Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) replaced an ardent climate denier, former Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, as chair of the House Science Committee this year as Democrats took control of the chamber. The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology devoted its first hearing of the 116th Congress to exploring the wide-ranging effects of climate change and explaining the science fueling them, a discussion that revealed a subtle shift among key Republicans toward accepting the prevailing research that points to human-driven global warming. In her opening comments, committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) said that the hearing is one of multiple sessions on climate change the new Congress plans to hold in order to develop policies to address it. The committee’s move to highlight mainstream climate science is a marked break from the last six years when it was led by Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, an ardent climate denier from Texas who retired. The committee’s new top Republican, Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, staked out a more pragmatic and less provocative position than Smith and many other conservatives in Congress had. "Droughts and heat waves come and go naturally, but the changing climate has intensified their impacts," Lucas said in […]

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