Today is the occasion of "one hell of a hearing," as Rep. Henry Waxman’s Oversight Committee has another go as the subject of "Allegations of Political Interference with the Work of Government Climate Change Scientists." WaPo has the following folks testifying:

  • Philip Cooney, former chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality;
  • James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
  • George Deutsch, former public affairs officer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
  • James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality;
  • Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

E&E News (sub. rqd.) provides the background you need to understand why this one could be a doozy:

The hearing comes after committee leaders resolved a long dispute with the administration over the lawmakers’ requests for documents they say show Cooney and his former colleagues at the White House Council on Environmental Quality edited scientific reports on global warming to emphasize uncertainty.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Monday’s hearing will be Cooney’s first appearance before Congress to discuss his work as CEQ chief of staff, a post he resigned in June 2005 after reports surfaced about his editing of federal climate reports. He now works for Exxon Mobil Corp.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Lawmakers will also hear from Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who made headlines last year when he accused political appointees at NASA of preventing him from speaking to the media about climate research.

The resulting controversy sparked reports of scientific suppression at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies. It also led to the firing of former NASA political appointee George Deutsch, the news office aide who issued the gag order against Hansen.

Deutsch and University of Alabama climatologist Roy Spencer, who is affiliated with several industry-funded think tanks that question the science behind global warming, round out the witness list for next week’s House hearing.

You’ll recall that while Cooney slunk off in well-advised silence, George Deutsch kept talking, and demonstrated to everyone’s satisfaction that he is dumb as a box of hair.

So Cooney will be forced to talk, Deutsch will almost certainly say something stupid, and if we’re good boys and girls, Santa Spencer might just bring us some intelligent design crankery to go with his climate crankery.

Amidst these Lilliputian ideologues strides James Hansen, whose name will appear in history books as surely as theirs will be absent even as footnotes. Hansen’s not exactly a shrinking violet.

Only Connaughton fights on the side of boredom, which usually has the upper hand at these hearings. This one should be worth watching (on C-SPAN2, at 10 a.m. EDT). I hope someone records it.