The current leadership of the US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has a fraught relationship with climate science. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who chairs the committee, has used its subpoena powers to target NOAA climate scientists whose temperature dataset he does not like. He has also gone after the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, who are pursuing a securities fraud investigation of ExxonMobil related to its public denial of climate change.
On Thursday, the committee’s Twitter account hopped on this anti-climate-science bandwagon. It tweeted a link to a story titled “Global temperatures plunge. Icy silence from climate alarmists” that was published by Breitbart—the hard-right, white-nationalist-supporting news outlet that saw its chairman, Steve Bannon, become President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist.
The article was written by James Delingpole, a columnist who has made a career out of insult-laden polemics against climate science. (In an episode of BBC’s Horizon, Delingpole famously admitted that he never reads scientific papers and called himself “an interpreter of interpretations.”) In this case, Delingpole mostly tacked a few put-downs onto quotes from a Daily Mail story written by David Rose—who also has a long history of writing deeply misleading stories about climate science.
Rose’s Daily Mail story used satellite measurements of atmospheric temperatures over land only to argue that a temperature drop since the middle of the year "proves" that the warmest-year records set by 2014, 2015, and (soon) 2016 have nothing to do with global warming. Instead, Rose claims it was all due to the El Niño conditions in the Pacific—a claim that is very clearly false since the long-term warming is much larger than the year-to-year variation caused by El Niño and La Niña. Even Rose’s chosen dataset shows the long-term warming trend....