House Science Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Credit: Bill Clark Getty Images
Today’s hearing will try to reframe climate change as an unsettled debate, allowing skeptics and industry to influence regulations and research funding
“Alt-science” is finding a home in Washington.
In the age of “alternative facts” and the declaration of news as “fake” if it challenges previously held political beliefs, fringe and industry science that bucks years of federal research is gaining newfound prominence. Now, conclusions not published in any of the world’s premier science journals could soon be influencing federal policy, backed by Trump administration officials, congressional Republicans, conservative think tanks and a billionaire investor.
Within the field of climate science, there is virtually no debate about the basic cause of climate change. The vast majority of researchers long ago determined that human activity — chiefly the burning of fossil fuels — is causing the planet to warm.
There are, of course, some researchers with a long history of peer-reviewed studies who question man’s role in global warming and have concluded that more discussion is needed to determine its full extent. Still, the recipe for curtailing climate change, as determined by most of those who study climate, starts primarily with curbing the burning of fossil fuels.