That's still pretty general language. This could mean that, essentially, they're going after health care, not greenhouse gas regulation. Issa's dropping of climate science from his agenda also accords with the image he wants to cultivate of an overseer more interested in rooting out waste and fraud than in throwing ideological bombs.

But, of course, in the case of climate, Issa hardly needs to do the bomb-throwing himself.

Bardella suggests that Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, or Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Ill.), incoming vice-chairman of the House Science Committee, will take the lead on the EPA/global warming portfolio.

Issa's apparent decision not to go after Obama or climate scientists on issues relating to global warming -- at least for now -- doesn't mean the House GOP caucus has suddenly become more reasonable on climate change. Quite the opposite: There plenty of prominent House Republicans who are eager to pile on.

House GOP leaders have blessed Sensenbrenner's role as climate change attack dog. Incoming House Science Chairman Ralph Hall last month admitted of Sensenbrenner, "With his background, his insistence, he can do the mean things that we don't want to do." And in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week, Upton discussed the ways he would try to shut down the EPA.

In other words, the outlook for climate science in the incoming Congress is as bleak as ever.

By Stephen Stromberg  | January 3, 2011; 4:12 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Next: The coming 'insanity' over the debt limit


Ever noticed that for the past thirty years, we've been hearing we have less than ten years to save the planet?

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 3, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The National Science Foundation provided more than to $200,000 to study of why political candidates make vague statements.

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 3, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

A $700,000 federal grant paid for researchers to examine “greenhouse gas emission from organic dairies, which are cause by cow burps, among other things.”

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 3, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded over $600,000 to the Minnesota Zoo to create a wolf “avatar” video game called “WolfQuest.”

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 3, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The 1/1/2011 George Will column had a quote: '"The late Nobel laureate Julius Axelrod said, "Ninety-nine percent of the discoveries are made by 1 percent of the scientists." '

If that is anywhere near close, then the majority of public money spent to fund research is completely wasted.

Personally, I do not support public funding of research that can result in private profit. All publicly funded research discoveries should be public domain.

Posted by: katorga | January 3, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is a hate group.

They're going to attack everything that shouldn't be attacked.

Posted by: lindalovejones | January 3, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

In other words, the outlook for climate "science" in the incoming Congress is as bleak as ever.



Posted by: BradG | January 3, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

In other words, the outlook for climate change science in the incoming Congress is as bleak as ever.



change to represents facts, instead

Posted by: HumanSimpleton | January 3, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are the blood-sucking spawn of pure evil. Which party would want to take away a person's right to get medical care? Republicans. Which party would like to take away your right to keep your children on your medical insurance until they're 26? The Republicans. Which party wants you to be denied medical coverage after a certain dollar point is reached? The Republicans. If the Republicans insist on repealing Obamacare then they will be killed in the 2012 election and Barack will simply veto the bill.. Even now they can't come up with a single Republican who is more popular than Barack Obama. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY

Posted by: boboberg | January 3, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse


Your examples of wasteful spending on science are hilariously small. If you total the 3 scientific programs that you cite, you get $1.5 million. Compare that to, say, the amount of money (not to mention lives) wasted in the idiotic adventure in Iraq: at least $3 trillion. That's $3,000,000 Million dollars, which is 1,500,000 times as big as the cost of the studies you cited. So good luck trying to balance the budget by cutting science. The NSF's total budget is about 0.2% of the total Federal budget, and while, like with any entity, public or private, there is some waste, the NSF represents a far, far better investment than any military spending or tax cuts for millionaires.

Posted by: wongal2001 | January 4, 2011 2:03 AM | Report abuse


As Congressman Issa said today:
“It is unthinkable that we have come to accept having a bureaucracy that has institutionalized waste, fraud and abuse to the point where $125 billion in improper payments were made last year. The first place we should look to make progress on higher costs, increased debt and a stagnant economy is look inward at how taxpayer dollars are being spent and doing more to ensure that tens of billions of dollars are no longer erroneously paid out.”

The National Science Foundation directed nearly a quarter million dollars to a Stanford University professor’s study of how Americans use the Internet to find love.

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 4, 2011 2:24 AM | Report abuse


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent nearly $442,340 million to study the number of male prostitutes in Vietnam and their social setting.

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 4, 2011 2:27 AM | Report abuse


In July, nearly half a million taxpayer dollars went to the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, where wine tasting and castle tours were among the events planned for the conference participants.

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 4, 2011 2:33 AM | Report abuse


Bill O‘Reilly and Rachel Maddow are not to blame for polarizing American
politics, at least according to one researcher. The National Science Foundation
(NSF) provided a $66,638 grant to Temple University political scientist Kevin
Arceneaux to study the influence of political programming in mass media.

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 4, 2011 2:41 AM | Report abuse

The National Science Foundation awarded a $168,766
federal grant to Columbia University researchers to
study the sexual behavior of wild blue monkeys by
analyzing monkey feces in Africa. The project, which
is titled ―Group size and reproductive success of
female and male blue monkeys,‖ seeks ―to understand
the evolutionary basis of group living.‖ However, the
investigation requires the scientists to observe the
monkeys doing some interesting business. According
to the abstract, ―[t]he researchers monitor
demographic changes, female social and sexual
behavior, and collect fecal samples for genetic
paternity assignment using microsatellite loci. The same Columbia University
researcher was previously awarded $276,219 in federal grant money to study
African blue monkeys also by collecting and analyzing feces.

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 4, 2011 2:51 AM | Report abuse


If you have ever wondered what it would be like to fire someone, a new video game
is available to help you get in on the fun! One Dartmouth professor received a
federal grant to create a recession-inspired video game called ―Layoff, a puzzlestyle
game in which players fire as many people as they can as quickly as possible.
The $137,530 award from the National
Science Foundation was given to Mary
Flanagan for a broader project called,
―Values at Play. The initiative seeks
to ―harness the power of video games in
the service of humanistic principles, or
human values, knowing that their work
can have a tremendous and wide-ranging
impact on our world, according to its

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 4, 2011 3:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey Stromberg, how is one anti-global warming? Can one be pro-global warming? Can one be anti-global cooling or pro-global cooling? Just wondering.

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 4, 2011 3:45 AM | Report abuse

Examining if environmental laws cost jobs has nothing to do with 'attacking science'. Global warming may well be occurring, but if it costs too much money to prevent it, that is not a science problem. It is purely a political issue, which is the responsibility of politicians, not scientists.

Posted by: vinyl1 | January 4, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Political Science educated radical liberal elite idiots like Obama and his minions will never understand physical science and the self regulating effects of the earth and its atmosphere.
These idiots actually believe they can regulate anything through political fiat.

Posted by: rteske | January 4, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

The problems with your piece are numberous. Two that deserve a response are:
The headline, that I assume you did not write, should have been, "Will the GOP House attack "FAUX" science, after all?"
The second just because one committee isn't going after the "FAUX" science of climate change, but one of two other committees probably will, hardly sounds like the GOP isn't going after it.

Posted by: colonyr | January 4, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

The outlook is bleak indeed when even Al Gore has cashed out of the climate game. The question is why you journolisters keep shilling for a "science" that was totally discredited in Climategate. You look like tools in service of a failed ideology. Hey, maybe you can regain some cred by going around in a lab coat with a pocket protector! It will work at least as well as this column did.

Posted by: ringo3 | January 4, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

There is no serious scientific debate over whether climate change is happening. It's happening faster than scientists originally predicted. There is only a rhetorical argument against, a lot of noise and empty distractions about ``climategate'' etc. You can see evidence yourself, glaciers and permafrost melting, if you care to travel to Alaska, Greenland or the Alps.
Your children and grandchildren will not thank you for advocating a do-nothing, or drill, baby drill stance.

Posted by: johnqpublic3 | January 4, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

'Climategate' discredited nothing but the social skills of scientists. There was nothing factually wrong or intentionally falsified with any of the science.

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 4, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

You present actual reasoned argument against the global warming/climate change; I'm actually shocked! It is appreciated that you can ask whether or not the costs are justified.
To do that however, you need to know what the likelyhood of the downside to climate change occurring. That is where science comes in. Politicians can't make valid choices without facts supporting or disproving what they are deciding on.

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 4, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

@rteske wrote:
"radical liberal elite idiots like Obama and his minions will never understand physical science and the self regulating effects of the earth and its atmosphere."
That implies that you and the skeptics of climate change *do* understand how the environment works.
Please, do tell how you happen to know that pumping millions of years worth of CO2 into the atmosphere in just 200 years *won't* be a problem. Actual scientific PROOF, not platitudes that we can't possibly change something as big as the earth or that it's all just natural even though it's going faster than we have at anytime in the fossil/atmospheric records.

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 4, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

here we go again with the republican deniers. the bushies substituted politics for science and the republicans are gearing up to do it again.

Posted by: RalphE2 | January 4, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

It's elementary Watson. If they oppose evolution then they oppose science. It's a good chance they are a Republican or a teabagger. Sad when you think Republicans from years back like Ike, Nixon and G.HW Bush actually respected science. Unlike creationist young earthers like Palin, Huckabee who think the earth is 6000 years old and Jesus saddled up a dinosaur and rode it.

The same folks who want to retry the Scopes Monkey trail i.e the Dover PA, Cobb Cty GA Science book cases. Both cases laughed out of court.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | January 4, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

to all,

inasmuchas essentially the same sorts of "climate experts", "international organizations", "research groups", "academics" & "noted scientists" begged us to spend BILLIONS of dollars in the mid-1980s (when i was a grad student) to deal with the "coming ice age crisis", that was to happen withing 5-10 years, PLEASE tell me why, in 500 words or less, that i should believe in this (dubious) theory (and that is ALL that "manmade global warming" is: an UNproven & perhaps UNPROVABLE theory) now.
("fool me once, it's your fault; fool me twice, it's my fault" comes immediately to mind.)

THE TRUTH is that there is NO actual PROOF that "manmade global warming" and/or "manmade climate change" exists
is there any real liklihood that such a thing might exist in a 100 or a 1000 years
absent any such irrefutable PROOF, spend NONE of the taxpayer's money on that theory.
(there is, of course, natural "global warming", which is cyclic & caused by the SUN!)

just my opinion, based on a great deal of reading.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | January 4, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

The Science behind global warming, if some from the far right and fossil fuel interests would care to study AGW- THE DATA is very startling.

Every Thermal maximum in earths geologic history (natural climate change & cycles) Has been caused by the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

The PETM(Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum) The most extreme change in Earth surface conditions during the Cenozoic Era began at the Paleocene/Eocene boundary, 55.8 million years ago. Was associated with rapid (in geological terms) global warming, profound changes in marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and major perturbations in the carbon cycle

Average global temperatures increased by ~6°C (11°F) within about 20,000 years. This is based on several lines of evidence. The warming today is happening at a pace of 20 times of the PETM!

It took 20,000 years in the PETM for the C02 to double in the atmosphere- at the pace we are going now- it will take less then 100!

Posted by: sleepership | January 9, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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