The US Climate Change Science Program will revise and reissue its latest report following widespread criticism and a mountain of comments during the official review period. The news has spurred talk of sinister motives from groups like the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, as well as some media attention (Greenwire, subscription required) suggesting undue influence from global warming skeptics.
In truth, it doesn’t sound like anything sinister is going on, although clearly the process could have been managed better.
Agencies within the climate science program have been putting out climate reports on various topics for the past year or so (10 down, 11 to go). The document in question, which is being ushered through the process by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was released last month for public comment and is a synthesis report that is supposed to tie everything together. That has some wondering: How can the summary document be completed before the documents it is supposed to be summarizing?
Fair question, although in defence the document is a high-level review of the entire body of global warming science, and most of the reports are fairly far along anyway. But still.
Groups like CEI and the Chamber of Commerce have made a larger splash, but criticism has come from other quarters as well. Officials with WWF in Washington raised concerns about the report being rushed through for no apparent reason, suggesting that the program has left itself open to criticism from groups like CEI.
And a while back University of Colorado climate policy expert Roger Pielke Jr. took a few shots at the document on his blog, questioning general content and accusing the authors of sloppiness.
Folks at WWF as well as Michael MacCracken at the Climate Institute in Washington, say problems with the actual document are typical of first drafts and easily resolvable. An official within the Climate Change Science Program confirmed that the document will be revised to deal with the sheer volume of comments and re-released. No time frame was given.