November 2003

CEI Drops Junk Science Lawsuit after White House Acknowledgement

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has acknowledged that the National Assessment on Climate Change was not “subjected to OSTP’s Information Quality Act guidelines.” This statement now appears prominently on the document posted on the U. S. Global Change Research Program’s web site (

As a result of this admission, the Competitive Enterprise Institute withdrew its complaint in federal court that the National Assessment did not meet the minimal scientific standards required by the Federal Data Quality Act.

“The record shows that the Clinton White House pressured bureaucrats to rush out an incomplete and inaccurate report despite protests from government scientists,” said Christopher C. Horner, legal counsel and senior fellow at CEI. “The government also subsequently confirmed that the two climate models selected for the National Assessment are ‘outliers’ chosen to guarantee extreme results and are incapable of replicating even past climate trends.”

CEI argued in its complaint that the National Assessment violates legal requirements of objectivity and utility by employing computer models proven unreliable and by incorrectly revising climate history to portray the climate of the 20th century as unusual.

Members of the National Assessment Synthesis Team reacted strongly to the admission, with 30 people involved in its creation signing a letter to James Mahoney of the Office of Climate Change Science Program protesting the admission. The letter asserted, “We would suggest that the additional statement in bold is misleading and incorrect in at least two very important ways. First, OSTP’s guidelines did not exist or apply at the time that the National Assessment report was prepared.

“Second, and more important, the statement implies that the National Assessment Report was not properly reviewed and would not meet the OSTP guidelines; this is misleading at best and most likely false in the view of any independent review of the situation. We request that you eliminate the new phrase.”

The letter does not address the issue of how the two models that passed through the four layers of review outlined in the letter failed to predict the climate any better than tables of random numbers.

Chinese Emissions Skyrocket

Contrary to an earlier claim by the New York Times that China was reducing its coal production and consumption, the newspaper reported on October 22 that, “China’s rapid economic growth is producing a surge in emissions of greenhouse gases that threatens international efforts to curb global warming, as Chinese power plants burn ever more coal while car sales soar.”

The previous assumption had been based on Chinese official statistics. These have now been revised to confirm “what energy industry executives had suspected: that coal use has actually been climbing faster in China than practically anywhere else in the world.”

The paper quoted the International Energy Agency in Paris as estimating that, “The increase in greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 to 2030 in China alone will nearly equal the increase in the entire industrialized world.”

The article points out that China has begun to import coal from Australia and has also become the world’s fastest growing importer of oil. The nation has also become “the world’s largest market for television sets and one of the largest for many other electrical appliances.” The story points out that China is the world’s fastest-growing market for cars, with sales increasing by 73 percent this year alone.

China, as a developing nation, is exempt from the Kyoto protocol. Chinese officials have made it clear that, while they would like to see the protocol adopted, they will accept no restrictions on Chinese emissions now or in 50 years’ time.

India Rejects Emissions Restrictions

Indian Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani told a climate change conference in New Delhi that India would accept no restrictions on its emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Times of India reported (Nov. 11), “India on Monday categorically said no to the introduction of fresh commitments for developing nations under the UN convention on climate change. It demanded early operationalisation of special climate change fund and fund for least developed countries.” Mr. Advani stated, “The existing equilibrium of commitments and differentiation between developed and developing nations has to be maintained.”

The New York Times article mentioned in the story above points out that, while China will account for 18 percent of the growth in new car sales by 2012, India will account for 9 percent, just 2 percent less than the United States. India’s demand for energy use is expected to grow by 8-10 percent annually over the next decade.

Hockey Stick Critics Speak on Hill

Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, authors of the paper that raises questions about the quality of the data underlying the IPCCs hockey stick graph of temperatures in the last 1000 years, briefed congressional staff on the issue at a meeting organized by the George C. Marshall Institute and the Cooler Heads Coalition on November 18.

McIntyre gave a compelling account of how he became interested in the hockey-stick controversy and then suspicious of the claim that the last decade was the hottest in the third millennium A. D. His experience in the mineral explorations business taught him that all data must be checked, so that is what he and McKitrick did in their paper.

The authors gave a chronological account of the charges made by the inventor of the hockey stick, Michael Mann, since their critique was published in Energy and Environment in late October. Mann first claimed that they had analyzed the wrong data sets, which had mistakenly been sent to McIntyre by one of Manns collaborators. Instead they should have used the data sets that had long been publicly available on an ftp site.

According to McIntyre and McKitrick, this criticism was irrelevant since they had rebuilt Manns 112 data sets from original sources. They then discovered that the data sets that they had been sent were the same as those on the ftp site. Mann has since deleted the data sets from his ftp site.

Mann then explained that McIntyre and McKitricks results showed a warm period in the fifteenth century because they had failed to include three key principal components. McIntyre and McKitrick replied that they omitted one because it double counted readings included in another component and updated another with newer data from the original source. This updated data changed the components effect considerably. McIntyre pointed out that the hockey-stick graph, at least for the 1400s, appears to be driven by only three of 112 principal components, which is a slender database upon which to base any conclusion.

McIntyre and McKitrick stressed throughout the presentation that they were not saying that they had proved the 1400s were warmer than today. What their statistical re-analysis had demonstrated was that it was not possible to conclude from the data Mann used that temperatures in the 20th century were unusual. Access to all the documents in the ongoing controversy can be found online at

Satellite Wars Rage On

Modellers at the Remote Sensing Systems firm continue to raise objections to the University of Alabama at Huntsville satellite temperature readings of Roy Spencer and John Christy. In a new article in the Journal of Climate (published by the American Meteorological Association), they claim that a re-analysis of the dataset show[s] a global trend of 0.097 0.020 K decade−1, generally agreeing with the work of Prabhakara et al. but in disagreement with the MSU analysis of Christy and Spencer, which shows significantly less (0.09 K decade−1) warming.”

The article re-asserts the claim already made by RSS that their imputations from climate models are more reliable than the actual data from weather balloon radiosonde readings, which corroborate the findings of Christy and Spencer.

Although the finding was widely reported as confirming human influence on global warming, Christy told the New York Times (Nov. 18) that the evidence was pointing more firmly toward a modest impact from rising greenhouse gases, “We’ve had enough years of this human-induced forcing to get some boundaries on it, and it’s just not going in the dramatic and catastrophic direction.”

This view was confirmed in Newsweeks coverage of the same story (Nov. 23). In a remarkably candid paragraph, the magazine said, Recently scientists predictions [of future temperature increases] have begun to converge on a narrower range, and the forecasts have gotten more modest. James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York has pointed out that in recent years the actual rise of greenhouse gases hasnt accelerated as fast as the IPCC predicted. Carbon-dioxide emissions increased 4.7 percent a year from 1945 to 1973, but since then, the average increase has been only 1.4 percent a year. The rate for methane, another powerful greenhouse gas produced in landfills and rice farming, is barely increasing at all. Hansen thinks that even if nothing is done, the planet would warm only 1.5 degrees by 2050.

It is a shame, then, that Newsweek followed this anti-alarmist finding with the distinctly alarmist suggestion that, If [developing nations] succeed in making the air cleaner, temperatures may soar-perhaps by as much as seven to 10 degrees Celsius.

Methane Emissions Leveling Off

Australian scientists have determined that atmospheric concentrations of methane have leveled off. Over the past four years there has been no growth in atmospheric methane concentrations compared to a fifteen percent rise over the preceding twenty years and a 150 percent rise since pre-industrial times, said Paul Fraser, a chief research scientist at the atmospheric research section of Australias Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (The Australian, Nov. 25).

The findings come from CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorologys gas monitoring station at Cape Grim in Tasmania. Methane (the principal ingredient of natural gas) is a potent greenhouse gas, but persists in the atmosphere for a far shorter time than does carbon dioxide.

According to the Australian, Dr. Fraser thinks that methane levels “would start to fall if this global decline in methane emissions continued. He speculated that emissions are declining due to better management of the exploration and use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and the increasing recovery of landfill methane.


Cato Conference on Global Warming

The Cato Institute is holding a daylong conference on Global Warming: the State of the Debate, on December 12 at the institutes Hayek Auditorium, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., N. W., Washington, D. C.

Speakers include: Patrick Michaels (University of Virginia and a Cato Senior Fellow), Robert Balling (Arizona State University), John Christy (University of Alabama at Huntsville), Michael Schlesinger (University of Illinois), Robert Mendelsohn (Yale University), and Indur Goklany (Department of Interior).

The complete program and registration information may be found on the internet at

“Provably False Statements” in Defense of Hockey Stick?

As mentioned last issue, the initial response by University of VIrginia Assistant Professor Michael Mann to the questions raised by Canadian analysts Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick over the data underlying the infamous “hockey stick” graph of temperatures over the last 100 years (MBH98) was to allege that his critics had used an incorrect data set. Mann said that they should have used data available on a “public” FTP site.

McIntyre and McKitrick have now replied to this allegation. The summary of their detailed rebuttal (available at states, “We refute suggestions by Professor Mann that collation in the proxy data set criticized in [our paper] were introduced in a special purpose Excel spreadsheet prepared for McIntyre in April 2003…. [W]e have determined that the uncollated series at the Mann FTP site are identical to the versions in the data set we examined and criticized in MM [that is, the paper by McIntyre and McKitrick].

“Accordingly, the criticisms of MM in respect to unjustified truncation and fills, use of obsolete data and geographical mislocations apply equally to the acknowledged MBH98 data archive.”

Referring to the detailed allegations made by Mann on the web site of freelance propagandist David Appell, McIntyre and McKitrick say, “It is self-evident that Mann’s comments are a pastiche of false statements. The rebuttal also relates how the contents of the FTP site were changed without notice between when MM were first informed of the site and Nov. 8.

McIntyre and McKitrick conclude that “Professor Mann’s public comments regarding MM contain many provably false statements.” They also point out that, as data he suggested were “meaningless” are identical to those contained in the FTP site, “Professor Mann himself has made a prima facie case for a new refereeing of MBH98.”

Antarctic Ice Expands while Arctic Contracts

New research from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center reveals that a 30-year satellite record of sea ice at the poles shows that while Arctic ice has melted, Antarctic ice has increased in recent years. Although the volume of Antarctic ice has decreased over the entire period, this was due to a dramatic loss of Antarctic sea ice between 1973 and 1977.

The researchers suggest that the greater loss of sea ice in the Arctic “may be due to a general warming trend in the Arctic as well as the influence of long-term oscillations or other changes in atmospheric pressure systems, which could pull in more warm air from the south.”

In the Antarctic, the researchers say, “The gradual advance of ice from the late 1970s may be related to long-term atmospheric oscillations in the Southern Hemisphere resulting in stronger westerly winds and cooler temperatures.”

Co-author Claire Parkinson of NASA said, “Trying to explain why these things happen becomes tricky. The temperature connection where warmer temperatures lead to greater melt is reasonably direct, but far from the complete story. Winds and waves move ice around, and consequently the ice can move to places where it is warm enough that it wouldn’t have formed.”

The lead author of the study, NASA’s Don Cavalieri, said, “It seems the two regions are responding to different hemispheric variations. What remains is to sift out and understand how these variations are driving the sea ice in each hemisphere.” (Eurekalert, Nov. 12)

More Problems for Hydrogen Technology

A New York Times article on November 12 pointed out that, “Even some hydrogen advocates say that use of hydrogen could instead make the air dirtier and the globe warmer.”

The paper points out that the most cost-effective way to produce hydrogen involves the burning of coal, rather than using renewable energy sources, and quoted Ronald Kenedi, Managing Director of Sharp Solar, as saying, “It seems like hydrogen is the buzz word right now, with the president talking about it, and maybe putting some money towards it. But the first stop on the hydrogen trail will be coal.”

According to the article, carbon dioxide emissions are a problem: “According to the Energy Department, an ordinary gasoline-powered car emits 374 grams of carbon dioxide per mile it is driven, counting the energy used to make the gasoline and deliver it to the service station, and the emissions of the vehicle itself. The same car powered by a fuel cell would emit nothing, but if the energy required to make the hydrogen came from the electric grid, the emissions would be 436 grams per mile, 17 percent worse than the figure for gasoline.”

The Times also found the cost problematic: “Reuel Shinnar, a professor of chemical engineering at City College of New York, reviewing the options for power production and fuel production, concluded in a recent paper, ‘A hydrogen economy is at least twice as expensive as any other solution.'”

The Next Ice Age is a Real Problem

Continuing with our New York Times-theme issue, the Times’s Tuesday science section celebrated its 25th anniversary on November 11 by running short articles on “25 of the most provocative questions facing science.” Surprisingly, global warming was not on the list, but, “When is the next ice age?” was addressed by veteran Times science writer Andrew C. Revkin.

“The next ice age almost certainly will reach itspeak in about 80,000 years,” wrote Revkin, “but debate persists about how soon it will begin, with the latest theory being that the human influence on the atmosphere may substantially delay the transition.”

Since the next ice age would be a calamity for human civilization, “It would seem that human-driven global warming, although perhaps a disaster on the scale of centuries, may be a good thing in the long run if it fends off the next ice age.” So those who really care about, as former President Bill Clinton might have put it, their children’s children’s children’s descendant’s grandchildren should be burning a lot of gasoline in their Ford Excursions and GM Hummers.

Now Here’s a Really Scary Future

According to a former United Kingdom environment minister, environmental apocalypse is imminent and the solution is–a world environment court!

“The most important issue is enforceability…. What is really needed is a world environment court,” wrote Michael Meacher, MP, in London’s Guardian on October 25. Meacher served as environment minister in the Blair Government from 1997 until he was fired earlier this year.

Meacher continued: “The right to bring cases before such a court should not be confined to the governments of nation states, but should include public interest bodies, notably NGOs. The court should also have permanent specialist bodies to investigate damage to the global environment, whether inflicted or threatened, with powers to subpoena evidence and prosecute individuals and corporate bodies. This would only work if properly funded. However, if the fines imposed on corporate offenders were recycled, the court’s investigative and legal work would quickly become self-financing.”

Raise a Glass to a Warmer World

Many news outlets carried the story in early November that Southern Oregon University researcher Gregory Jones had ascertained that global warming would be good for wine harvests.

According to his press release, “Jones and his colleagues used records of Sotheby’s 100-point vintage rating scale data (where wines scoring over 90 are ‘excellent to superb’ and under 40 are ‘disastrous’) along with climate records dating back to 1950 to look for trends in wine quality or growing season temperatures. What they found was an average temperature rise of 2C rise over the past 50 years and higher vintage ratings.

“‘There were no negative impacts,’ Jones said of the apparent temperature rise in the world’s most renowned wine producing regions.”

IPCC’s “Dangerous Incompetence”

In a damning assessment in its November 6 issue, the Economist revisited the issue of the implausible economic scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to underlie its predictions on global warming.

The newspaper repeated the criticisms of distinguished critics Ian Castles and David Henderson, who argued that the methods used by the IPCC economic team gave an upward bias to the projections. The Economist called the emissions forecasts based on those “implausibly high” growth rates unsound.

Castles and Henderson’s critique had been met by catcalls from the IPCC team, who complained of “deplorable misinformation.” The Economist concluded that the reply “fails to answer the case… that the IPCC’s low-case scenarios are patently not low-case scenarios, and that the panel has therefore failed to give a true account of the range of possibilities.”

The analysis went on to mention, “Disaggregated projections published by the IPCC say that-even in the lowest-emission scenarios-growth in poor countries will be so fast that by the end of the century Americans will be poorer on average than South Africans, Algerians, Argentines, Libyans, Turks and North Koreans. Mr Castles and Mr Henderson can hardly be alone in finding that odd.”

The paper was unusually blunt in its assessment of the IPCC team’s economic abilities, mentioning that it relied on “strength in numbers (lacking though it may be in strength at numbers).” It summarized its concerns as follows: “The problem is that this horde of authorities is drawn from a narrow professional milieu. Economic and statistical expertise is not among their strengths. Making matters worse, the panel’s approach lays great emphasis on peer review of submissions. When the peers in question are drawn from a restricted professional domain-whereas the issues under consideration make demands upon a wide range of professional skills-peer review is not a way to assure the highest standards of work by exposing research to scepticism. It is just the opposite: a kind of intellectual restrictive practice, which allows flawed or downright shoddy work to acquire a standing it does not deserve.”

The Economist concluded by referring to the new head of the OECD’s economic policy committee, Gregory Mankiw, who is also President Bush’s chief economic adviser: “If Mr. Mankiw is asking himself what new work that body ought to take on under his leadership, he need look no further than the dangerous economic incompetence of the IPCC.”

GAO Finds U. S. Climate Change Initiative has Little Effect

The U. S. General Accounting Office has found that President Bush’s initiative to cut greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 18 percent between 2002 and 2012 would reduce the rate by just 4 percentage points more than if no such action were taken.

Intensity is measured by dividing the year’s emissions by that year’s economic output. The report found that, because economic output will rise faster than emissions, the intensity will dropeven while emissions rise.

The GAO report examined greenhouse gas emissions in ten countries-the United States, China, Japan, India, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, South Korea and France-that between them account for 59 percent of global emissions. It found that emissions will increase while emissions intensity will decrease in all ten countries. The report also found that intensity would decrease in the US by 14 percent even without government action. Emissions intensity reduction would continue, reaching 30 percent in 2025.