The overwhelming science linking climate change to human activity was enough to convince world leaders to ratify the Paris Agreement earlier this year. Although the US is a party to this agreement, president-elect Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of it. And it’s going to be difficult to convince him otherwise when he’s surrounded by like-minded climate deniers. Even the US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology doesn’t think climate change is a real threat.
Dec. 1, the congressional committee, chaired by republican representative Lamar Smith from Texas, tweeted out a link by Breitbart, a favorite news site of the Trump-supporting alt-right, calling the mainstream media “climate alarmists.”
The Breitbart story in question does not cite any data, but rather quotes at length from a Daily Mail article that examines how the El Niño-to-La Niña weather pattern shift may account for recent rising Pacific ocean waters temperatures and, subsequently, global temperatures—as opposed to human activity. Breitbart also refers to journalism reporting on the science of human-induced climate change as “propaganda.” Steve Bannon, now Trump’s chief strategist, formerly led Breitbart.
The congressional Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has authority over all energy research in the US. This includes climate and environmental research undertaken by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy. The committee is made up of 22 Republicans and 17 Democrats, and its official position is that climate change should not be priority for the US.
Its Twitter account also has a history of berating groups and individuals studying climate change, including other government agencies.
Smith himself has authored several statements this year refuting the severity of climate change. In September, he referred to the Paris Agreement as “all pain, no gain.” In April, he criticized president Barack Obama’s climate change agenda, saying that “the scientific justification used for his regulations are flimsy.”
Under Trump, the US federal government’s climate-change denying wing may gain strength as more climate deniers, like Myron Ebell, are given prominent roles in Washington.