REPORT: Lamar Smith visits Greenland with lawmakers to see climate change effects up close


Noted climate-change skeptic U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith — the whose district stretches into parts of Austin — saw the effects of the warming Arctic first-hand on an unpublicized tour of Greenland and Alaska in May

Smith was accompanied by at least eight of his fellow congressmen on the trip, which was first reported by BuzzFeed News on Friday

The delegation from the House’s science and technology committee, which Smith chairs, included closed-door meetings between the lawmakers and scientists to learn about federally funded research tracking climate change there. It included an aerial tour, where the representatives were able to see the melting ice caps first hand, BuzzFeed reported. 

When reached by the American-Statesman, Smith’s office referred all questions to the committee, officially known as the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. The committee’s spokeswoman was not available to comment. 

Smith, who is among the most vocal critics of climate change in Congress, has labeled scientists who study the matter “so-called self-professed climate scientists,” has subpoenaed their emails and has attempted to slash funding for programs researching climate change. 

Greenland is among the places on the planet that have been hardest hit by warming temperatures. The retreating ice caps are affecting many aspects of life there, including local insect populations. 

Scientists say that if the Greenland ice cap were to entirely melt, it would raise sea levels around the world by 20 feet, potentially putting chunks of many major coastal cities — like New York, Miami and New Orleans — under water. 

recent investigation by Reuters found that rising sea levels are already causing significant flooding problems in many towns and cities along the East Coast. 

The trip came just two months before a Delaware-sized chunk of the Antarctic ice shelf split off into the ocean. 

Some climate scientists believe the warming in the region was at least partly a consequence of human-caused climate change. Others have disputed that, seeing a large role for natural variability — and noting that icebergs have been breaking away from ice shelves for many millions of years, the New York Times reported this week. 

But, the Times added, the two camps agree that the breakup of ice shelves in the Antarctic peninsula may be a preview of what is in store for the main part of Antarctica as the world continues heating up as a result of human activity.


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