Quantcast

GOP Senators Demand Probe of Federal Grants on Climate Change

Politics
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

A group of Republican senators are calling for an investigation of the National Science Foundation (NSF) over a program that "[turns] television meteorologists into climate change evangelists," according to a Wednesday press release from the office of Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).


Cruz, along with Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), James Lankford (Okla.) and Jim Inhofe (Okla.), all signed a letter to NSF Inspector General Allison Lerner to investigate the NSF's grant-making process, specifically the $4 million in federal funding the agency gave to the nonprofit news organization Climate Central.

They targeted several grants awarded to Climate Central's "Climate Matters" program, which trains meteorologists to address climate issues and encourages them to communicate climate science to the public.

The program has been in place since 2012 and has educated more than 500 meteorologists about global warming, according to NBC News.

NBC News noted that the program is working:

So far, the efforts have paid off. The number of stories on global warming by television weather people has increased 15-fold over five years, according to data from the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. If the trend continues this year, there will be more than a thousand stories that touch on climate delivered during local TV weathercasts, up from just 55 such climate stories in 2012.

The senators, however, argue that the reporting by meteorologists is not science but "propagandizing."

"Research designed to sway individuals of a various group, be they meteorologists or engineers, to a politically contentious viewpoint is not science—it is propagandizing. Such efforts certainly fail to meet the standard of scientific research to which the NSF should be devoting federal taxpayer dollars," the wrote.

Climate Central CEO Ben Strauss dismissed the GOP senators' claims, telling NBC News via email: "Climate Central is not an advocacy organization, and the scientific consensus on climate change is not a political viewpoint."

While the vast majority of climate scientists are convinced about human-caused global warming, the partisan divide over the issue is growing wider—and it may be due to President Donald Trump.

A recent Gallup poll found that after a year of President Trump—who thinks global warming is a "hoax," dropped climate change from a list of top national security threats, and made it known that America is at odds with the rest of the world by withdrawing from the 2015 Paris agreement—Republicans have become more skeptical than ever about climate change.

The poll found that only a third of Republicans said they worry about climate change or even acknowledge that it has already begun. Seven in 10 Republicans think the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated in the news. The percentage of Republicans who affirm the scientific consensus of global warming is down 11 percentage points since last year.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Catherine Flessen / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Non-perishable foods, such as canned goods and dried fruit, have a long shelf life and don't require refrigeration to keep them from spoiling. Instead, they can be stored at room temperature, such as in a pantry or cabinet.

Read More
Tero Vesalainen / iStock / Getty Images

By Julia Ries

  • Two flu strains are overlapping each other this flu season.
  • This means you can get sick twice from different flu strains.
  • While the flu vaccine isn't a perfect match, it's the best defense against the flu.

To say this flu season has been abnormal is an understatement.

Read More
Sponsored
Pexels

By Andrew Joseph Pegoda

At least 40 percent to 90 percent of American voters stay home during elections, evidence that low voter turnout for both national and local elections is a serious problem throughout the U.S.

Read More
Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Alina Petre, MS, RD

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for optimal health.

Read More
Plastic waste that started as packaging clogs tropical landfills. apomares / iStock / Getty Images

By Clyde Eiríkur Hull and Eric Williams

Countries around the world throw away millions of tons of plastic trash every year. Finding ways to manage plastic waste is daunting even for wealthy nations, but for smaller and less-developed countries it can be overwhelming.

Read More