On the climate change scandal
by Newt Gingrich
Two stories have broken in the past few days that should give Congress further pause before it ever again takes up energy tax legislation that justifies the destruction of millions of American jobs based on the supposed urgency of meeting the challenge of global warming.
Emails obtained by hackers from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit show a deliberate attempt by several leading climate scientists to manipulate data sets in order to show warming trends. They also paint an ugly picture of a willingness on the part of these influential scientists to suppress research that calls into question the accuracy of supposed warming trends.
This embarrassment was trumped by the even more damaging revelation that the Climate Research Unit had years ago destroyed its original raw data sets that it collected from weather stations around the world that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) then relied on to formulate its conclusions about global warming. All that the Climate Research Unit now has is "value added data," which supposedly controls for variables. However, without the original data, the accuracy of these adjustments can no longer be verified by other scientists.
These twin scandals raise serious questions about the integrity of the scientific process in the field of climate research as well as the accuracy of the underlying data that provides the rationale for the cap and trade energy tax legislation that the House approved last June and that the Senate is now considering.
In response to these recent revelations, Congress should open an investigation into the degree of bias in the climate change community (including the journalists that report on the topic) toward suppressing research that shows slower or negligible global warming trends, or points to different causes than greenhouse gasses. It should investigate whether worthy scientific studies contradicting the global warming conclusion have been suppressed from peer reviewed literature. If Congress is going to consider legislation based on supposed scientific consensus, it has every right to conduct inquiries into whether that consensus is genuine.
Furthermore, Congress should allocate resources to reassemble raw weather data from around the world and make it publicly available so independent scientists can verify the legitimacy of the "adjusted numbers" of the Climate Research Unit. The United States - indeed, the world, deserves an answer as to whether the adjusted data used by the IPCC (and Al Gore, with whom they shared the Nobel Prize in 2007) can be trusted. If the Climate Research Unit's adjusted numbers cannot be trusted, the IPCC needs to explain how the exclusion of such unreliable data from its scientific analysis affects the IPCC's current conclusions and recommendations about global warming.
I have always warned against the dangers of the politicization of climate science and, in the face of conflicting scientific claims, have advocated a strategy of prudence, not panic when it comes to meeting the challenge of climate change.
I support market driven measures to promote the rapid development of cleaner sources of energy as a positive good that America should pursue -- not only for the environment, but also for our economy and our national security.
I oppose big government measures like the proposed energy tax legislation passed this year by the House and pending in the Senate, because it is a jobs killer that would destroy wealth. Also, it would in the long run be detrimental for the environment, as less wealth leads to less technological innovation, which has historically been essential to meeting environmental challenges.