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US climate report comes under fire

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.


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    Steven Earl Salmony said:

    Could at least one of the causes of life and the Earth, as we know them, “going to hell in a handbasket” be that the all-too-human global political economy is constructed as a perpetual motion machine and operated as a colossal pyramid scheme?

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    John Kdrew said:

    Arguing that more than a quarter of the country’s economic output, about $2 trillion, is vulnerable to extreme weather, these organisations urged the next U.S. president to help protect the USA from climate change by pushing for increased funding for research and forecasting, saying about $2 trillion of U.S. economic output could be hurt by storms, floods and droughts.

    Now is this special pleading or do they have it right? For more go to

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    Ron Cram said:

    I am pleased to hear the CCSP is pulling this deeply flawed report. But will the revised report be any more honest?

    Since 2007, we have seen several very important peer-reviewed papers published that indicate the global warming is not nearly as problematic as we once thought. I referring to the separate papers by Schwartz and Chylek on climate sensitivity, the paper by Roy Spencer on the negative feedback he observed over the tropics (Spencer suggested this may be the Infrared Iris Effect hypothesized by Richard Lindzen), the temperature reconstruction by Loehle and McCulloch showing that 20th century temps are not outside natural climate variation and the paper by Koutsoyiannis evaluating 18 years of climate predictions and the paper by Armstrong and Green showing that projections based on GCMs are not scientific.

    If the CCSP gives full weight to all of these papers, then it will be a balanced report. If not, then it will be just as politicized as the first rejected report.

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    Chris said:

    Good to know something is happening – although what with this report, the Stern report in the UK and the Garnaut report in Australia, we need not reports but action (

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    raja said:

    Climate change could profoundly alter the weather, animal life and even the very shape of Maryland over the next century, making heat waves deadlier.The Accra Climate Change Talks wrapped up Thursday afternoon.

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