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Want to help ensure Congress takes climate change seriously? It’ll just take a minute.
A growing number of Facebook users have begun sharing the following text in an attempt to push issues surrounding climate change onto the agenda of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology:
“Quick and easy: U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology—and climate change denier—has a one-question survey on his website about congressional priorities for the year. Please select Other and write in “climate change mitigation” or “fight climate change,” something like that. Do it and then COPY AND PASTE in a new status (don’t share or it will only be viewable by my friends) and share the hell out of this post.”
You can find that survey right here. Whether your comments will be taken into consideration is, of course, a whole other matter.
The most notable thing about the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, is perhaps how little its leaders appear to respect science, despite claiming the exact opposite.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the committee’s chairman, has taken a heated approach to concerns over the Earth’s increasing average temperature.
Unlike President-elect Donald Trump, who has pushed the theory that the fact of climate change is actually a hoax started by the Chinese, Smith has a more nuanced tone to his climate-change denialism, saying that he believes climate change is real but that it remains up in the air how much human activity is impacting the rise in temperature.
“I believe climate change is due to a combination of factors, including natural cycles, sun spots, and human activity,” Smith said in 2012. “But scientists still don’t know for certain how much each of these factors contributes to the overall climate change that the Earth is experiencing.”
As committee chair, Smith has taken a particularly blunt approach to the issue, using his leadership position to question the science behind human-contributed climate change at every possible turn—and, thus, help stave off regulation of the fossil fuel industry.
For example, Smith has moved to cut NASA‘s budget for the study of earth sciences and calls the beliefs of environmentalists and others who say climate change is a serious issue the “climate-change religion.”
In 2015, Smith began a battle with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) after the agency updated its global climate numbers to show Earth’s rising temperatures had not slowed as much as previously believed—facts that gave a hit to Smith’s argument that the Earth had stopped warming.
This year, Smith used his power of subpoena in an attempt to go after state attorneys general who were investigating Texas-based ExxonMobil’s decades-long attempt to hide its own research on climate change. (He argued the AGs were attempting to violate ExxonMobil’s First Amendment rights.)
Just this week, Smith accused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of spreading “science fiction” and fake news to push the idea that climate change causes extreme weather events. Notably, this accusation follows the House Science Committee sharing a Breitbart News article that cast doubt on climate change, which the Weather Channel thoroughly debunked as twisted, incomplete, and dishonest.
In short, Smith claims to have an intense respect for science and laments those who he says are politicizing science to further their own agendas—while using scrutiny of that science to further his agendas.
So, fill out the survey. Make your voice heard. And keep your fingers crossed that your comments aren’t twisted to make fracking look good.
Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.