Senators botch facts on climate during free speech attack

sheldonThis week our civil rights were placed under direct attack on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse led a small group of senators who attacked a number of free-market think tanks for having the temerity to correct them on “climate change” science and policy.

These senators offered a resolution condemning the think tanks for speaking out, calling for them to “to cooperate with active or future investigations.”

Fortunately, these senators comprise a minority fringe in the Senate, yet their efforts to chill free speech is dangerous and must not go unchallenged.

CFACT President David Rothbard joined with the heads of twenty-one organizations who jointly fired off a powerful letter to the senators opposing this misuse of the their power.  “Your threat is clear” the letter states, “There is a heavy and inconvenient cost to disagreeing with you. Calls for debate will be met with political retribution. That’s called tyranny. And, we reject it.”  You can read the full letter at

CFACT monitored what these senators said on the record, and came away surprised at how biased, shallow and flat out wrong was their understanding of the facts surrounding the climate debate.

Senator Whitehouse was particularly egregious.  He repeatedly cited as his sources not scientific literature, nor the mainstream warming-compliant press, but rather such radical outlets as DeSmog Blog, the socialist magazine Mother Jones, a book entitled Poison Tea, and climate campaign and attack sites like Media Matters, Conservative Transparency Project, and Sourcewatch.

Whitehouse just read the climate-left’s propaganda directly into the record and treated it as gospel.

If this is the best these senators’ aids can do to inform them about climate science and prepare their remarks, the senators and their constituents are very poorly served.  Yet this would explain the torrent of smugly presented, unscientific whoppers they brought forth.

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen stated that “rising temperatures are affecting our tourism, our outdoor recreation and our agriculture industries and we’re experiencing an onset of negative health impacts and increases of insect borne diseases, lyme disease is one of those, all of which can be tied to the effects of climate change.”

Really, Senator Shaheen?  Not cold enough for you or New Hampshire skiing?  Have the people of New Hampshire forgotten so quickly that the winter of 2008 saw 115.2″ of snowfall — the most in over a century?  Have they forgotten that nearby Boston had its snowiest winter ever last year with 108.6″?  A simple search of NOAA’s historical climate records shows there is nothing abnormal about New Hampshire weather.

Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey went over the top stating that anyone under the age of 31 “watching the Senate floor tonight has never experienced in their life a month whose temperature was below the 20th century average.”  Could the Senator’s staffers not be bothered to check? NOAA data reveals that the people of Massachusetts experienced many recent months with temperature below the 20th century average.  March was below average three times in the last five years.  That’s just March!  That’s the government temperature data fiddled and adjusted with to make it seem as warm as possible! Three of the last five Januaries and Februaries were below average in Massachusetts and two of the last five Aprils were below average as well.  The data goes on and on.

Senator Bill Cassidy said that, “in New Mexico we are already seeing more extreme and prolonged drought conditions, larger wildfires, increased flooding. This is the reality now, not at some far off date in the future, and the longer that we wait to act the more difficult and more expensive the solutions will be.”  Can the Senator be unaware how little temperature has varied over the last century?  It was certainly not enough to meaningfully alter drought, fires and floods – all of which are historically normal according to the data.

Likewise Senator Gary Peters of Michigan intoned that we have experienced “dramatic changes in weather.”  He is apparently unaware that today’s weather is historically normal.  Claims that today’s weather has become more extreme are propaganda talking points unsupported by science or history. Take a look at the report debunking the extreme weather scare that CFACT’s Marc Morano prepared for the UN climate summit in Doha, Qatar.

Climate models consistently project a warmer world than real-world measurements record.  These Senators are either unaware of this fact, or want the rest of us to be.  How’s that for denial?

The sorry truth is that the radical Left chose “climate change” as its latest rationale for taking control of our energy supply and economy.  Climate campaign organizations continually misrepresent and exaggerate the facts about the climate.

It is incumbent on those of us in touch with the facts to correct the record when we see it distorted and present what, in our opinions, are better-founded public-policy recommendations.

If Senator Whitehouse and company succeed in stifling the climate debate it will guarantee the inaccuracies and exaggerations of the climate campaign will go unchallenged.  Useless and wasteful freedom and economy-crushing public policy will be the result.

That’s why our Founding Fathers wrote free speech into our Constitution.

So nice try Senators. But we are not intimidated. We will not be silenced.

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