The House Science Committee is getting a leader who believes climate change is real
On Tuesday, eight science-credentialed candidates were elected to the House of Representatives.
- Nine science-credentialed representatives were elected to the 116th Congress after Tuesday's midterms—one senator and eight members of the House.
- Since 2010, the House Science Committee has been led by Republican Lamar Smith, who's been criticized for his skepticism on human-caused climate change.
- Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas Democrat, will likely take over as chair of the committee.
The House will receive eight new science-credentialed representatives when the 116th Congress heads to Washington in January 2019.
Among the newly elected are a biochemical engineer, ocean scientist, computer programmer and other science-related professionals. The Democrats among these new representatives were all endorsed by the nonprofit political action committee 314 Action, which trains and funds scientists who want to run for office in the U.S.
"Scientists are essentially problem-solvers," Shaughnessy Naughton, the president of 314 Action, told Business Insider. "Who better to be tackling these issues than scientists?"
Congress currently has within its ranks three scientists, eight engineers and one mathematician.
After Democrats took control of the House on Tuesday, some have wondered what changes will be made to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which oversees federal scientific research and development outside of defense purposes. One key shortcoming of the committee in recent years, in the eyes of Democrats at least, has been climate change.
"Hopefully we will no longer see the science committee used as a messaging tool for the fossil fuel industry," Rep. Bill Foster, an Illinois Democrat and science committee member, told Wired. "I look forward to hearings with a balance of witnesses that reflect mainstream scientific hearings instead of a small group of industry players."
A new leader for the House Science Committee
The previous chairman of the House Science Committee was Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and lawyer by former profession. During his tenure, Smith publicly questioned the integrity of federal climate scientists and routinely questioned whether humans are contributing to climate change. Smith, who received $600,000 from the fossil fuel industry during his career, also said a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere is "beneficial" to global trade.
"The benefits of a changing climate are often ignored and under-researched," Smith said. "Our climate is too complex and the consequences of misguided policies too harsh to discount the positive effects of carbon enrichment."
It's likely that Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas Democrat and former nurse who's served on the committee, will replace Smith. In a statement released after the midterms on Tuesday, Johnson said that, if elected, she hopes to restore "the credibility of the Science Committee as a place where science is respected and recognized as a crucial input to good policymaking."
"I know that there is much that we can accomplish as Democrats and Republicans working together for the good of the nation," Johnson said.
Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said scientific issues like climate change don't need to be partisan.
"I think it will be quite dramatic," Rosenberg told The Hill. "She wants to restore the focus of the science committee and the real culture of the committee is working in a bipartisan fashion. These things aren't inherently partisan unless someone like Lamar Smith makes them so."
Neil deGrasse Tyson: Science is bigger than politics
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- Where politicians fail, economic realities mean renewables are far less expensive: A savings of $4 billion over the next 30 years
- Indiana is 7th in coal production and 3rd in consumption; this is due to change rapidly
- The big winners? Solar and wind energies
The comics titan worked for more than half a century to revolutionize and add nuance to the comics industry, and he built a vast community of fans along the way.
- Lee died shortly after being rushed to an L.A. hospital. He had been struggling with multiple illnesses over the past year, reports indicate.
- Since the 1950s, Lee has been one of the most influential figures in comics, helping to popularize heroes that expressed a level of nuance and self-doubt previously unseen in the industry.
- Lee, who's later years were marked by some financial and legal tumult, is survived by his daughter, Joan Celia "J.C." Lee.
The government hopes to see 1.5 million electric cars on roads by 2030.
- The legislation is expected to pass by the end of 2018.
- The move is inspired partly by Israel's recent discovery of several large deposits of natural gas.
- It's one of the latest developments in Israel's broader plan to wean itself off other more destructive fossil fuels.
The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.
- The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
- Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
- The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
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