NBC News reported Thursday that four members of the United States Senate requested an investigation of National Science Foundation grants regarding a program that aims to increase climate reporting by meteorologists. Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, James Lankford, and Jim Inhofe said that the program is “propagandizing” by moving beyond science into political advocacy. It is unclear where the four senators found evidence pointing to political activity by the program. Its sponsor, the nonprofit Climate Central, has helped educate more than 500 TV weathercasters nationwide on global warming and its impacts on temperatures, pollen levels, sea level rise, and the spread of insect-borne illnesses like Lyme disease.
Ben Strauss, the CEO of Climate Central, rejected the notion that his organization engaged in partisan politics. In an email to NBC News, he said that “Climate Central is not an advocacy organization, and the scientific consensus on climate change is not a political viewpoint.” For seeking to impede efforts to educate meteorologists (and indirectly, the American public) on the effects of global warming, the four senators earn this week’s jester designation.