Today the US House of Representatives is expected to vote on an amendment which would deny any US funding to international efforts to determine whether global warming is happening and how much damage it will have on humanity.  The amendment from Rep. Luetkemeyer (R-MO) would block funds to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  This amendment would effectively pretend that global warming doesn’t exist and then put blinders and earplugs on so that reality doesn’t get in the way of their opinion.  It is like when my children put their hands over their ears, close their eyes and say na…na…na…na!  But in this case their effort to ignore scientists and reality is extremely dangerous. 

This amendment is effectively an attack on science and our efforts to understand global warming.  Given the expected impacts that confront us, we need more answers, not fewer.  We need the best scientists in the US and around the world to help us determine the extent that global warming will impact humanity.  We don’t need politicians telling us. 

If you have questions about something do you go in your basement and turn off the lights?  No you turn on the TV, look it up on the internet, or listen to the radio.  This is basically what the IPCC does.  The IPCC assesses what scientists know about climate change. It doesn’t do new research; it pulls together already published research and explains it to policymakers and the public.  It is a collaboration by hundreds of volunteering US scientists alongside scientists from 194 countries around the world.

Funding for science has always been bipartisan.  Funding the IPCC has historically been a bipartisan effort as President George H.W. Bush committed to this funding and Congress ratified supporting this effort.  This amendment would go against that trend.

This amendment isn’t about saving America money.  We spend just over $2 million dollars per year to support the IPCC – or about one-half a penny per American.  That little funding leverages the funding from other countries.  Given the magnitude of damage that could be caused by global warming, this is a very small investment in finding out the truth.

If there are those who have questions about climate science, then they should be the most supportive of pursuing the science that can help to answer those questions.  But this amendment would take away our ability to get the facts from independent scientists.  Instead we would now have to rely on the opinion of politicians.

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Thanks to WWF-US for some of the information in this post.