In an effort to address political interference in climate change research, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and vocal defender of federal scientists, has already convened a committee hearing to investigate reports of political interference with the reporting of scientific findings on climate change by federal scientists. Witnesses included Drew Shindell from NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Rick Piltz, a former senior associate, U.S. Climate Change Science Program; Francesca Grifo, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS); Roger Pielke, Jr., professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado and environmental sciences fellow, Cooperative Institute for Research.
Ms. Grifo testified that the UCS questioned nearly 2,000 federal scientists and according to the final report, released the same day as the hearing, 44% of Fish and Wildlife Service scientists were requested, "to refrain from making findings that would protect a species." Additionally, 150 federal climate scientists stated they were subjected to political interference in the previous five years (report details may be found at: www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/investigation-reveals-0007.html). Other instances of interference were recounted by each of the witnesses.
Representative Brad Miller (D-NC), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Science and Technology, also intends to look into reports of political interference in scientific research. Chairman Miller indicated that he has a backlog of nearly one hundred tips and complaints not previously covered in the press. Tips and complaints were recorded through a "tip line" found on the committee's website.
Information from the hearing, including witness testimony and opening statements is available.
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