Expert Commentaries on the National Assessment

by William Yeatman on June 30, 2000

in Science

The National Assessment on Climate Change, recently released for public comment, has come under fire for its alarmist tone and political bent. Much of that criticism, we now learn, comes from the technical reviewers of the report. A new report by David Wojick, himself a technical reviewer of the National Assessment, compiles comments from the technical reviews.

Two well known scientists, who support the global warming theory, are very critical of the report. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research argues that “There are major problems with the report, in terms of structure and the content.” He also notes that, “The two models used are quite different and give different results, so how can they both verify against the observed data?” Finally, “The article I referred to (elsewhere) on the use and abuse of climate models describes appropriate use of models. Here is a classic example of misuse and abuse of them.”

James Hansen of the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction points out that, “The projected 1% per year or 2- to 3-fold 21st century increase in CO2 assumed in this study may be pessimistic. From what I understand, it over predicts recent trends, and may not account for observed slowing of the rate of global population growth. I didn’t find supporting evidence in the accompanying technical paper. Therefore, I think that it is overstated. Either cite empirical evidence or acknowledge uncertainties in this and other projections.”

Some of the comments were appropriately flippant. John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville said the report seemed to be “written by a committee of Greenpeace, Ted Turner, Al Gore and Stephen King (for the horror lines). I saw no attempt at scientific objectivity.” Jae Edwards of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory commented that, “The current version of the report reads more like an advertising supplement to Time Magazine than a national assessment.” And later, “The example of flooding in New York is needlessly hyperbolic. If you want to go that route, and I dont recommend it, why dont you get out the old picture from the cover of Parade Magazine of the Statue of Liberty covered with water up to her arm pits.”

James Shuttleworth of University of Arizona said that, “Because the document retains the conventional looming gloom perspective throughout, it will likely be rejected by the majority of the population as just another tree huggers lobby piece. If its purpose is just to provide a further prop to the Kyoto agreement, so be it.”

The report, “Not a Pretty Picture,” can be downloaded at

CBS Hot Air Watch

Remember when polls showed that CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite was “the most-trusted man in America”? After his retirement, the avuncular Walter revealed that he believed in one-world government and lots of other leftist claptrap.

Cronkites successor, Dan Rather, is more impatient to share his political wisdom with the world. Not content with CBS News’s stream of ridiculous stories connecting storms, floods, and droughts to global warming, Dan has now taken his fascination with natural disasters to the op-ed page of the Houston Chronicle.

Surprisingly, it turns out that Dan is actually opposed to more storms and other extreme weather events. In a June 18 column, he opines that although the National Assessment is “not alarmist” (we think thats a joke), it nonetheless is “a sobering document, giving us a glimpse into a future where higher temperatures, drought and flooding will reshape the American landscape.”

He cites the National Assessment as giving compelling reasons why the United States should ratify the Kyoto Protocol. He blames the Republican-controlled Senate for not ratifying the treaty, apparently not aware that according the Constitution the president must submit treaties to the Senate before the Senate can ratify them.

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