Science groups blasted for crossing line into activism with climate-change letter to Congress

Dr. Judith Curry

Dr. Judith Curry

A letter to Congress from 31 science associations advocating for domestic and natural-security policies predicated on climate change has come under fire as a “climate power play.”

Judith Curry, professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Earth and Atmospheric Science, described the June 28 letter as a “blatant misuse of scientific authority to advocate for specific socioeconomic policies.”

She also said that the professional societies, led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, have “damaged public trust in science” by putting scientists on the same level as lobbyists.

“They claim the science is settled; in that case, they are no longer needed at the table,” saidMs. Curry in a Monday post on her blog Climate Etc. “If they had written a letter instead that emphasized the complexities and uncertainties of both the problem and the solutions, they might have made a case for their participation in the deliberations.”

“Instead, by their dogmatic statements about climate change and their policy advocacy, they have become just another group of lobbyists, having ceded the privilege traditionally afforded to dispassionate scientific reasoning to political activists in the scientific professional societies,” said Ms. Curry, a prominent climate skeptic.

In their letter, the organizations said their intent was to remind members of Congress of “the consensus scientific view of climate change,” reaffirming the message of a 2009 letter signed by 18 scientific associations.

The move comes with the White House facing opposition from House and Senate Republicans in its push for tighter emissions regulations, led by the Clean Power Plan, aimed at countering rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

“To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced,” the letter said. “In addition, adaptation is necessary to address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others.”

Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, said most of the signers “have little or no expertise in climate science and virtually none knows anything special about making public policies.”

“In this case, the policies being advocated will destroy millions of jobs and cost trillions of dollars, but many of the professionals represented by these associations will probably do very well from more government funding,” Mr. Ebell said.

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