Wether you are Republican or Democrat, if you care about evidence-based policymaking, there’s one thing that will make you happy. The House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology will, for the first time since 2010 be led by someone who agree with facts when it comes to climate change.

Under the past eight years of Republican leadership, the House Science Committee seemed to have forgotten the part about Science. GOP committee chair Lamar Smith pushed blatant misinformation about the major influence of human activity on global warming. For example the committee tweeted this following a plunge in temperature and heavy snow.

Smith, who is not a scientist, has used the veil of authority that chairmanship offers to pen articles imploring the public not to buy into the “hysteria over carbon dioxide” while railing against “climate alarmists” at pro-fossil fuel get-togethers. (He has also accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry.)

The Next Chairman of the House Science Comittee

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX) is the presumed new chair of the House science committee, succeeding the retiring Representative Lamar Smith (R). A former chief psychiatric nurse, she would be the first House science committee chair with a STEM background since the 1990s, according to Washington Post reporter Sarah Kaplan. She became the first registered nurse to be elected to Congress in 1993.

Eddie Bernice Johnson - House Science Comittee
Science, Space, and Technology Committee ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson speaks during a hearing.Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

In a statement released last night, Johnson said that one her priority will be to address the “challenge of climate change, starting with acknowledging it is real.”  Another will be to restore “the credibility of the science committee as a place where science is respected and recognized as a crucial input to good policymaking.”


State ballot initiatives results

Another interesting result to look at are the State ballot initiatives related to climate and energy issues. Unfortunately those generally fared poorly on election day.
In Washington, voters rejected an effort to impose a tax on carbon emissions.
In Colorado, a bid to greatly restrict the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) failed.
In Arizona, a measure aimed at increasing the state’s use of renewable energy went down in defeat, although Nevada appears to have taken the first step toward adopting a similar policy.

The on good news comes from Florida where voters supported a measure to ban offshore drilling in state waters. This is not surprising considering the catastrophic impact the Deepwater Horizon incident had.

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