Raul Grijalva on witch hunt for climate skeptics

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D.-AZ), in his new role as ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, is going after seven researchers who dared to present evidence that the government’s position on climate change is wrong.

One of his targets is Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Pielke maintains a blog here: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/

Pielke’s crime, according to Grijalva, is that he has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on climate change and its economic impacts. His 2013 Senate testimony featured the claim, often repeated, that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.” This statement challenges the orthodoxy of anthropogenic global warming.

Pielke’s 2013 testimony contained these heretical statements:

Globally, weather-related losses have not increased since 1990 as a proportion of GDP (they have actually decreased by about 25%).

Insured catastrophe losses have not increased as a proportion of GDP since 1960.

Hurricanes have not increased in the US in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900.

There are no significant trends (up or down) in global tropical cyclone landfalls since 1970 (when data allows for a comprehensive perspective), or in the overall number of tropical cyclones.

Floods have not increased in the US in frequency or intensity since at least 1950.

Flood losses as a percentage of US GDP have dropped by about 75% since 1940.

Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.

Drought has “for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.”

Pielke writes of this situation in a post on The Climate Fix. In that post Pielke notes:

Congressman Grijalva doesn’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none. He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony – which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren’s incorrect views).

Adam Sarvana, communications director for Natural Resources Committee’s Democratic delegation, reinforced the politically-motivated nature of the investigation in an interview:

“The way we chose the list of recipients is who has published widely, who has testified in Congress before, who seems to have the most impact on policy in the scientific community”

Let’s see – widely published, engaged with Congress, policy impact — these are supposed to be virtues of the modern academic researcher, right?

Grijalva sent a hypocritical letter to the president of the University of Colorado complaining about potential conflicts of interest on funding. (See letter here) Pielke notes in his post that when he testified before Congress, he disclosed his “funding and possible conflicts of interest. So 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.”

Pielke concludes his post by writing “When ‘witch hunts’ are deemed legitimate in the context of popular causes, we will have fully turned science into just another arena for the exercise of power politics. The result is a big loss for both science and politics.”