A Free-Market Energy Blog

ObamaScience: Third U.S. Climate Assessment DOA (hype haunts in real science)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 9, 2014

“This is not sober, balanced science; it is ObamaScience for open-ended government planning.”

Despite uncooperative data regarding global warming (in a 15+ year ‘pause’), hurricanes, and tornadoes; despite the failure of climate models to predict and thus explain; despite the inability of the same models to attribute regionally; and despite the well-known benefits of carbon dioxide fertilization and moderately warmer/wetter climate scenarios, Obama and the Malthusian Left (including many cooperating scientists) soldier on.

But it will not be easy. The all-in effort to stretch climate science beyond the normal peer-review literature (John Holdren got his wish) may well backfire. Good science drives out bad, and the public is already alerted to the politicization of climate science and the nefarious agenda of “saving the planet.”

A Wall Street Journal article, “Obama Climate Push Faces a Lukewarm Public,” explained the climate conundrum. For Democrats and much more so for conservatives, climate-change is a low priority of concern.

The takeaway from the Third National Climate Assessment, weather tragedies are manmade climate change, is Malthusian science fiction, not science. This study is not really about a clear-and-present danger and saving the planet. It is about Power and Money torturing physical science. (See the Michael Mann example here.) This is not sober, balanced science; it is ObamaScience for open-ended government planning.

Expect more and more criticism of the National Climate Assessment as the details about the report leak out. Expect more scientists to have pains of conscience. Hype comes back to haunt.

In the meantime, here are some quotations from scientists and public-policy specialists on the Obama scare document’

Judith Curry, “U.S. National Climate Assessment Report,” May 6, 2014.

“My main conclusion from reading the report is this: the phrase ‘climate change’ is now officially meaningless.  The report effectively implies that there is no climate change other than what is caused by humans, and that extreme weather events are equivalent to climate change.  Any increase in adverse impacts from extreme weather events or sea level rise is caused by humans. Possible scenarios of future climate change depend only on emissions scenarios that are translated into warming by climate models that produce far more warming than has recently been observed.

The failure to imagine future extreme events and climate scenarios, other than those that are driven by CO2 emissions and simulated by deficient climate models, has the potential to increase our vulnerability to future climate surprises (see my recent presentation on this Generating possibility distributions of scenarios for regional climate change).  As an example, the Report highlights the shrinking of winter ice in the Great Lakes:  presently, in May, Lake Superior is 30% cover by ice, which is apparently unprecedented in the historical record.”

Chip Knappenberger and Patrick Michaels, “What the National Assessment Doesn’t Tell You,” May 5, 2014.

“The bias in the National Climate Assessment (NCA) towards pessimism (which we have previously detailed here) has implications throughout the federal regulatory process because the NCA is cited (either directly or indirectly) as a primary source for the science of climate change for justifying federal regulation aimed towards mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Since the NCA gets it wrong, so does everyone else.”

“Our work, first published more than a decade ago, was some of the first research into the declining trends in heat-related mortality across the U.S…. [T]he federal government hasn’t been listening for a long time. It is not what they want to hear.”

Roy Spencer, “My Initial Comments on the National Climate Assessment,” May 7, 2014.

“Follow the money, folks. This glitzy, 840-page report took a lot of your tax dollars to generate, and involved only those “experts” who are willing to play the game. It is difficult to answer in its entirety because government has billions of dollars to invest in this, while most of us who try to bring some sanity to the issue must do it in our spare time, because we aren’t paid to do it. It is nowhere near balanced regarding science, costs-versus-benefits, or implied policy outcomes.

Like the previous two National Assessment reports, it takes global climate models which cannot even hindcast what has happened before, which over-forecast global average warming, which are known to have essentially zero skill for regional (e.g. U.S.) predictions, and uses them anyway to instill fear into the masses, so that we might be led to safety by politicians.”

Marlo Lewis, “National Climate Assessment Report: Alarmists offer Untrue, Unrelenting Doom and Gloom,” May 6, 2014.

Also in keeping with past practice, the latest report confuses climate risk with climate change risk.

Droughts, storms, floods, and heat waves are all part of the natural climate. Our risk of exposure to such extremes has much more to do with where we happen to live than with any gradual climate changes associated with the 1.3F – 1.9F increase in average U.S. temperature since the 1880s.

Since even immediate and total shutdown of all carbon dioxide-emitting vehicles, power plants, and factories in the U.S. would decrease global warming by only a hypothetical and undetectable two-tenths of a degree Celsius by 2100, it is misleading to imply, as the report does, that the Obama administration’s climate policies can provide any measurable protection from extreme weather events.

The report also foolishly predicts that climate change “intensify air pollution.” As EPA’s own data show, despite allegedly “unprecedented” warming, U.S. air quality has improved decade-by-decade since 1970 as emissions declined.

Dan Kish,More Scare Tactics from the White House,” May 6, 2014.

“We are told that this is all done to combat global warming. But the President’s agenda is not about global warming at all, and the fact that they’ve changed the name of their campaign to increase government intervention to “climate change” is all we need to know. This is their project to put Washington in charge of our energy supplies and our economy.

This document is less a look into the climate than it is a scare tactic designed to excuse the President’s agenda of centralizing power in Washington and making energy more expensive and jobs harder to find.”

Steven Hayward, “The Latest Storm of Climate Alarmism,” May 9, 2014.

“[Climate realism] will not slow the Obama administration’s drive to kill off coal-fired power, block the Keystone XL pipeline and extend bureaucratic control over the energy sector, which has been the Holy Grail for the environmental movement for two generations. The White House spin on this report is undoubtedly intended to help rally another core Democratic constituency for the fall elections. Realists shouldn’t cede the issue to the hysterical. By all means let’s hope President Obama gets his wish, with climate and energy policy becoming a central issue in November.”


  1. Eddie Devere  

    Are you all insane? Or do you just not look out your window? People are dying from flooding, wildfires and droughts that are due to the greater than average temperatures.
    2014 is bracing to be the warmest years on record because it likely to be an El Nino year.
    If you break your analysis down to El Nino years, La Nina years, and Neutral Years, there’s a consistent trend of increasing temperatures. (See below)

    CO2 is the known cause of the temperature rise because scientists have looked at the changes of the outgoing IR radiation. There’s missing energy at exactly the frequency associated with the vibration energy of CO2. In order to compensate for the fact that energy can’t leave at these frequencies, the entire temperature of the globe has to increase. The increase is most profound in locations that have little water vapor (i.e. the poles and deserts.) This is the reason why the temperature changes are noticed more in Alaska than in Alabama. It’s also the reason why winter night temperatures are increasing more the summer day temperatures.
    The sun is not the cause of the increased temperatures. If anything, the power output from the sun has been slightly decreasing.
    There is no excuse for your climate change denialism.

    For the sake of the liberatarian cause, please stop continuing to spread false information about climate change. There are many pro-market ways to solve the climate problem. You don’t have to be pro-government to realize that climate change is a human-caused and a real problem (for both humans and other life forms.) A revenue-neutral carbon tax is a perfectly acceptable pro-market way to deal with climate change. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. A carbon tax would likely require a government to implement and enforce, but this is infinitely preferred to the current state of affairs in which we are free to harm others without paying the price of our actions (and in which politicians are allowed to give handouts to their favorite renewable energy donors.) The carbon tax would have to be implemented such that subsidies and handouts are eliminated, and it would need to be implemented in China as well as the U.S.


    • rbradley  


      Global lukewarming–the middle of the physical science debate–points toward significant ‘external’ benefits, not only costs.

      Revenue neutral carbon tax? That is taking the politics out of politics. The blackboard is not the real world, and public policy choices are in the real world.

      You might have refuted yourself with your last sentence: “The carbon tax would have to be implemented such that subsidies and handouts are eliminated, and it would need to be implemented in China as well as the U.S.”


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  3. Michael Mann’s Hatchet Job on Keystone XL  

    […] — his own and that of his “colleagues.” Mann cites the recently-released U.S. National Assessment on Climate report and two columns by UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. However, although the NAC report and Moon […]


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