Three of America’s leading climate scientists are accusing a politician of intimidating them, because they are insisting that global warming is real and that action should be taken immediately to curb greenhouse gas emissions, before more events like hurricane Katrina occur. The question is, is Rep. Joe Barton (R,TX) doing this at hisown instigation or acting on orders from above?

Paul Brown writes in the Guardian that these climate specialists are saying they are being put under unfair scrutiny by Rep. Barton, who is chairman of the House Committe onEnergy and Commerce. Barton has asked for details about their funding sources and has also demanded a copy of every paper they have ever published. Even if these eminent scientists have nothing to hide, this amount of record keeping and paperwork adds up to an arduous, time-consuming task for any busy professional. It’s doubtful that Barton has questions that these documents can answer. It’s more likely that he simply wants to harass them.

A poll on Barton’s own website, which is visited for themost part by his constituents and supporters, shows thedepth of public opposition to his activities. When asked thequestion, “Should Congress be able to ask questions aboutfederally funded scientific studies, especially when thosestudies can impact future legislation and taxpayer dollars?”an astonishing 40% of his supporters said no–even thoughthe question was obviously structured to make his actionssound reasonable.

Joe Barton is a Texan who has been a lobbyist for the gasoline industry, and he has opposed every piece of legislation aimed at combating climate change. The climate scientists being harassed in this way are Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University; Raymond Bradley, director of the Climate Research Center at the University of Massachusetts; and Malcolm Hughes, director of Tree Ring Research at the University of Arizona.

Whitley Strieber is used to being intimidated for telling thetruth, but that hasn’t stopped him yet. Listen to this week’s Dreamland show, when he interviews two climate scientists about the causes of the weather disaster in New Orleans. And if you want us to be here tomorrow, please support us today.

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