Is science political?
That's what one guest on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" claimed Friday, drawing gasps from the studio audience during a discussion about global climate change.
"Science is very political," Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) said.
"The only science that is 'political' is the science that is funded by oil companies," host Bill Maher replied.
"And Democrats," Rep. Kingston then quipped.
Moments prior Kingston blasted former vice president Al Gore for his Academy Award-winning documentary about climate change, "An Inconvenient Truth." But the comedian would have nothing of it.
"Why isn't it a conservative position to conserve the Earth?" Maher asked to no direct reply.
During the program, Kingston, who is a member of a House subcommittee on defense, maintained that the science behind climate change was inconclusive.
However, the climate science community unanimously agreed that human industry directly effects the Earth's climate.
"It is well established through formal attribution studies that the global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases," the US government's Global Change Research Program reported. [PDF] "Such studies have only recently been used to determine the causes of some changes in extremes at the scale of a continent. Certain aspects of observed increases in temperature extremes have been linked to human influences."
Their summary concluded: "In the future, with continued global warming, heat waves and heavy downpours are very likely to further increase in frequency and intensity. Substantial areas of North America are likely to have more frequent droughts of greater severity. Hurricane wind speeds, rainfall intensity, and storm surge levels are likely to increase. The strongest cold season storms are likely to become more frequent, with stronger winds and more extreme wave heights.
"Current and future impacts resulting from these changes depend not only on the changes in extremes, but also on responses by human and natural systems."
Maher posed the topic of climate change on the same weekend the billionaire Koch brothers were to have met with other right-wing activists to plan for the 2012 election.
This video is from HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, as snipped by Mediaite.