Sunday, March 26, 2023
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Senators Say Taxpayer $$ for ‘Science’ Instead Goes to Advocacy

‘Research designed to sway individuals of a various group…to a politically contentious viewpoint is not science…is propagandizing…’

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(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul joined Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Oklahoma senators James Lankford and Jim Inhofe on Monday to call for an investigation of the National Science Foundation, saying it violated federal law by using the grant process to influence political and social debate over global warming and other topics.

“Research designed to sway individuals of a various group, be they meteorologists or engineers, to a politically contentious viewpoint is not science—it is propagandizing,” the letter co-signed by the four senators said. “Such efforts certainly fail to meet the standard of scientific research to which the NSF should be devoting federal taxpayer dollars.”

The senators specifically raised questions over two grants, totaling nearly $4 million, to promote “climate education” among local news meteorologists.

Much of the funding benefited Climate Central, a group with the objective to “inspire people to support action to stabilize the climate,” according to a 2012 Washington Post article.

“Climate Central has since changed the manner in which it characterizes itself, perhaps due to the attention it received from the Washington Post, but the organization’s receipt of federal dollars for advocacy efforts raises significant concerns,” the senators’ said in their letter.

The senators asked NSF Inspector General Allison Lerner to investigate whether the grants were a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal agencies from engaging in partisan activities.

They provided seven questions about the nature of the NSF policies on research grants.

Among the Climate Central’s three founding board members is Wendy Schmidt, wife of former Google chair Eric Schmidt, an outspoken advocate for progressive causes.

Another founder, Janet Lubchenco, was appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Other members of the Climate Central leadership, including board chair Stephen Pacala and President/CEO Ben Strauss, have contributed to Democratic campaigns, according to FEC filings.

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The Climate Central website denies it is an “advocacy group” because it does not endorse any specific policy positions.

However, the stated aim of its Climate Matters program is to influence public perception by providing graphics and other resources to TV weather people because “research shows that meteorologists are trusted messengers on climate change.”

The senators noted in their complaint to the NSF that when the initial funding for the program proved ineffective at swaying meteorologists, Climate Central doubled down by applying for a second grant.

“Having learned that meteorologists in general remained inconclusive regarding climate change, this coalition then returned to the NSF and secured an additional $2,998,178 to expand ‘the reach’ of a political advocacy group by recruiting 200 additional weathercasters.”

Since then, Climate Central’s efforts to infiltrate the media seem to be working.

A Wednesday story by NBC News boasted that, due to the organization’s work, “The number of stories on global warming by television weather people has increased 15-fold over five years.”

The debate over global warming and other weather anomalies has been fraught with questions in the past due to inconsistencies in data projections, questions over methodology and transparency, a reliance on hyperbolic alarmism and the McCarthyesque assault any form skepticism or dissenting viewpoints.

The hypocrisy of some climate change warriors and the ironic refusal of the weather to cooperate with their agenda have also created a public perception problem.

However, one data point that can’t be denied is the money involved.

As the Washington Times reported in 2015, the climate change industry was a $1.5 trillion global business, driven largely by policymaking.

With both reputation and financial livelihood at stake, climatologists have a vested interest not only in proving the veracity of their hypotheses, but also the urgency to take action.


In addition to the Climate Central grants, Sen. Paul et al. called on the NSF to investigate several other grants for “projects that appear to have little value beyond pushing for increased political activism,” amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, including a study on the role of social justice in engineering, which received $369,480.

They noted that the research sought to strengthen the role of social justice by mapping its evolution in the field of engineering and then sharing the findings with student groups and professional organizations that might use it for advocacy purposes.

The letter to the NSF also took to task two other studies on the “mechanisms for disengagement from contentious political action” and “identifying persuasion effects and selection in media exposures.”

“This is a stark departure from the purpose of the NSF, which includes ‘promot[ing] the progress of science,’” the senators wrote.

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