Can Congress say no to an innocuous, zero-cost request for a government agency to reorganize itself so that it contains a National Climate Service? The answer — in our anti-science, post-truth, batshit crazy America — is yes.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wanted to create what it calls a "one stop shop" for climate information, which is more in demand than ever.
Farmers are wondering when to plant. Urban planners want to know whether groundwater will stop flowing under subdivisions. Insurance companies need climate data to help them set rates.
But because climate change is still "controversial" to the 0.001 percent of the population that is employed as members of Congress, all those taxpaying Americans can shove it. You want to know whether Manhattan will have to spend billions on flood barriers to prevent the inundation of America's most iconic city? Ha! Congress laughs in your face, its breath reeking of the lobster dinner it just finished with a lobbyist from the extractive industries.
“Our hesitation,” Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) told Lubchenco at a hearing in June, “is that the climate services could become little propaganda sources instead of a science source.”
Because god forbid some of the top climate scientists on the planet should be allowed to responsibly dispense information they're already carefully vetting lest they be branded political revolutionaries.
Meanwhile, everyone from large scientific groups like the American Geophysical Union (which represents 60,000 scientists) to the Reinsurance Association of America (which represents the groups that have to evaluate systemic climate risks for insurers) is in favor of the new organization. If only we lived in a democracy.