House Science Committee Leader Says Climate Scientists Are Trying to Control People’s Lives

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Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, declared in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives this week that the people warning us about the dangers of global warming — which definitely includes climate scientists — are either trying to make a quick buck, or they’re just trying to control our lives.

As reported by The Hill, Smith made the following statement on Wednesday (April 5):

Climate change alarmists always predict cataclysmic events that will inevitably occur when the world’s temperature rises by more than two degrees Celsius … But all the howling and gnashing of teeth signifies nothing. It is all posturing for their own purposes, including a desire to control people’s lives or get another government grant or an academic promotion.”

Rep. Smith’s statements about scientists seeking to enrich themselves or control people’s lives are made without evidence, but if you apply them to climate science deniers, they might start to take on a ring of truth.

For example, Rep. Smith has taken more than $700,000 from the oil and gas industry over the course of his political career, according to OpenSecrets.org. This makes oil and gas the single largest industry donating to his Congressional campaigns. And in return for that money, Smith appears to have become a champion for the fossil fuel industry.

Map and list of Lamar Smith's donations from the fossil fuel industry
Archived version (and therefore likely not completely up-to-date) of Rep. Smith’s connections to and donations received from the fossil fuel industry, his biggest industry supporter. Credit: DirtyEnergyMoney

Just look to his voting record.

According to On The Issues, Rep. Smith has consistently voted against environmental issues and in favor of fossil fuel projects, including expanding offshore drilling, opening new oil refineries, and voting against ending the billions of dollars that the federal government hands out in the form of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry (though he did vote against tax credits for renewable energy).

In fact, Rep. Smith has repeatedly turned the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee — and its Twitter account — into a platform for climate science denial and defense of oil and gas companies, notably, ExxonMobil.

For further evidence of the fossil fuel industry pouring money into sowing doubt and denial of the fact that humans are changing the climate, look to the range of organizations and individuals profiled in DeSmog’s Climate Disinformation Database.

Main image: Rep. Lamar Smith, December 1, 2009. Credit: Ryan Reilly, CC BY 2.0

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine, and his articles have appeared on The Huffington Post, Alternet, and The Progressive Magazine. He has worked for the Ring of Fire radio program with hosts Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mike Papantonio, and Sam Seder since August 2004, and is currently the co-host and producer of the program. He also currently serves as the co-host of Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV, a daily program airing nightly at 8:30pm eastern. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009.  Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.

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