Yesterday, in an exclusive interview with Ars Technica, NASA’s Chief Administrator Charles Bolden said he doesn’t think his agency is getting enough money to study “everything from the climate and weather to natural disasters.” Except two federal agencies are already studying the climate in-depth: the EPA and NOAA. They not only study the climate, they also fund other organizations to examine it as well, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. There are other federal agencies, but NASA, the EPA, and NOAA take the biggest slices out of every taxpayer dollar.
Formed in the early 1970s by Pres. Richard Nixon, the EPA was tasked with protecting America’s watersheds and environment. Since its inception, it has grown into a multi-tentacled creature whose goals mirror those of NASA, NOAA, and a host of other agencies. It spent approximately $8.1 billion this year in Congressional appropriations, with an all-time fiscal year budget of $10.3 billion in 2010, up 36 percent year-over-year growth. For FY2016, EPA chief Gina McCarthy requested a stunning $8.6 billion, even though she was unaware of no increase in “extreme weather.”
A quick visit to the EPA’s website shows that the agency is primarily focused on climate change, with more content devoted to global warming than clean water, less polluted air (ozone and particulates), or toxic landfills. In fact, it’s top five news items as of press time were for expenditures/awards/monies related in part to global warming/climate change. And yesterday, the EPA announced yet another grant, this time to “four Massachusetts organizations that will educate the community about climate change.” These are American taxpayer dollars being hijacked by a federally funded environmental agency to promote the vision of a president tone deaf to critique or convention.
And all those new rules have costs attached to them, so much so that even the Supreme Court had to reel the EPA back into shallower waters as it had gone off the deep end once again. Any rule or regulation costs money. Some are practical (like clean drinking water and fresh air) and some are onerous and symbolic (the Clean Power Plan that just about every single expert has said will do nothing to avert the Earth’s temperature from rising, including McCarthy).
NASA’s Bolden, who said in the same interview about his agency’s desire to study our world’s climate as well as the universe, is also nonplussed by the same House committee tasked with overseeing his agency. Since 2009, President Obama has asked for a “total of $107 billion for NASA’s budget,” which is overseen by the House Select Committee of Science, Space, and Technology, chaired by Rep Lamar Smith. For FY 2016, Obama asked for $1.95 billion for NASA’s Earth science budget, but “congressional appropriators countered with $500 million less than the president’s request.” Half a billion dollars must seem like chump change to a government employee.
All the while, Rep. Smith has been requesting emails from NOAA regarding egregious climate-related missteps, so much so that scientists are using the government’s whistleblower protection act to expose corruption at NOAA. Since his request, NOAA has refused to turn over a single email or internal communication. The Washington Post also reported that a “groundbreaking global warming study was ‘rushed to publication’ over the objections of numerous scientists at NOAA.”
The study, which some climate scientists say was politically expedient for Obama’s climate agenda, was a last-ditch attempt to rewrite the temperature data that goes back nearly 200 years to make it appear as if the last 20 years are actually warming (they aren’t). Rep Smith said “whistleblowers have come forward with new information on the climate study’s path to publication in June.”
As noted previously, satellite measurements orbiting the Earth show no statistical increase in temperatures since January 1997, including a particularly strong El Niño event that made 1998 appear warmer than usual. Currently, an El Niño event (a naturally occurring phenomenon) has formed in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is affecting temperatures worldwide (some regions are warmer, wetter, drier, or colder than normal). It’s also causing the northeastern United States to experience warmer-than-normal temperatures and other areas to have lower temperatures.
Since neither NASA nor NOAA can write new regulations regarding carbon dioxide emissions, the EPA has become the federal government’s go-to lawmaker, implementing tens of thousands of new regulations each year to reduce CO2 emissions ahead of the COP 21 climate talks in early December.
And while Rep. Smith is requesting government emails (which are the property of the United States), so far the only thing NOAA is giving the committee is the bum’s rush. Smith says the “whistleblowers’ allegations make it more crucial that he be provided with the scientists’ internal e-mails and communications.” If he doesn’t get the government-owned emails, Mr. Smith said in a second letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, “I will be forced to consider use of compulsory process.”
That means a subpoena for refusing to comply with the committee tasked with overseeing NOAA’s spending (and activities). While some at NOAA believe this is nothing more than a fishing expedition, others note that if you have nothing to hide, simply hand over the work-related emails. After all, data generated using government-funded taxpayer dollars belongs to the public, not to any single individual.
For reasons still unclear, NOAA is digging in its heels about not handing over its emails. They may fear that another ClimateGate is on the horizon, where the computer servers of the Climatic Research Unit/UK were hacked in Nov. 2009 and scientists’ emails—here and abroad—were shared on the web. They were alleged to show that “global warming was a scientific conspiracy, that scientists manipulated climate data, and attempted to suppress critics.” The collusion was so rampant and disturbing, that some reputable climate scientists refused to contribute any further in the climate arena.
After numerous investigations, most reports recommended that scientists could renew public trust by “opening up access to their supporting data, processing methods and software, and by promptly honoring freedom of information (FOIA) requests.” So NOAA’s willful disregard to the committee’s request is a bit troubling, given a major climate talk is beginning in early December. All of which may explain why they are recalcitrant to turn over any emails or internal communications after what transpired in Nov. 2009.
Even still, Obama’s new regulations are already hitting the wallets of low- to middle-income people and not making any difference in CO2 levels. With more ‘pain and no gain’ to come. Obama’s Clean Power Plan has so many rules that Congress has passed a bill to block Obama’s CO2 regulations and rein in big government. Not surprisingly, Obama has threatened a veto and his vassal in the Senate, Harry Reid, who’s under investigation for a pay-to-play scheme, has promised to block the bill.
Thomas Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research said in an emailed statement that “Congress is sending a clear message to countries around the world that there is significant opposition to President Obama’s unlawful carbon regulations.” He noted that the “The Obama administration’s agenda will unavoidably damage the economy, kill jobs, and raise energy costs–hurting America’s poor and middle class families the most.” That’s not just rhetoric but backed up by actual figures that show just how much these new regulations will cost (and felt the most by low- to middle-income families).
Bolden is also “disappointed but not surprised by the actions of Congress,” even though Congress still decides where taxpayer dollars are spent. He also said, “There are certain things that everyone understands. The climate is changing. We don’t know what it all means, but we’re trying to understand that.”
Bolden said that when Congress continues “to ignore facts about the climate, that’s to our detriment. It’s not to theirs, it’s to the detriment of the nation.” None of which is surprising given he was handpicked by Obama to head NASA. What Bolden refuses to acknowledge and what is shown in this peer-reviewed study is that if every country agreed to limit CO2 emissions, it wouldn’t do a thing to avert the planet warming one tenth of one degree.
Bolden recently gave a presentation on the next steps for a human journey to Mars to the progressive liberal group Center for American Progress (CAP) in October. CAP’s CEO and President, Neera Tanden, worked for the “Obama and Clinton administrations and for Hillary Clinton’s campaigns.” Congress is expected to finalize NASA’s FY 2016 budget early next month.