Tuesday, March 8, 2011

US House Hearing Today on Climate Science - With (Mostly) Actual Climate Scientists

Today, March 8, 2011, there will be a hearing of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power entitled "Climate Science and EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulations."  The subcommittee is a part of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, now chaired by Republican Fred Upton.  Upton was responding to a request by former chair and now ranking member Democrat Henry Waxman requesting "a hearing on the science of climate change" prior to moving forward on Republican attempts to craft legislation restricting EPA's ability to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases.  Author and Blogger Chris Mooney points out that Democrats wanted even more scientists to testify, and that former subcommittee chair Bobby Rush had noted in the hearing Upton had called last month "Don't you find it strange that this hearing is being conducted with no scientists at all?" 

So unlike past hearings in which Republicans called as witnesses non-scientists like fiction writer Michael Crichton and professional speaker Lord Viscount Christopher Monckton, as well as industry scientists such as the Cato Institute's Pat Michaels, this hearing will have a full set of actual practicing climate scientists to testify.  While it is nice to see that the committee will rely on scientists for input on the science, the line up does tend to represent, as Joe Romm put it, "the usual suspects," presumably because the number of actual climate scientists who disagree with the scientific consensus is pretty limited.

The invited witnesses are:

Dr. John R. Christy
Director, Earth System Science Center
University of Alabama in Huntsville

Dr. Christopher Field
Director, Department of Global Ecology
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Stanford, CA

Dr. Knute Nadelhoffer
Director, University of Michigan Biological Station
University of Michigan

Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.
Senior Research Scientist,
Cooperative Institute for Research in
Environmental Sciences
University of Colorado at Boulder

Dr. Donald Roberts
Professor Emeritus,
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Bethesda, MD

Dr. Richard Somerville
Distinguished Professor Emeritus,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego

Dr. Francis W. Zwiers
Director, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium
University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia

While most are climate scientists, the inclusion of Dr. Roberts is rather puzzling since he is a medical doctor and retired professor of health sciences who is most notable for his writings supporting the use of DDT.  For the rest who actually study climate, all agree that the planet is warming and that human activity is a major factor, though perhaps some equivocate on the degree of human influence.

For those in Washington DC, the hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.  A webcast will be posted on the Committee's web site.

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