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Nebraska conservatives demand flawed climate study; scientists refuse

By George Chidi
Sunday, October 27, 2013 21:44 EDT
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drought concept via Shutterstock
 
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First, Virginia’s legislature calls for a $50,000 climate change study that omits the words “climate change” and “sea level rise” from the study’s description. Then, North Carolina decides to ignore a study predicting the sea will rise on its coast.

Now, Nebraska’s legislature has asked its state climate scientists to look at climate change … but apparently without accounting for human activity on the climate.

The bill for a Climate Assessment Response Committee allocates up to $44,000 for a study of “cyclical” climate change — a term that has no scientifically-defined meaning, the state’s scientific community noted in response to the request. The legislation asks the committee to “provide timely and systematic data collection, analysis, and dissemination of information about drought and other severe climate occurrences to the Governor and to other interested persons,” and to supply advice for requests for federal disaster declarations.

Nebraska has been in a severe drought for about two years. Recent flooding in Colorado has somewhat mitigated the drought conditions, but the state’s climatologists worry that a dry winter may return the state to drought conditions.

The Omaha World Herald reported that State Sen. Beau McCoy, a Republican candidate for governor and anthropogenic climate change denier, added the word “cyclical” to the legislation.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists said they wouldn’t participate in the climate study if it didn’t take human activity into account, refusing to be political pawns, as Al Dutcher, Nebraska state climatologist, told the legislative committee.

 
 
 
 
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