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Smith Reiterates Demand for NOAA Communications after Allegations Climate Study was Rushed

Nov 18, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a follow-up letter to Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker outlining allegations brought to the Committee’s attention by whistleblowers that a controversial climate study was rushed and did not undergo appropriate scientific review.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in June publicized the study as refuting the nearly two-decade pause in climate change. Smith’s letter reiterates the Committee’s request for all communications from NOAA surrounding the role of political appointees in the agency’s scientific process. 

“Information provided to the Committee by whistleblowers appears to show that the Karl study was rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA scientists, ignoring established and standard NOAA scientific processes and potentially violating NOAA’s scientific integrity policies,” Smith wrote.

According to information provided to the Committee, Dr. Thomas Karl rushed to publish the study before all appropriate reviews of the underlying science and new methodologies used in the foundational climate datasets were conducted.  NOAA employees allegedly raised concerns about the timing and integrity of the process but were ignored. 

Smith wrote that “Despite Dr. Karl’s apparent awareness of these concerns, the study was moved to publication without the underlying data having been subjected to the appropriate reviews.  More troubling, it appears that NOAA employees raised concerns about the timing and readiness of the study’s release through e-mails, including several communications just before its publication in April, May, and June of 2015.  These allegations raise serious questions about the Karl study and NOAA’s public statements about its conclusions.”

In light of these allegations the letter demands NOAA provide all e-mails related to the Karl study, including e-mails that the Committee has reason to believe exist from NOAA employees questioning the readiness of the study for its June publication.

“Because the Karl study was apparently prematurely rushed to publication, the timing of its release raises concerns that it was expedited to fit the administration’s aggressive climate agenda,” Smith wrote. 

The study was released just two months before the Obama administration finalized its Clean Power Plan—the most expansive carbon regulation in history costing upwards of $292 billion. Smith’s letter demands NOAA provide all of the documents covered under the subpoena.

The full letter can be found HERE.

114th Congress