Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, is persecuting NOAA scientists over climate change research. Photo: U.S. News

By Alan Neuhauser
18 November 2015

(U.S. News) – As President Barack Obama and world leaders build momentum toward an international climate agreement next month in Paris, Republican lawmakers are digging in their heels deeper than ever.

GOP Senators on Tuesday night voted 52-46 in two largely symbolic, mostly party-line votes to scuttle Obama's global warming efforts. Meanwhile, in the House, Republican lawmakers continued working to arrange closed-door, deposition-like interviews of government climate scientists whose recent findings refuted a common plank of climate change denial.

"The Obama administration is putting facts and compassion to the side in order to advance their ideological agenda," Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Tuesday, alleging that the administration's environmental regulations will lead to "higher energy bills and lost jobs."

One of Tuesday's resolutions aims to block the Clean Power Plan, the first federal rule limiting heat-trapping carbon emissions from existing power plants. The other resolution targets regulation for new power plants.

The measures have virtually no chance of advancing further. In a lengthy statement Tuesday on the Clean Power Plan resolution of disapproval, the White House promised a veto, declaring that it threatens "the health and economic welfare of future generations by blocking important standards to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector." […]

Across Capitol Hill, actions by the head of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee also have highlighted Republican opposition to climate action. Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, hopes to force climate scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration into closed-door interviews with committee staffers and to turn over thousands of emails on their research. […]

Attorney and Georgetown University law professor David Vladeck, who previously represented climate scientist Michael Mann during a similar congressional investigation, contends the goal of the current inquiry is not more transparency – especially in the lead-up to the Paris summit.

"I think it is fair to conclude that the whole point of this exercise is to chill and to deter NOAA scientists from doing what they're supposed to do," he says, "which is tell us what's going on with our climate." [more]

As U.S. Approaches Climate Summit, GOP Pushes Back

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