I have introduced Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) in this blog before. I showed you a photo of him not even looking at the pile of scientific articles that proved his assertion, that there is no human effect on global warming, to be wrong. He did not even look at the pile of papers.
Smith is the chairman of the House Science Committee, which is preparing the America COMPETES reauthorization act of 2015. The previous versions of this act (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) in 2007 and 2010 enjoyed bipartisan support, but Smith has turned it into a sounding board for his extreme anti-environmental views. The purpose of the act was to support science so that America can compete in the world marketplace. If Smith has his way (and he might; the bill passed the House on May 20) this bill will make America competitive the same way the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand is competitive. (By the way, ostriches do not actually do this except when digging holes to lay their eggs.) According to Science magazine on April 24, Smith’s proposals for science funding are within 20 percent, up or down, from President Obama’s funding requests, except for three areas. Those areas are:
- Department of Energy renewable and efficient energy: down 56%
- Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy: down 57%
- National Science Foundation Social and Behavioral Research: down 58%
Smith’s priorities (and those of most Republicans in Congress) are plainly obvious from the first two of these numbers: he does not want any research and development of new technologies that might reduce our burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels mean money which means campaign contributions. Christian fundamentalists, who adore Smith and his fellow Republicans, also hate the science of global warming, as I have written previously. Fundamentalists may also feel threatened by social and behavioral research.
It is clear that Congress is driven entirely by corporate money and not at all by verifiable information. Surprised, anyone?