Scientists are disputing a prominent Republican congressman’s claims that federal climate researchers rushed a study to publication in order to advance the Obama administration’s policies. And yesterday a coalition of science groups released a letter decrying the lawmaker’s efforts to force researchers to release emails and other records surrounding the study.
The moves mark the latest developments in a fight that has brewed for nearly 6 months. Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), chairman of the House science committee, says that whistleblowers within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have complained that their concerns about a major study published by Science this past June were ignored in a “rush to publication.”
The study, led by NOAA researcher Thomas Karl, refuted previous findings that global warming had slowed since 1998. That “pause” has become a chief talking point of skeptics of mainstream climate science, including Smith. And the “timing of [the study’s] release raises concerns that it was expedited to fit the Administration’s aggressive climate agenda,” Smith wrote in an 18 November letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who oversees NOAA.