Raul Grijalva on witch hunt for climate skeptics

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D.-AZ), in his new role as ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, is going after seven researchers ( Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Judith Curry, Steven Hayward, Roger Pielke, David Legates, and Robert Balling) who dared to present evidence that the government’s position on climate change is wrong. One of the allegations is that these “climate skeptics” are funded by “Big Oil” (not so) while ignoring the fact that “Big Oil” funds many environmental groups.

One of his targets is Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Pielke maintains a blog here: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/

Pielke’s crime, according to Grijalva, is that he has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on climate change and its economic impacts. His 2013 Senate testimony featured the claim, often repeated, that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.” This statement challenges the orthodoxy of anthropogenic global warming.

Pielke’s 2013 testimony contained these heretical statements:

Globally, weather-related losses have not increased since 1990 as a proportion of GDP (they have actually decreased by about 25%).

Insured catastrophe losses have not increased as a proportion of GDP since 1960.
Hurricanes have not increased in the US in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900.

There are no significant trends (up or down) in global tropical cyclone landfalls since 1970 (when data allows for a comprehensive perspective), or in the overall number of tropical cyclones.

Floods have not increased in the US in frequency or intensity since at least 1950.

Flood losses as a percentage of US GDP have dropped by about 75% since 1940.

Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.

Drought has “for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.”

Pielke writes of this situation in a post on The Climate Fix. In that post Pielke notes:

Congressman Grijalva doesn’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none. He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony – which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren’s incorrect views).

Adam Sarvana, communications director for Natural Resources Committee’s Democratic delegation, reinforced the politically-motivated nature of the investigation in an interview:

“The way we chose the list of recipients is who has published widely, who has testified in Congress before, who seems to have the most impact on policy in the scientific community”

Let’s see – widely published, engaged with Congress, policy impact — these are supposed to be virtues of the modern academic researcher, right?

Grijalva sent a hypocritical letter to the president of the University of Colorado complaining about potential conflicts of interest on funding. (See letter here) Pielke notes in his post that when he testified before Congress, he disclosed his “funding and possible conflicts of interest. So I know with complete certainty that this investigation is a politically-motivated ‘witch hunt’ designed to intimidate me (and others) and to smear my name.”

Pielke concludes his post by writing “When ‘witch hunts’ are deemed legitimate in the context of popular causes, we will have fully turned science into just another arena for the exercise of power politics. The result is a big loss for both science and politics.”

Comments from Dr. Roy Spencer,U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite and Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville:


One of the biggest misconceptions about climate research funding is that government funding is unbiased. That is, the belief that government funding does not favor one outcome over another.

Government funding programs are, in part, formulated by government political appointees who prefer research with outcomes that support their government programs.

Similarly, university research scientists who provide peer review of proposals for funding favor those proposals which offer to make findings that everyone knows will help to perpetuate funding. After all, it is difficult to get Congress to agree to fund non-problems, and yet climate research funding has to continue in order for the current marching army of lifelong climate researchers to have jobs.

Follow the money, folks.

So, while we wait to see just how the current witch hunt plays out (which I am told has now been extended to some skeptical-leaning think tanks), let me ask:

1) Are you OK with the fact that U.S. energy policy has been informed by an international scientific organization (the IPCC) whose outgoing chairman this week admitted that global warming is his “religion“? Or that others in the IPCC have admitted their goal is global income redistribution? Is this the “unbiased” source of scientific information you want your government to rely on for energy policy?

2) Are you OK with the fact that U.S. government funding for non-human sources of climate change has been almost non-existent?

The governmental Goliath is coming after David. It will be interesting to see what happens.

The American Meteorological Society to Grijalva, saying in part:

“Publicly singling out specific researchers based on perspectives they have expressed and implying a failure to appropriately disclose funding sources — and thereby questioning their scientific integrity — sends a chilling message to all academic researchers.” See full letter here.

The Republicans strike back:

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OKla.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), today led all EPW Republicans in a letter promoting scientific discovery and academic freedom. The letter was sent to the same 107 recipients of letters sent earlier this week by Congressional Democrats to universities, private companies, trade groups, and non-profit organizations, asking for detailed information on funding climate science. As explained in the EPW Republican letter sent today, there is a real concern the Democrats inquiry may impose a chilling effect on scientific inquiry and free speech.

“Rather than empower scientists and researchers to expand the public discourse on climate science and other environmental topics, the [Democrats] letter could be viewed as an attempt to silence legitimate intellectual and scientific inquiry,” said the Senators in today’s letter. See letter here.

“It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.” Voltaire

Note: i live in Grijalva’s Congressional district and I have written him expressing displeasure with his tactics.  I will update this post if he responds.