The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is made up of 22 Republican representatives and 17 Democratic representatives. Given that the GOP holds the majority vote, it should come as no surprise that the committee approved a 2016-2017 budget which cuts at least $323 million of NASA’s earth science funding, the Huffington Post reported.
A considerable amount of that earth science work goes towards studying climate, and therefore climate change. A number of members of the Science Committee deny that climate change is even real, including chairman Lamar Smith (R-TN), who said:
“Today’s bill is a step in the right direction to ensure that NASA will continue to innovate and inspire … [The bill provides] NASA with the resources necessary to remain a leader in space exploration in a time of tight budget realities … We must restore balance to NASA’s budget if we want to ensure the US continues to lead in space for the next 50 years. And we must continue to invest in NASA as the only government agency responsible for space exploration.”
This Republican budget is operating under the invalid assumption that all NASA does is send stuff into space and poke around, which the Space and Technology Policy Group pointed out is ridiculous.
“House and Senate Republicans on NASA’s authorization committees argue that NASA’s unique expertise is space exploration and studying the Earth should not be one of its priorities. Although many also are climate change skeptics, publicly they do not frame their arguments in that context, instead insisting that other agencies should pay for that research, not NASA.
Overall, the House bill demonstrates well known differences between Republicans and the Obama White House over NASA’s priorities. Congressional Democrats also disagree with the Obama Administration on many of those issues, but earth science funding is one area where Democrats, in the past at least, have tried to protect NASA’s program.”
Last month, Smith wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal which chastised those who want climate change to shape policy, saying that the government “should focus on good science.”
How exactly does pulling funding from a huge part of NASA help produce good science on which to focus? Making sure that those scientists who support climate science, which is essentially all of them, can’t do their work keeps the false information at the forefront of what shouldn’t even be a debate.