Two members of Congress have written to the Environmental Protection Agency demanding answers about scientific documentation that was used to support the agency’s determination that “greenhouse gases threaten the public health and welfare of the American people.”
The letter is from U.S. Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Greg Walden, R-Ore., and follows by just a day a recommendation from officials at Penn State University that the work of one of their own – Michael Mann – regarding climate change documentation be investigated further.
The developments follow a tsunami that was triggered shortly before Christmas when a cache of e-mails sent among global warming proponents was hacked from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, one of the world’s premier global warming investigative organizations.. It revealed there were references to a “trick” to “hide the [temperature] decline,” suggestions that other e-mails were being purged to prevent their revelations and indicated scientists who did not agree deliberately were being excluded from the discussion.
Barton, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Walden, ranking member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, addressed their concerns to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson because the agency has based much of its work on information from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which worked closely with the officials East Anglia.
“In response to our letters this past summer regarding your proposed endangerment finding, you advised us that, in making the finding, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed great weight upon the assessment literature of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),” the letter said. “Consistent with your statements, the technical support document for the endangerment finding … largely relied upon the IPCC’s most recent 2007 assessment, including the IPCC’s attribution of observed climate change to human emissions of greenhouse gases.”
However, there have been raised some alarming questions about the data from the IPCC that the EPA used, the letter notes.
“A lead author for the IPCC’s Working Group II report has reportedly admitted to publishing a completely unsubstantiated IPCC claim that Himalayan glaciers risk disappearing in 25 years at current rates of global warming,” the letter said.
It noted that the existing evidence suggests that estimate is off by “at least 300 years.”
That particular issue developed when it was reported in the Times Online and other publications that the IPCC published information about glaciers that the author now concedes was based on “speculation” and wasn’t supported by any research.
Now the validity of any information processed through a system that would allow such a mistake is in question, the letter said.
“We believe this error raises questions about whether EPA’s due diligence and review of the IPCC assessments has been sufficiently rigorous. … We see no evidence that EPA has examined whether and how the IPCC implements and adheres to [guidelines to assure quality data].”
So now the members of Congress want Jackson to explain her agency’s peer-review process and scientific objectivity as related to the determination that greenhouse gases are endangering the world.
The IPCC report that has come into question was generated from Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist in Dehli. He included the estimate of massive glacier loss based on “speculation,” and the IPCC published, then re-used the information later, because the author of a report said, “We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policymakers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”
The members of Congress then raised a long list of questions for the EPA, including what it did to evaluate the validity of the information and how it considered “full information and all scientific viewpoints relating to climate change.”
Did the EPA even look at the credibility of the information it was using to make its decisions, the members of Congress want to know.
The EPA on Dec. 7, 2009, signed two findings regarding greenhouse gases. The first said, “The administrator finds that the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) – in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.”
The second said, “The administrator finds that the combined emissions of these well-mixed greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare.”
The letter notes the determination ultimately can influence legislation, rules, regulations, policy and even the emission of vehicles in the U.S. – all of which can impact American consumers financially.
WND reported yesterday when a panel of fellow faculty members at Penn State University has recommended further investigation into the work of prominent global warming advocate Michael Mann, whose discussion of the issue was featured prominently in the hacked e-mails.
University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit
The university report said a “university committee” of three members of the faculty reviewed four specific allegations against Mann.
“In looking at four possible allegations of research misconduct, the committee determined that further investigation is warranted for one of those allegations. The recommended investigation will focus on determining if Mann ‘engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities,'” the university said.
Like the initial inquiry, the “investigatory phase,” will be run by “five tenured full professor faculty members who will assess the evidence in the case and make a determination on Mann’s conduct.”
The London Guardian cited one of the e-mails from Mann to Phil Jones, who then headed the East Anglia Unit but later stepped down because of the controversy:
“This is all too predictable. This crowd of charlatans is always looking for one thing they can harp on, where people w/ little knowledge of the facts might be able to be convinced that there is a controversy. They can’t take on the whole of the science, so they look for one little thing they can say is wrong, and thus generalize that the science is entirely compromised.”
The e-mail appeared to suggest that global warming skeptics are “charlatans” who would like to take advantage of “people w/little knowledge” in pursuing their campaign that global warming is not, in fact, a significant threat.
But in fact, the scientific community is anything but unanimous on alarmism such as Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” video that makes it appear that mankind’s use of energy is simply melting polar icecaps on a daily basis.
The disunity is documented by the Petition Project which was launched some 10 years ago when the first few thousand signatures were gathered. The effort, assembled by Art Robinson, a research professor of chemistry and cofounder of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in 1973, now lists tens of thousands of qualified scientists who endorse this:
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
The Guardian article raised again questions over where the weather stations that are being used to generate “trends” of upwardly mobile temperatures are located. The article reports that crucial data American scientists got from Chinese collaborators regarding temperatures in rural China cannot be verified. The specific allegations involve a 1990 research paper which alleged temperatures in those regions were rising.
The report was a key reference for later work, including that at the U.N.’s Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change that discounted the impact of urbanization – simply the development of streets, buildings and other infrastructure – around weather stations.
But the report said dozens of the “Chinese meteorological stations had no histories of their locations or other details.” That included 40 of the 42 stations purportedly in rural areas. More than a dozen others also had been moved, perhaps making their temperature readings unusable in research.
WND previously has reported when a U.S. researchers accused government agencies of cherry-picking temperature readings used to assess global temperatures.
D’Aleo, a retired climatologist who has been skeptical of global warming, contends climate data has been corrupted and skewed by “urbanization and other local factors such as land-use-land-cover changes and improper siting.”
He concluded an analysis by San Jose computer programmer E.M. Smith of the data “found they systematically eliminated 75 percent of the world’s stations with a clear bias towards removing higher latitude, high altitude and rural locations.”
Among the original e-mails hacked from East Anglia and posted online was, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”
Suggestions to suppress information also were documented at East Anglia, “Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith re (Assessment Report 4)? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.”
They also suggest how “warmists,” as critics label those who believe in global warming, conspired to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer-review process.
Myron Ebell, of the GlobalWarming.org website where “cooler heads prevail,” had described the East Anglia e-mails as “shocking.”
“It’s kind of interesting to learn that petty politics seems to be more prevalent in the scientific community than in the political community,” he said.
The documents, he said, “raise a huge number of questions about the integrity of a lot of people in the alarmist community.
“What I’ve seen there is a very strong effort to manage the issue by scientists and not as a scientific issue. It’s very improper,” he said. “One of the criticisms is that we need scientists to be scientists, and policy can be handled in public debate.”
Further, a Colorado scientist described by the Washington Post as “the World’s Most Famous Hurricane Expert” said the East Anglia e-mails “are but the tip of a giant iceberg of a well-organized international climate-warming conspiracy that has been gathering momentum for the last 25 years.”
The comment came from Colorado State University’s William Gray, whose annual hurricane forecasts are the standard for weather prognostications. His work pioneered the science of forecasting hurricanes, and he has served as weather forecaster for the U.S. Air Force. He is emeritus professor of atmospheric science at CSU and heads the school’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences Tropical Meteorology Project.
He had forecast that U.S. researchers eventually would be caught by their own e-mails, too.
“This conspiracy would become much more manifest if all the e-mails of the publicly funded climate-research groups of the U.S. and of foreign governments were ever made public,” he said at the time.