With these thoughts in mind, the ranking members of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology sent the Environmental Protection Agency director a letter requesting more information regarding a 'so-called' scientific debate which he plans to have regarding the issue of climate change. Here is the excerpt describing the request from Politico:
WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH EPA'S CLIMATE 'DEBATE'? Three senior Democrats on the House Science Committee - Eddie Bernice Johnson, Don Beyer and Suzanne Bonamici - sent a letter to Pruitt Friday seeking details on his proposed "red team-blue team" debate of climate change science. "Your efforts seem to be divorced from reality and reason," they wrote, while asking for information on the format of the review, a timetable for its execution and how participants in the exercise would be selected.
And here is the actual letter taken from the a link provided by Politico shown below for the request:
Dear Administrator Pruitt,
We are concerned about recent reports that you will be engaging in a "red team-blue team" exercise at the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. On July 17, 2017 Reuters reported that,
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the early stages of launching a debate about climate change that could air on television -- challenging scientists to prove the widespread view that global warming is a serious threat, the head of the agency said."(1)
In defending the idea of engaging in this odd choice of a format for a supposedly serious scientific debate, you stated that, "There are lots of questions that have not been asked and answered (about climate change."(2) This vague justification for a wholesale litigation of the current scientific consensus regarding climate change is deeply concerning. Given you well known and long-standing personal beliefs on climate change (3) that run counter to the mainstream scientific community, it is hard not to view this proposed initiative with some skepticism.
The scientific community has spoken clearly and forcefully on the issue of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has repeatedly convened thousands of the world's foremost scientists to assess and report on the state of the art in climate science. Their assessments have included a good number of so-called out-of-the-mainstream climate researchers, and in addition, have evaluated these researchers' claims in the IPCC process. The IPCC has, with ever increasing confidence, affirmed the scientific consensus of human-caused climate change.(4) Moreover, the national academies of sciences in virtually every major country on earth have all affirmed the scientific underpinnings of human-caused climate change.(5) This includes our own prestigious National Academy of Sciences here in the United States. In addition, many of our country's top scientific societies have also affirmed the basic understanding of human-caused climate change. (6)
In the face of this overwhelming agreement on the basic fact of human-caused climate change by the world's scientists, your efforts seem to be divorced from reality and reason. This only reinforces our skepticism of your motives in engaging in a clearly unnecessary, and quite possibly unscientific, red team-blue team exercise to review the climate science.
Despite our deep skepticism about the legitimacy of your planned efforts, it is not possible to evaluate such a review based solely on your vague public statements. To assist us in better understanding your proposed review, please provide us with the following information:
- Description of the format and procedure of your climate science review;
- Timetable for any such review;
- Purpose for conducting such a review of climate science;
- Description of the selection criteria and process to select members of the intended review teams;
- Description of what type of end-product you expect from such a review: and,
- Description of how you intend to use the products of the review.
Please provide this information no later than August 11, 2017. If you have any questions about this request, please feel free to contact Priyanka Hoogham, Subcommittee on the Environment at (202) 225-6375.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Eddie Bernice Johnson Don Beyer Suzanne Bonamici
Ranking Member Vice Ranking Member Ranking Member
Wow! I wonder what EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was thinking when he opened the letter from the ranking members of the committee. This letter might not have a detrimental impact on his ability to try to hold a debate regarding the science of climate change. Although, the letter certainly raises red flags that such a debate might be overstepping boundaries set by the government -- which is great. Why?
One of the many problematic aspects of the current administration is that a widely held belief among various groups in Washington D.C. is that there is a serious lack of 'experience' in critical positions. Compound this with the fact that certain positions (i.e. Administrator of the EPA) is filled with a former Attorney General who went after the EPA to side with coal power plants in a lawsuit. The lawsuit and the position of Scott Pruitt were discussed at his nomination hearing, but with a republican majority, there was no stopping the warning signs - which were over turned by the majority.
Therefore, we (as U.S. citizens) are left with an EPA Administrator who is challenging all avenues of science to accomplish his goal (which coincides with President Trump) to roll back all environmental regulations which have resulted in a cleaner and healthier environment over the last few decades. The current control in the EPA is dangerous and should be watched for future actions.
The information requested by the ranking members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is reassuring along with the letter composed. Requests like these have the potential to expose hidden agendas by the current administration. Furthermore, keeping track of the type of debate that is going to be conducted is critical to ensuring a democratic process.
The information obtained from the debate is also of crucial concern to law makers as that data will inevitably be used in the future to promote proposed budget allocations to Federal agencies. How future funding is distributed could depend on the data collected from such a debate. Which means that congress should be aware of the exact details of a debate where science has already established that there needs to be no debate.
What seems to be the current situation is that the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is bent on diminishing scientific data which shows clearly (and overwhelmingly) that climate change is real. The exact contributors might not be narrowed down to specific moving parts at this time, but there is not debate that the presence of technology developed by humans has definitely had an impact on the environment of the Planet Earth. Stay tuned for more to come on this issue and others surrounding science.