Min­istry of pro­pa­ganda? GOP rips plan for cli­mate of­fice

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY BEN WOLF­GANG

House Repub­li­cans on June 22 charged that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is aim­ing to es­tab­lish a “pro­pa­ganda of­fice” for Demo­cratic ini­tia­tives on global warm­ing through a pro­posal to con­sol­i­date op­er­a­tions in a new “cli­mate ser­vice” of­fice within the Com­merce Depart­ment

Ten­sions boiled over at a con­gres­sional hear­ing as of­fi­cials of the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NOAA) de­fended the con­sol­i­da­tion plan con­tained in Pres­i­dent Obama’s fis­cal 2012 bud­get and de­nied hav­ing any ul­te­rior mo­tive.

NOAA hopes to move more than 50 per­cent of its re­sources into the new cli­mate ser­vice depart­ment, which it says will serve as the cen­tral clear­ing­house for farm­ers, lo­cal gov­ern­ments, the mil­i­tary and aca­demics seek­ing in­for­ma­tion on cli­mate trends.

But a num­ber of GOP lawmakers, who have staunchly op­posed the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s cli­mate and en­ergy poli­cies in the past, chal­lenged NOAA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Jane Lubchenco at a hear­ing of the House Science, Space and Tech­nol­ogy Com­mit­tee.

“[The cli­mate ser­vice of­fice] sounds a lot like a pro­pa­ganda of­fice to me. This seems to be an un­needed dis­trac­tion that has noth­ing to do with science,” said Rep. Paul C. Broun, Ge­or­gia Repub­li­can. “This just seems like a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated ad­vo­cacy

“NOAA is propos­ing to more ef­fi­ciently use the re­sources we re­ceive to ad­vance our science and im­prove our de­liv­ery of ser­vices to the pub­lic,” she said, adding that the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion, if ap­proved by Congress, would be

A num­ber of GOP lawmakers, who have staunchly op­posed the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s cli­mate and en­ergy poli­cies in the past, chal­lenged NOAA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Jane Lubchenco at a hear­ing of the House Science, Space and Tech­nol­ogy Com­mit­tee. “[The cli­mate ser vice of­fice] sounds a lot like a pro­pa­ganda of­fice to me. This seems to be an un­needed dis­trac­tion that has noth­ing to do with science,” said Rep. Paul C. Broun, Ge­or­gia Repub­li­can. “This just seems like a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated ad­vo­cacy of­fice that this ad­min­is­tra­tion is try­ing to stand up.”

of­fice that this ad­min­is­tra­tion is try­ing to stand up.”

Ms. Lubchenco called the pro­posal a “good gov­ern­ment” re­form and re­jected Mr. Broun’s ac­cu­sa­tions and sim­i­lar con­cerns from other Repub­li­cans on the com­mit­tee. bud­get-neu­tral and would not re­quire ad­di­tional fund­ing.

The hear­ing came on a day when for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Al Gore, a lead­ing Demo­cratic voice on the en­vi­ron­ment, chided Mr. Obama for fail­ing to de­liver the change he promised on cli­mate change, and crit­i­cized con­gres­sional Democrats for giv­ing up on the con­tro­ver­sial “cap-and­trade” en­ergy plan to curb green­house gas emis­sions.

Mr. Gore, in a lengthy es­say for Rolling Stone posted on the mag­a­zine’s web­site, crit­i­cized both the ad­min­is­tra­tion and con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans for not do­ing enough to ad­dress what he says is the global cri­sis of cli­mate change.

Repub­li­cans fear NOAA’s pro­posed cli­mate ser­vice of­fice would serve as a ve­hi­cle to res­ur­rect the cap-and-trade pro­posal and mas­quer­ade as an im­par­tial sci­en­tific data cen­ter while pro­vid­ing po­lit­i­cal cover to far-reach­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal leg­is­la­tion.

“Our pro­posed re­or­ga­ni­za­tion has noth­ing to do with cap and trade,” Ms. Lubchenco told skep­ti­cal Repub­li­cans. “There is no ad­vo­cacy in what we are propos­ing.”

Robert Wi­nokur, deputy oceanog­ra­pher for the Navy, said he and fel­low re­searchers cur­rently must nav­i­gate a va­ri­ety of of­fices at NOAA, de­pend­ing on what they need. “We would like, frankly, a sim­ple and easy en­try point into the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” he said, adding that a “sin­gle data por­tal” would help the Navy and other branches of the mil­i­tary make long-term plans.

Com­mit­tee Democrats voiced sup­port for the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­posal and said they hoped a re­or­ga­nized NOAA, by co­or­di­nat­ing and tar­get­ing its anal­y­sis, could bet­ter pre­dict droughts, floods or storms.

“Why would we not want to give peo­ple the tools and in­for­ma­tion needed to an­tic­i­pate what is to come?” asked Texas Rep. Ed­die Ber­nice John­son, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the com­mit­tee.

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