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What we don't know can hurt us

The climate crisis is intensifying. Standing in the way of information pointing to reality will not make the problem go away.
Calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers are seen floating on the water on July 30, 2013 in Qaqortoq, Greenland.
Calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers are seen floating on the water on July 30, 2013 in Qaqortoq, Greenland.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its latest findings on the climate crisis this morning, and the news was not at all good. Scientists found that sweeping effects are already evident on every continent and in all of the world's oceans, and as the New York Times' report added, "they warned that the problem was likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control."
Don't worry, Congress has a plan. It apparently involves having less information about the climate crisis.

The House will vote [this] week on a legislation to require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus its efforts on storm predictions instead of researching climate change. Members will consider the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act, H.R. 2413, as early as Tuesday. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) introduced his bill last year after tornadoes hit his home state. Those storms led him to argue on the House floor the government spends too much on climate change research and not enough on developing weather forecasting tools to predict tornadoes and other events.

Under the plan, NOAA scientists wouldn't be prohibited from studying climate patterns, but the scholars would be required to "prioritize weather-related activities" in their work.
It's worth noting that this is generally considered a Republican bill, but it has some Democratic co-sponsors.
If this legislation sounds vaguely familiar, it's probably because we've seen similar efforts before.
Remember this story out of North Carolina in 2012?

To briefly recap, GOP lawmakers in North Carolina have a new solution to rising sea levels, caused by global warming: scrap the scientific evidence pointing to rising sea levels. A state-appointed science panel warned officials that sea levels will rise 39 inches over the next century and that North Carolina needs to prepare. Under a GOP plan, officials would be prohibited from relying on the scientific evidence, and would instead have to use a historical model to set expectations. North Carolina would prepare for only 8 inches of sea level increase, since that's what happened over the last century.

Or how about this one from Virginia?

Virginia's legislature commissioned a $50,000 study to determine the impacts of climate change on the state's shores. To greenlight the project, they omitted words like "climate change" and "sea level rise" from the study's description itself. According to the House of Delegates sponsor of the study, these are "liberal code words," even though they are noncontroversial in the climate science community. Instead of using climate change, sea level rise, and global warming, the study uses terms like "coastal resiliency" and "recurrent flooding." Republican State Delegate Chris Stolle, who steered the legislation, cut "sea level rise" from the draft. Stolle has also said the "jury's still out" on humans' impact on global warming.

Or this one from Nebraska?

A study on the impact of climate change on Nebraska, recently approved by the state, may not be carried out -- because its own scientists are refusing to be a part of it. The problem, according to members of the governor-appointed Climate Assessment and Response Committee, is that the bill behind the study specifically calls for the researchers to look at "cyclical" climate change. In so doing, it completely leaves out human contributions to global warming.

The climate crisis is intensifying. Its effects are going to be brutal around the globe. Standing in the way of information pointing to reality will not make the problem go away.
The standard line from the right is that climate change needs more study before conservatives will decide whether or not to believe the science. But if that's true, why balk at additional information?