Congressional Climate Bully goes after Colorado Scientist

March 13, 2015

Despite ‘overreach’ admission by Grijalva, climate scientists still see politics

By   /   March 4, 2015

Photo from the U.S. House of Rerpresentatives

A BIT OF CONCESSION: Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, now says letters he sent wanting communications from seven climate scientists was an “overreach” but he still wants the scientists’ funding information.

By Rob Nikolewski │

One of the climate scientists singled out by the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources says she’s glad the congressman has admitted he overreached but still thinks Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, is trying to bully scientists who question the degree that humans are responsible for climate change.

“I was pleasantly surprised, but it still doesn’t take away some of the more serious issues,”Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry told Wednesday.

Grijalva has conceded his letters to the universities across the country that demanded the schools provide to him “communication” regarding the funding concerning seven climate scientists who testified before Congress went too far, saying it was an “overreach.”

However, Grijalva told the National Journal, he still wants the schools to provide information about the seven scientists’ funding.

“As long as we get a response as to the funding sources, I think everything else is secondary and not necessary,” Grijalva said.

Curry says she has nothing to hide, but said Grijalva’s funding request is superfluous.

“They already have the information,” Curry said in a telephone interview. “If you click on anybody’s testimony, you will see a financial disclosure statement.”

Grijalva’s letters to the schools employing the scientists who have been skeptical or made controversial remarks about climate change prompted a backlash. One of the seven — Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado — called it McCarthyism.

“It looks like I am up next for this ‘witch hunt,’” Curry told last week.

Photo by Rob Nikolewski

“WITCH HUNT”: Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry feels she’s a victim of McCarthyism after a congressman sent her university a letter seeking her financial information.

The American Meteorological Society sent its own letter to Grijalva on Friday.

“Publicly singling out specific researchers based on perspectives they have expressed and implying a failure to appropriately disclose funding sources — and thereby questioning their scientific integrity — sends a chilling message to all academic researchers,” the group wrote.

“This is not a witch hunt,” Grijalva told the National Journal Monday. “We are not asking for all their data, for all their research. We are asking for disclosure, simple as that.”

The American Geophysical Union said “asking (professors) to share drafts of testimony or communications about that testimony goes too far” but, in a blog post, said asking for disclosure of funders is appropriate.

“When I have given testimony, I have complied with requirements for financial disclosure, these are a matter of public record,” Curry said. “Requirements for financial disclosure should be uniformly applied, or requested if there is some specific cause for concern. Selective requests for financial disclosure based on purely political reasons are not defensible.”

Grijalva has set a March 16 deadline for the universities to respond, saying his letters were prompted in part by a recent New York Times article reporting that Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics failed to disclose $1.2 million in research funding from fossil fuels sources such as ExxonMobil and the Southern Company.

The seven climate scientists whose schools received letters from Grijalva are: Curry, Pielke Jr., David Legates at the University of Delaware, John Christy at the University of Alabama, Richard Lindzen at MIT, Robert Balling at Arizona State and Steven Hayward at Pepperdine.

“It’s just a ludicrous situation when independent thought on this subject and speaking out publicly is not allowed to happen,” Curry said Friday.

Pielke Jr. said despite the “overreach” comment from Grijalva, the letters were attempts to smear reputations.

“That just goes to show, if all he wants is material that is already out there in the public record, the point of the letter was purely political,” Pielke Jr. told the Boulder Daily Camera on Tuesday. “If you’re a young academic, you see this kind of retaliation for giving testimony that one party or another doesn’t like, and it provides a pretty strong disincentive.”

“It’s selective, it’s for political reasons and designed to intimidate,” Curry said Wednesday.

“The communications back-and-forth is honestly secondary, and I would even on my own say that that was an overreach in that letter,” Grijalva said. “I want the disclosure (of funding sources). Then people can draw their own conclusions.”

Rob Nikolewski is the National Energy Correspondent for He is based in Santa Fe, N.M. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @NMWatchdog.

reposted with permission by  3/13/15

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