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Committee Probes Allegations of Politicization of NOAA Study

Feb 14, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON  - U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Acting Administrator Benjamin Friedman requesting information on the Karl study following reports the study ignored NOAA standards, was rushed to publication, and was not free from political bias.

“Allegations of politicization of government funded scientific research cannot be ignored. The Committee has a constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight in instances of alleged fraud, abuse, and misconduct especially where the government’s scientific integrity is called into question.  Dr. Bates’ revelations raise additional questions as to whether the science at NOAA is objective and free from political interference.  In light of this new information, the Committee requests the below information to better understand the depth and scope of internal debate at NOAA related to the Karl study,” the letter states.

Today’s letter requests documents and communications related to the release of the Karl study, the datasets used in the Karl study, concerns raised about datasets used in the Karl study, and the scientific integrity of the study. The committee also requested a briefing on the independent experts NOAA is engaging with to review this matter.

The letter can be found here.

Background

In the summer of 2015, NOAA scientists published the Karl study, which retroactively altered historical climate change data and resulted in the elimination of a well-known climate phenomenon known as the “climate change hiatus.”  The hiatus was a period between 1998 and 2013 during which the rate of global temperature growth slowed.

The committee heard from whistleblowers  who raised concerns about the study’s methodologies, readiness, and politicization.  In response, the committee conducted oversight and sent NOAA inquiries to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Karl study.  

Over the course of the committee’s oversight, NOAA refused to comply with the inquiries.  This culminated in the issuance of a congressional subpoena, with which NOAA also failed to comply.  During the course of the investigation, the committee heard from whistleblowers who confirmed that, among other flaws in the study, it was rushed for publication to support President Obama’s climate change agenda.

115th Congress