Science reporter Cornelia Dean publicizes a congressional hearing based on a report issued by two unlabeled left-wing groups in Wednesday's "Scientists Criticize White House Stance on Climate Change Findings ."
"Under its new Democratic chairman, Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform took on the Bush administration's handling of climate change science yesterday, and even the Republicans on the panel had little good to say about the administration's actions.
"The subject of the hearing was accusations of administration interference with the work of government climate scientists. Almost to a person, Republicans on the panel introduced themselves by proclaiming their agreement that the earth's climate was warming and that the principal culprit was greenhouse gases generated by people and their machinery.
"And when witnesses spoke in defense of the administration, it was often to say only that there were still some scientists who doubted that climate view or that the administration's approach was not unique."
Dean didn't dwell on the fact that the driving source for the hearing was a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, helped out by another left-wing group, the Government Accountability Project. Halfway through the story Dean brought up the report, but described UCS, which lobbies against missile defense,only as "a private group that researches environmental, arms control and other issues."
Of the four witnesses, one was with UCS and two (NASA scientist Drew Shindell and former Climate Change Science Program Senior Associate Rick Piltz) were cited prominently in the UCS report.
And it's not as if dire threats of global warming are exactly lacking in the news these days. In fact, the UCS report cited stories in the New York Times on 15 occasions, mostly Times' reporting on disgruntled scientists leaking about the Bush administration's alleged squelching of their intellectual freedom.
(Strangely, a keyword search of the report found not a single reference to the Washington Post or Los Angeles Times - the New York Times truly is the go to paper for liberally leaking scientists.)
Iain Murray at National Review's "The Corner " calls the UCS report "junk science," explaining:
"The UCS mailed out over 1600 survey forms to climate scientistsand based their assertions of political interference on the 297 that got returned. That's a response rate of just 19 percent.OMB guidelines clearly state that a response rate of less than 80 percent requires an investigation of potential biases and an even closer investigation for a response rate lower than 70 percent.A response rate of lower than twenty percent is clearly vulnerable to the charge of a self-selecting sample, perhaps those with an axe to grind against their bosses, the politically motivated, and so on.In short, it provides all sorts of legitimate reasons to dismiss the survey as utterly unrepresentative."