Cherry Picking and Executive Ordering

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on July 23, 2009

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, one of the founding members of the Western Climate Initiative which has co-opted the staff of the Western Governors Association to do WCI work, has engaged in a pattern of deceit and has circumvented the state legislature to advance her global warming agenda.

The most recent example was in her June 22 letter (critiqued brilliantly by the Washington Policy Center) to Washington’s House delegation, urging them to vote in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (or, Waxman-Markey). Among the many errors and fallacies pointed out by WPC, Gregoire continued to push cherry-picked data, in making the claim that a May study from the University of Washington “shows we’ve already lost 20 percent of our snow pack over the last 30 years.” Former Oregon state climatologist George Taylor and former Washington assistant state climatologist Todd Albright — who both were muzzled and forced out of their jobs because they dared challenge the global warming alarmists’ orthodoxy — have set the record straight (Microsoft Word document) on the Cascades snow pack:

Actual snow pack numbers show a 22 percent INCREASE in snow pack over the past 33 years across the Washington and Oregon Cascade Mountains.

The difference? As Taylor explains (referencing an earlier piece he wrote) in a rebuttal to a study authored by alarmist former Washington climatologist (and current Oregon climatologist — replacing Taylor!) Philip Mote, it all has to do with your timeframe:

Note the starting point for this analysis; the late 1940s-early 1950s were an exceptionally snowy period in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The Mote, et al papers used 1950 as a starting point because snow pack measurements were “widespread by the late 1940s” (Mote, et al, 2005) and much less extensive earlier. However, in view of the fact that climate conditions prior to the late 1940s were very different, one might wonder if inclusion of longer period data sets would change the result.”

They did. Period-of-record trends were very different for longer data sets than they were for the period beginning in 1950. The conclusions of that analysis:

“The use of snow pack trends from 1950 through current suggests a much different (steeper) trend than if period of record measurements are used. Granted, there exist relatively few stations that extend back prior to 1940, but those stations whose records are available make it clear than monotonic decreases in snow pack do not occur through the entire period of record.

“Based on a limited analysis, there are indications that precipitation is a much more significant influence on snow pack than is temperature.

The letter written to Washington congressmen by Gov. Gregoire is only the latest in the desperate attempts by her and others who have hung their political credibility on global warming alarmist policy. The Evergreen State is one of many — including nearly all the members of WCI — that have fallen under the spell of greenhouse gas paranoia cast by the Center for Climate Strategies, which has convinced dozens of governors to let them take over their climate policy development. CCS, as part of their strategy to push greenhouse gas limitations from the states up the food chain to Washington, has also worked on regional initiatives, including WCI.  As executive director Tom Peterson has explained (video):

“We’ve been supporting the [states] in the formation of comprehensive climate action plans and all the policies that are involved in reducing (GHG) emissions from all the different economic sectors in the economy, and ultimately (hope it will) lead to national policies and we hope even international agreements that can lead the nation forward in terms of addressing the (global warming) problem.”

As for Gregoire, she is far down the global warming road and has shown no sign of turning back, despite mounting evidence of global cooling the last decade (despite increasing CO2 emissions). When the Washington legislature refused to approve the state’s participation in WCI’s cap-and-trade agreement, the governor issued an executive order implementing the program anyway. “I wanted cap-and-trade,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I didn’t get it.”

Pretty brazen for a narrowly elected governor, whose state economy would suffer (as would all of them) under cap-and-trade. Clearly by begging her state’s delegation to pass Waxman-Markey, she is hoping that the federal government will absolve her of any blame for the consequences such a program will bring.

Hat tip: Joe D’Aleo

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