HOUSE COMMITTEE TO PROBE CLIMATE SCIENCE

Mar 24, 2017 by

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By Devin Henry

The House Science Committee has scheduled a provocative hearing next week to challenge the science behind climate change.

Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R-Texas) panel will meet on Wednesday to consider “assumptions, policy implications, and the scientific method” related to climate change.

The meeting will give Smith, who doubts the broad scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions have caused climate change, a large platform from which to try making his point.

He’s invited several witnesses to help question climate change, including two scientists who made their names opposing the central tenants of manmade climate change, and another who has said its impact on the Earth is overstated.

Democrats are expected to strongly oppose Republicans’ assumptions. and will certainly use the hearing to note the exceeding conclusion among climate scientists that human activity has created, and is exacerbating, a warming trend around the globe.

They have invited Michael Mann, the climate scientist behind the famous “hockey stick” graph showing a sharp increase in the planet’s average temperature, to rebuff Republicans and climate skeptics at the hearing.

The meeting comes as the Trump administration expands its assault on the climate change work advanced by former President Obama.

That may culminate next week with the release of a long-expected — but often delayed — executive order aimed at administrative climate work instituted during the previous administration.

As soon as next week, Trump could issue an order undoing several key Obama-era climate rules, including the Clean Power Plan regulation on power sector carbon emissions and a moratorium on public lands coal leasing.

Sources told The Hill last week that the order could be broader than that, touching on issues like methane regulations and government climate change metrics. The White House is expected to frame the order as a step to help the fossil fuel industry: during his campaign, Trump said he would clobber Obama’s climate work in order to boost fossil fuel sectors like coal, oil and natural gas.

Environmentalists will oppose the order, whenever it comes, but several experts said this week not to expect an immediate challenge to Trump. Greens instead will likely take their time building a record against the decision, with an eye on challenging it through lawsuits later on.

But climate court watchers, might see some action after all. Trump on Friday issued a permit advancing the Keystone XL pipeline, a decision that inflamed environmentalists who opposed the project for years under President Obama.

Groups are expected to file suit against the permit decision, arguing the pipeline needs to go through a fresh environmental review before it can move forward.

The Sierra Club on Friday said it “expects to challenge [the decision] in court in the coming days,” though they didn’t give a formal timetable for that action.

In other pipeline news, developers of the Dakota Access project are expected to announce that oil has begun running through the pipeline. In a court filing last Monday, the company said oil could be introduced soon; they will file another status report with a federal judge in the coming week.

Join us Wednesday, March 29 for “Infrastructure Modernization: A US-Canada Conversation,” featuring Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition’s Task Force on Infrastructure. Topics of discussion include America’s aging infrastructure, overhaul efforts, role of public-private partnerships and cooperation with key trading partner, Canada. RSVP Here
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