Lamar Smith Gets It Wrong #FauxPause

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There wasn’t a “pause” in global warming. The rate at which the plant’s surface warms because of human greenhouse gas pollution varies over time. Sometimes the warming is quicker, sometimes it is slower.

There are multiple reasons for a temporary slowdown in the temerature curve, including the temperature curve being a little inaccurate, the ocean taking heat away from the surface, atmospheric dust varying over time in how much sunlight is reflected away, and so on. I recently wrote up a detailed discussion of the latest thinking on this interesting scientific problem, based mostly on a current published commentary by Fyfe et al in Nature Climate Change. See: What is the “pause” in global warming?

Republican Representative from Texas’s 21st district, Lamar Smith has been on a crusade against science, and has been employing distinctively McCarthyistic tactics in order to intimidate researchers and damage the progress of, well, civilization, frankly.

Most recently he wrote an opinion piece that misrepresented the Fyfe et al paper. In response, one of the authors of this paper, Michael Mann, wrote this Open Letter to Smith on his Facebook page:

Dear Congressman Lamar Smith,

Please don’t misrepresent our recent Nature Climate Change commentary.

Our study does NOT support the notion of a “pause” in global warming, only a *temporary slowdown*, which was due to natural factors, and has now ended.

Our recent work, which you fail to cite, indicates that the record warmth we are now experiencing can only be explained by human-caused global warming.

Michael E. Mann

Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science
The Pennsylvania State University

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18 thoughts on “Lamar Smith Gets It Wrong #FauxPause

  1. Please ask Lamar Smith what set of tactics he intends to use to bully Mother Nature into cowing to his self-serving agenda?

    I’m just dying to hear the answer…

  2. “Thinking rationally & honestly never killed anybody, but why take a chance?”
    ~ Lamar Smith

  3. “It is difficult to get a politician to understand the need to respect science, when his lust for addle-brained constituents’ votes depends upon his not understanding it.”
    ~ Upton Sinclair

  4. I’m sure Mann’s letter to Mr. Smith will result in an almost immediate new comment, in which he will apologize for the misrepresentation and set the record straight. These Republicans are all about taking personal responsibility for mistakes.


  5. “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”
    Mark Twain

  6. Caption contest. How about something like:

    _____. _____. _____.
    A. B. C.

    Which bag of sawdust isn’t peer reviewed?

    [Answer: all of the above.]

  7. So, here is an instructive conjunction.

    1) This is an excellent piece with interesting graphics on what happens if a big hurricane hits Houston, not missing like Ike did.
    Note that it certainly seems like denial, but people in the area figure they will really need a lot of Federal $ to build defenses.

    2) Meanwhile, Lamar Smith his best to harass NOAA and waste money, somewhat odd since TX will need NOAA very badly when the next storm hits.

    3) Of the “300 scientists” (sic) who signed the letter Lamar is using in his latest harassment, at least 32 are in TX (and a few more have strong ties).
    About half are retired NASA-JSC guys (and if you read that article, JSC is in the bullseye, near the shore. having built entire careers on Fedreal tax money.

    The other half are in petroleum, many in Houston.

    4) Of course, they reject global warming and thus SLR or increased storm intensity resulting.
    But, if disaster strikes, where will the money come from?

  8. Well, at least in the case of a really big storm, most of the buildings in Houston & the Clear Lake area will be well-protected from damage by the fierce winds…
    …by virtue of being completely submerged under water.

    Think of the reduction in greenhouse gases that will result!
    …caused by the unavailability of fossil fuels due to destroyed refineries.

    Sounds to me as though the U.S. should declare Texas to be a serious threat to national security…
    …and send in the troops to capture their government and subdue them.

  9. Since people are often naturally curious about the future of the ice age cycle, the reality bears repeating: we broke it.

    Some people like them some snowball Earths more than cherries, I reckon. We can farm oceans and build cities that float (fishing and Venice come to mind). With an Iceage, we can all play bog-body until thawed out by some future Greg Laden in 100,000 years. All written human history has been experienced throughout this one interglacial. How would it not be a good manmade thing that the *tipping point* now is that a sudden ice age was staved off??

  10. At Gilbert #14

    “How would it not be a good manmade thing that the *tipping point* now is that a sudden ice age was staved off??
    Presumably you are trying to ask something like “What was wrong with staving off a sudden ice age with a rapid artificial elevation of the Earth’s temperature?” . What is wrong with it is the same thing that is wrong with using a very large sledge hammer to try to repair a watch. It is not a good tool for fixing the problem at hand, and it is more likely than not to leave the watch much worse off than when you started. And by the way, a number of our pre-literate forebears managed to survive the previous glacial periods, thank you very much.

  11. #14 Gilbert

    How would it not be a good manmade thing that the *tipping point* now is that a sudden ice age was staved off??

    The descent into glacial climate is *slow*; it takes many thousands of years. Deglaciation is *relatively* much faster, but still nothing at all like the hard takeoff hyperthermal we are probably about to trigger.

    We could have staved off the onset of glaciation with the output of one factory producing CFCs.

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