In 2015, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, requested the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide his committee with the data the agency had used to produce a controversial report on global warming. The report, written by Dr. Thomas R. Karl, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, and published online in the journal Science, was desperately needed by the Obama administration at that time. Why? Because President Obama was heading to the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris, where he and other world leaders intended to conclude a new global compact. However, they were facing a major roadblock to their grandiose plans: the “pause.”
Contrary to the non-stop fright-peddling by the politicians and the hysterical media reports, global surface temperatures had remained flat for the past two decades. The modest, gradual rise in temperatures over much of the past century, insisted the more sensible climate scientists, was likely nothing more than natural, cyclical climate variation, and certainly nothing to panic about. However, even many of the most ardent global warming alarmists had been forced to admit that global temperatures, in defiance of alarmist predictions, had failed to rise since 1998. Among them was Prof. Phil Jones, the main character at the center of the infamous Climategate scandal at the University of East Anglia. Dr. Jones reluctantly acknowledged in 2015 that there had been no “statistically significant” warming for the previous 15 years. This pause in warming (also called a “hiatus,” “plateau,” or “slow-down” in the climate literature) obviously, presented a huge problem to advocates of global governance, since the world’s peoples — and particularly Americans — are much less likely to accept the incredibly oppressive and outrageously expensive (as much as $100 trillion, or more, over the next century) draconian controls proposed by the UN if there is no credible evidence of an approaching climate apocalypse.
NOAA’s Dr. Thomas Karl, apparently, was given the task of making the pause/hiatus disappear, so that the warming panic propaganda would be more believable. Karl’s report, which was rushed into publication in Science without appropriate peer review, was immediately hailed by the establishment media as proof not only that the “pause” had never existed, but that the warming trend was rising much faster than scientists had expected. Because the Karl study was deemed to have disposed of the troublesome pause, it became known as “The Pausebuster.”
But how, inquiring minds wanted to know, had the NOAA researcher arrived at this startling new conclusion, which was contradicted by abundant hard evidence from satellite records, as well as oceanic and terrestrial monitoring systems? That’s what Rep. Smith and other congressional committee members also wanted to know. Since there had already been so many scandals and instances of confirmed fraud by the climate alarmists, and since the proposed UN “solution” to this supposed global “crisis” would demand a complete upending of our economy, huge expansions of government, and drastic restrictions on our freedom, the congressmen demanded to see the evidence. In addition, the committee had heard from whistleblowers inside NOAA that the agency had engaged in dodgy science, to say the least, in the hurried effort to produce the Karl study.
However, as we reported in November, 2015, the Obama administration was stonewalling their requests for the data. After several months of foot-dragging by NOAA, the committee was forced to resort to issuing a subpoena in an effort to obtain the information to which it was entitled. Still, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan refused to provide the data, even when Chairman Smith threatened criminal enforcement action against her for obstructing Congress’s legal, constitutional duty to exercise oversight of executive branch agencies. Almost certainly, Administrator Sullivan was acting under direction of the Obama White House, most likely with the assurance that the Justice Department would protect her against any congressional effort at prosecution for failure to respond.
That has all changed and Rep. Smith now has a much more hospitable playing field. Not only has President Trump announced that he intends to terminate U.S. participation in the UN Paris Agreement, but NOAA Administrator Sullivan has left the agency. Equally, if not more important, though, is the fact that Smith and the committee now have a very important expert witness: Dr. John Bates. As Warren Mass recently reported for The New American, Dr. Bates, a globally recognized authority in atmospheric science, has come forward as a whistleblower. Dr. Bates claims that “in every aspect of the preparation and release of the datasets leading into K15 [the Karl study], we find Tom Karl’s thumb on the scale pushing for, and often insisting on, decisions that maximize warming and minimize documentation.” This and other charges by Dr. Bates are important because not only was he an inside player at NOAA, but he was also a top “principal scientist” at the agency concerned with global warming and was the individual in charge of NOAA’s climate data archive.
Dr. Bates has retired from NOAA and is therefore free to speak without the fear of the retaliation that he would have faced from his employer, if still at the agency. On February 4, he published a 4,000-plus word exposé on the NOAA/Karl study on the prestigious website of Dr. Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Dr. Curry, the former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, announced her resignation from her tenured faculty position on January 3 due to “the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science.” (Emphasis in original.) Curry, once considered by many to be the “high priestess of global warming,” found herself becoming the target of vitriolic attacks by the climate alarmists, once she began questioning much of the dogma masquerading as science. Like so many other scientists of national and international renown, she found that as soon as she deviated from acceptable "scientific" orthodoxy, as defined by the reigning climate-science mafia, she was reviled as a "heretic," "denier," "sellout," and a "shill for Big Oil."
In his exposé, titled “Climate scientists versus climate data,” Dr. Bates claims that NOAA published the Karl study “in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy.”
On February 14, 2017 Chairman Smith sent Acting Administrator of NOAA Benjamin Friedman a letter explaining the lack of cooperation his committee had received from Administrator Sullivan and restating his request for release of the requested data. “Allegations of politicization of government funded scientific research cannot be ignored,” Smith wrote. “The Committee has a constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight in instances of alleged fraud, abuse, and misconduct especially where the government's scientific integrity is called into question. Dr. Bates' revelations raise additional questions as to whether the science at NOAA is objective and free from political interference.”
Appended to the letter is a detailed 20-point directive specifically naming the documents and data types requested and the manner and format in which they should be delivered. The specificity of the document request is likely aimed at averting past experiences in which agencies have dumped, in desultory fashion, massive loads of disorganized and un-indexed data on congressional committees, with the full knowledge that it would be impossible for the information to be processed and analyzed in a timely manner.
Predictably, the climate alarmists have wasted no time in trying to destroy this challenge to the “Pausebuster,” which they intend to continue using to combat any efforts by President Trump to back out of the Paris Agreement. (Although the treaty was signed in Paris by President Obama, and headlines announced that the U.S. had “ratified” it, it was never ratified by the U.S. Senate, as required by our Constitution.) A principal line of attack currently is aimed at discrediting the accuser, Dr. John Bates. The main gun for this effort, not surprisingly, is the New York Times, which has been one of the most fanatical and influential voices in the global warming alarmist choir.
According to the Times — and others following its lead — what we have here is simply sour grapes, a case of petty jealousy and office politics, in which a disgruntled employee (Dr. Bates) is seeking retribution for having been disregarded and passed over for promotion. In a February 20 article titled “How an Interoffice Spat Erupted into a Climate-Change Furor,” the Times quotes several former NOAA employees who cast Bates in derogatory terms, one of whom says, “He’s retaliating. It’s like grade school.”
Here’s how the Times characterizes the conflict (and attempts to diminish its importance) in the opening paragraphs of the article:
A few weeks ago, on an obscure climate-change blog, a retired government scientist named John Bates blasted his former boss on an esoteric point having to do with archiving temperature data.
It was little more than lingering workplace bad blood, said Dr. Bates’ former co-workers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Bates had felt he deserved his boss’s job at NOAA, they said, not the demotion he received.
Although Dr. Judith Curry may not be a household name, she is recognized as one of the world’s top climate scientists, and her blog site, far from being “obscure,” is considered “must reading” by scientists and informed opinion on all sides of the climate-change debate. Moreover, asserting that Dr. Bates’ charges concern merely “an esoteric point having to do with archiving temperature data” is akin to saying Dr. Ron Paul’s charges against the Federal Reserve’s hidden creation and manipulation of trillions of dollars amounts to quibbling over “esoteric accounting procedures.” The issues surrounding the NOAA “Pausebuster” — and the impact it could have on America and the world — are so huge as to be almost impossible to exaggerate.
Of course, the kind of workplace feuding the Times claims to be at the heart of this conflict is common to every bureaucracy and virtually every office. So, it is possible that Dr. Bates’ claims are baseless, simply the rants of a vindictive coworker. However, there is plenty of evidence apart from Dr. Bates’ charges to call the Karl study into question. And there is, thus, also ample motive for the former coworkers quoted by the Times to attempt to discredit Bates so as not to have their own participation in a fraudulent study exposed. The only logical way to sort out the truth from these contentious claims and counterclaims is to make the disputed data available to the public and their elected representatives, as the law requires. The Times and all other professed advocates of government transparency should heartily welcome such a move by NOAA. The fact that they are trying to stop Congress’ examination of the evidence speaks volumes in and of itself.
However, with the new Trump administration putting pressure on both NOAA and the Republican leadership in Congress, Rep. Smith may finally get the long-awaited data he has been doggedly pursuing. And Americans may get the relief of knowing that at least our federal government will not be continuing to use our tax dollars and the massive federal bureaucracy to shackle us with this massive, destructive UN scheme.