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Nebraska Scientists Refuse To Conduct Climate-Denying Study

By Rebecca Leber

"Nebraska Scientists Refuse To Conduct Climate-Denying Study"

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welcome-to-nebraskaClimate denier language added to a Nebraska bill may force scientists to neglect the role humans play in a state-commissioned study. That’s because the bill that created the study limits its scope to “cyclical climate change in Nebraska.”

The legislator responsible for the language, Republican state Sen. Beau McCoy, admits he doesn’t accept mainstream climate science. “I don’t subscribe to global warming,” he’s said in April. “I think there are normal, cyclical changes.”

Now, climatologists appointed to the committee responsible for crafting the study must wrestle with language that has little basis in the scientific community. According to the World-Herald Bureau, a number of scientists have refused to participate in the study if they will be forced to ignore the cause.

“I don’t want my name on something … and be used as a political pawn,” Nebraska state climatologist Al Dutcher said. Other scientists said Wednesday they have no interest in being involved:

Mark Svoboda, a climatologist with the university’s acclaimed National Drought Mitigation Center, said he would not be comfortable circulating a study proposal to his peers if it excluded the role of humans.

“Personally, I would not send it out,” Svoboda said.

Similarly, Martha Shulski, climatologist and director of the High Plains Regional Climate Center, told the committee that the study’s scope will determine her staff’s potential involvement.

“If it’s only natural (causes), but not human, we would not be interested,” she said.

Even the original sponsor of the bill, a Democratic lawmaker, expressed concern that a study that ignores humans’ role would make Nebraska “look stupid,” even though it isn’t the first state to try it. Virginia politicians made a similar effort to censor “climate change” and “sea level rise” from a state-commissioned report — what Republicans described as “liberal code words.” North Carolina’s legislature, meanwhile, voted to ignore its study that predicted rapid sea level rise.

Nebraska would benefit from an honest look at the toll of climate change. The state has suffered from extreme weather changes, with a year of historic flooding followed by years of severe drought.

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