Tags: Climate Change | skeptics | Democrats | witch hunt

Report: Specter of McCarthyism in Democrats' Climate Change 'Witch Hunt'

By    |   Friday, 27 February 2015 10:38 AM

In a twist in the "war on science," conservatives and some scientists are saying they are the victims of a politically fueled campaign to discredit the science of climate change skeptics, Politico reported.

Arizona Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, has prompted outrage by asking universities to disclose documents about grants, congressional testimony, and other activities associated with seven scientists who have testified at climate change hearings against the belief in man-made causes of climate change.

Three Democrat senators, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Barbara Boxer of California, have subsequently requested more than 100 energy companies and trade groups to reveal the details of research funding and, specifically, who has been receiving funding.

"The investigation will help to determine who is funding these denial-for-hire operations and whether those who are funded by these fossil fuel interests are keeping their funders' identities secret from the public and legislators," Markey said in a statement, according to Politico.

"[There] are some clear indications that the very same companies and trade groups who have been sowing doubt on climate change and stopping any sort of legislative action in Congress, also may have been participating in these 'denial for hire' operations where they would pay very specifically for results," said Eben Burnham-Snyder, a spokesman for Markey who lead the Democrats' information requests.

Conservatives are accusing Grijalva of embarking on an ideological witch hunt, with some likening the requests to McCarthyism, according to Politico.

"The Grijalva 'investigation' is merely an attempt to smear scientists and others by claiming that they received funding from various private sources; it does not relate to the substance of anything they have written," John Hinderaker of the conservative blog Power Line, told Politico.

Democrats insist they are trying to protect taxpayers from policy influenced by bad science, according to Politico.

"Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air quality standards are funding environmental research that influences state and federal regulations and shapes public understanding of climate science," Grijalva wrote in letters Tuesday to seven universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado and Georgia Tech.

"These conflicts should be clear to stakeholders, including policymakers who use scientific information to make decisions."

Grijalva wants information dating back to 2007, including drafts of testimony made by the scientists before government entities, the sources of researchers' external funding, and their "communications" regarding their testimony and funding sources, Politico reported.

Meanwhile, the scientists affected have also denounced Grijalva's investigation.

"I know with complete certainty that this investigation is a politically motivated 'witch hunt' designed to intimidate me [and others] and to smear my name," Roger Pielke Jr., a professor at the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, wrote on his blog Tuesday under a photo of former Sen. Joe McCarthy, according to Politico.

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Conservatives and some scientists are saying they are the victims of a politically-fueled campaign by Democrats to discredit the science of climate change skeptics, Politico reported.
skeptics, Democrats, witch hunt
Friday, 27 February 2015 10:38 AM
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