Climate Science Misrepresented by House Science Committee Members

Date: May 16th, 2018

Agency: Congress, Federal

Explanation: Bias and Misrepresentation

Scientist: Climate

Several members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology misrepresented climate science during a hearing on May 16, 2018. For example:

  • Committee Chair Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) questioned scientific research showing that sea level rise is caused by climate change. Rep. Smith entered into the record an opinion piece, published in The Wall Street Journal, titled “The Sea Is Rising, but Not Because of Climate Change.” The piece rejects thousands of scientific studies establishing that climate change is causing sea level rise.
  • Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) suggested that land subsidence plays a significant role in sea-level rise, a view that has been widely rejected by mainstream climate scientists. Rep. Brooks also questioned scientific research showing that the Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking. He stated: “there are plenty studies that have come to show with respect to Antarctica that the total ice sheet . . . is increasing, not decreasing.” That view was rebutted by Peter Duffy, the president of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, who indicated that “[w]e have satellite records clearly documenting the shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet and an acceleration of that shrinkage.”
  • Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) incorrectly asserted that scientists were reporting cooling of the Earth in the 1970s. He also questioned whether warming of the Earth would necessarily be bad, referring to “people who theorize that the Earth as it continues to warm is returning to its normal temperature.” That view has been widely rejected by climate scientists.
  • Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) questioned the scientific consensus that human activities are the main driver of climate change and indicated that the Committee should be more “open to different points of view.”