The Ongoing Fight Over Global Warming: Dueling Republicans
Rep. Boehlert is concerned with the possible negative impact such inquiries could have upon future research. This highlights the divide on this issue.
The unusual public tiff between two powerful GOP lawmakers highlights the sharp divide that drives the nation's climate change debate. Barton, along with President Bush and many other House Republicans, opposes mandatory curbs on greenhouse gas emissions and questions the science underlying such efforts. Boehlert, who backs limits on carbon dioxide pollution, said he fears *such attacks could chill future scientific inquiry*.
Rep. Boehlert does not hold back.
In a sharply worded letter sent last week, Boehlert called Barton's probe into the findings of Michael E. Mann, Raymond S. Bradley and Malcolm K. Hughes a *"misguided and illegitimate investigation."* Mann will direct the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University as of next month, Bradley is a geosciences professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Hughes is a professor at the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.
The research showed the recent spike in global tempatures, the results became a unique graph. The data was subsequently utilized by the U.N.
Using climate records culled from tree rings, glacial-ice layers and coral-growth layers, the three professors -- whose research was funded in part by the federal government -- determined in 1998 that *temperatures have skyrocketed in the past century compared with the 500 years preceding it*. The three men put the figures in a graph now known as the "hockey stick," and *their work helped prompt the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001 to declare the 1990s as the warmest decade in the past 1,000 years*.
Rep. Boehlert's letter asserted that his panel has jurisdiction over this issue and that Barton was targeting this study because he disagreed with the results.
"*My primary concern about your investigation is that its purpose seems to be to intimidate scientists* rather than to learn from them, and to *substitute congressional political review for scientific review*," Boehlert wrote.
Substituting congressional review over that of science. Hmm, have we heard this theme before?
A similar letter from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) was dismissed by Rep. Barton. The Science Committee justified the unusual public nature of Rep. Boehlert's comments against another Republican on the basis of the unique nature of the situation.
"It's unusual for a chairman to write this kind of letter, but we feel the situation's unusual," said Science Committee staff director David Goldston, adding that *the fight was about the need for independent scientific research, not climate change*. "We are surprised at the level of sarcasm Mr. Barton's spokesman has used to respond to our serious concerns."
Is there really any reasonable doubt that global warming is fact? Apparently even our fearless leader recognizes the consensus on global climate change.
This latest chapter in a long-running climate science sideshow comes even as the scientific consensus has firmed up that global warming is occurring. *President Bush, for example, acknowledged at a summit this month the consensus that man-made greenhouse gases are increasing global temperatures*.
So why is it that we are continuing to fight about the existance of the problem and not seeking possible solutions?