Know your zombies: Sensenbrenner, picked to lead House attack on climate science, says, “I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do.”

WI Republican has called for blacklisting climate scientists

The NYT/Climate Wire reported yesterday that House Science chair Ralph Hall wants to investigate “doubts about the quality of the climate science”:

Hall said his vice chairman, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), an outspoken climate skeptic who served as ranking member on the recently disbanded Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, will take the lead on the issue.

Of course, Hall is not aware of multiple vindications of climate science since “The first rule of vindicating climate scientists is you do not talk about vindicating climate scientists.”

While Hall himself is not an outright denier of basic climate science, Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is. Here’s some background on the Wisconsin Republican, starting with an interview by conservative radio show host Jay Weber:

Asked his “personal stance on man-made global warming,” Sensenbrenner replies

I think that the science is inconclusive on this. What I do say very emphatically with these massive increases in utility costs through the cap and tax scheme, we shouldn’t be doing this as long as the science is inconclusive.

For the record, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences concluded its recent review of climate science, saying it is a “settled fact” that “the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.”


As an aside, DesmogBlog notes that Weber “starts by once again falsely attributing to MIT the many times debunked estimate of cap and trade costing $3100 per family” and that this interview “is another fine example of the wit and wisdom of the flat earth wing of the Republican party.”

Sensenbrenner continues:

What the science says is that temperatures peaked out globally in 1998. So we’ve gone for 10 plus years where the temperatures have gone down.

That statement in its many guises is, of course, the winner of the The 2010 Climate B.S.* of the Year Award. In fact, it’s the hottest decade on record and NASA noted last year, The 12-month running mean global temperature has reached a new record in 2010: “We conclude that global temperature continued to rise rapidly in the past decade” and “there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15–0.20°C/decade that began in the late 1970s.” See also “Yes, global warming has continued since 1998” and “Comparing all the temperature records.”

I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do and our lunar, our rovers on Mars have indicated that there has been a slight warming in the atmosphere of Mars and that certainly was not caused by the internal combustion engine.

Sad, really. The number of people who believe that solar flares are the primary driver of “climatic cycles” ain’t large. At least he could have said “the sun” and joined a larger group of widely debunked deniers. Skeptical Science explains at length that “while there is no credible science indicating that the sun is causing the observed increase in global temperature, it’s the known physical properties of greenhouse gasses that provide us with the only real and measurable explanation of global warming”:


A change in the forcing by the sun simply isn’t a big player in driving recent warming. As a major 2009 study found (see Another long-debunked denier talking point is debunked again: Changes in the Sun are not causing global warming):

According to this analysis, solar forcing contributed negligible long-term warming in the past 25 years and 10% of the warming in the past 100 years.

And a major 2007 study concluded:

Here we show that over the past 20 years, all the trends in the Sun that could have had an influence on the Earth’s climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures.

As for the standard Martian talking point of the deniers, Skeptical Science has a long post on the science, which it summarizes thusly, “Martian climate is primarily driven by dust and albedo and there is little empirical evidence that Mars is showing long term warming.”

But there’s more to Sensenbrenner than his staggering lack of understanding of climate science. As Climate Science Watch explained in a December 2009 piece, “Sensenbrenner IPCC witch-hunt: Attempt to blacklist climate scientists must be rejected.”


I will end by reposting that piece, which, coupled with Sensenbrenner denial of basic science, makes him a climate zombie unfit to lead any investigation into climate science.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), ranking Republican on the House global warming committee, has sent a letter to Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, calling for scientists whose names appear in the e-mails stolen from the U.K. Climatic Research Unit to be blacklisted from participating as contributors or reviewers of the forthcoming IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Sensenbrenner is engaged in an outrageous McCarthyist jihad against the climate science community, making it abundantly clear that this controversy is not really about stolen e-mails, which have been misused and misinterpreted. Rather it is part of an aggressive campaign by the global warming denial machine to bully and intimidate the science community. Sensenbrenner shows no real interest in meaningful dialogue, nor in an honest examination of climate science findings. Denialists are throwing up a smokescreen of propaganda in an attempt to legitimize their refusal to come to grips with scientific evidence on global climatic disruption and its implications. This is a power play.

Climate Science Watch calls on the IPCC to rebuff this attack. We call on the Obama Administration and in particular the President’s science adviser John Holdren to fully support the U.S. climate science community in this matter. We call on Sensenbrenner’s colleagues in Congress to chastise him for this censorious anti-scientist behavior. And we call on members of the science community to understand what the denial machine is up to and not allow themselves to be divided by innuendo about and attacks on scientists who have been singled out as immediate targets of a larger predatory attack on the community as a whole. Seeking an IPCC purge is just the next step. This attack, using guilt-by-association and demagogy, will go as far as it can to delegitimize the entire climate science and assessment enterprise if it is not exposed and thwarted. (See below for the Sensenbrenner letter and press release.)

Letter from Rep. James Sensenbrenner to IPCC Chair Rajendra K. Pachauri file-uploads/ 12072009_IPCC_Pachauri_Letter.pdf(also linked from Sensenbrenner press release on committee Web site)

See our December 8 posts ( Sensenbrenner projects ‘fascism’ and ‘fraud’ onto scientists, is rebutted at hearingFBI investigating death threats against two scientists whose emails were stolen in CRU hackingPress release posted on the Republican Minority Web site of the House Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming:

December 8, 2009Sensenbrenner Urges IPCC to Exclude Climategate Scientists

‘It is possible that they succeeded in undermining the entire process’

Washington, D.C.- Climate researchers who authored thousands of e-mails and documents that show an effort to mislead and suppress opposing research should not be allowed to continue work on the latest report of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rep. Sensenbrenner said in a letter to IPCC Chair Dr. Rajendra Pachauri.

“Their behavior has caused grave damage to the public trust in climate science in general, and to the IPCC in particular,” Sensenbrenner wrote.

The letter asks that none of the researchers involved in the controversial e-mails be allowed to participate as contributors, reviewers, or in any other capacity in the preparation of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. The release of these e-mails, dubbed “climategate” by some, showed a pattern where staff and associates of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. tried to prevent publication of opposition research, and in some cases, manipulate data to produce desired results. One e-mail described a “trick” to “hide the decline” in temperature data.

The letter cites an e-mail from Pennsylvania State University researcher Michael Mann that describes efforts to delegitimize a journal called “Climate Research” because it published contrarian scientific studies. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal,” Mann wrote.

“The authors of the e-mails understand what you apparently do not: Control of peer-reviewed literature equates to control of the IPCC’s conclusions,” Sensenbrenner wrote to Pachauri. “These bad actors therefore limited the pool of peer-reviewed studies upon which the IPCC could rely and manipulated the results of other studies upon which it did rely. It is possible that they succeeded in undermining the entire process.”

JR: It is beyond disingenuous for a Congressman whose interview above shows he never believed in the IPCC process or its conclusions or the most basic of climate science facts to claim a bunch of e-mails have “caused grave damage to the public trust in climate science in general.” It is deniers and disinformers like Sensenbrenner who have damaged the understanding of climate science by those conservatives and conservative-leaning independents who are foolish enough to listen to them.