Trump urged to es­tab­lish cli­mate panel to fight bias

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

For those won­der­ing why the White House needs an in­de­pen­dent cli­mate panel, sup­port­ers rec­om­mend start­ing with the Fourth Na­tional Cli­mate As­sess­ment.

The fed­eral re­port re­leased in Novem­ber was hailed as ev­i­dence that Pres­i­dent Trump’s own sci­en­tists were on board with dire cli­mate dis­as­ter fore­casts, even though the doc­u­ment was pre­pared with the help of lead­ing ac­tivists and a for­mer Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion cli­mate of­fi­cial.

“The panel is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary be­cause what hap­pens is, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment puts out these bi­ased pieces of pro­pa­ganda, and then the en­vi­ron­men­tal left trum­pets it and says, ‘Even the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion says this,’” said James Tay­lor, se­nior fel­low for en­ergy and the en­vi­ron­ment for the free-mar­ket think tank Heart­land In­sti­tute.

“Well, it’s not the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion,” he said. “It’s the deep state that says this.”

His or­ga­ni­za­tion joined 140 groups and in­di­vid­u­als in a let­ter urg­ing Mr. Trump to ap­prove the Pres­i­dent’s Com­mis­sion on Cli­mate Se­cu­rity, an ef­fort spear­headed by Prince­ton physi­cist Wil­liam Hap­per now un­der con­sid­er­a­tion at the White House.

“In our view, an in­de­pen­dent re­view of these re­ports is long over­due,” the let­ter reads. “Se­ri­ous prob­lems and short­com­ings have been raised re­peat­edly in the past by highly-qual­i­fied sci­en­tists only to be ig­nored or dis­missed by the fed­eral agen­cies in charge of pro­duc­ing the re­ports.”

Among the sign­ers are right-of-cen­ter ad­vo­cacy groups such as the Com­pet­i­tive En­ter­prise In­sti­tute, Free­domWorks, CFACT and Her­itage Ac­tion for Amer­ica, as well as skep­ti­cal cli­mate sci­en­tists such as Tim Ball, Joe Bas­tardi, Wil­lie Soon and Roy Spencer.

The let­ter comes in re­ac­tion to fu­ri­ous push­back on the left, with Mr. Hap­per — who holds a doc­tor­ate in physics — bear­ing the brunt of the out­rage, in­clud­ing hav­ing his sci­en­tific cre­den­tials ques­tioned, and be­ing called a “de­nial­ist” by The New York Times and a “de­nier” by top House Democrats.

Mr. Hap­per, who serves as a Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil se­nior di­rec­tor, took an­other hit from Penn State at­mo­spheric sci­ences pro­fes­sor Michael E. Mann, who re­ferred to him as a pro­pa­gan­dist and the pro­posed panel as “dis­as­trous.”

“Amer­i­cans should not be fooled by the Stal­in­ist tac­tics be­ing used by the White House to try to dis­credit the find­ings of main­stream cli­mate sci­en­tists,” Mr. Mann, who has a doc­tor­ate in ge­ol­ogy and geo­physics, said in an op-ed for The Guardian news­pa­per in Britain.

The ar­ti­cle was co-writ­ten with Bob Ward, pol­icy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor at the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics’ Gran­tham Re­search In­sti­tute on Cli­mate Change and the En­vi­ron­ment, and ac­cused the ad­min­is­tra­tion of seek­ing to “pro­mote an al­ter­na­tive of­fi­cial ex­pla­na­tion for cli­mate change.”

The Demo­cratic chair­men of four House com­mit­tees blasted the ef­fort in a Feb. 28 let­ter as “yet an­other ac­tion by your Ad­min­is­tra­tion in a line of many that run counter to the over­whelm­ing sci­en­tific con­sen­sus on the causes and im­pacts of cli­mate change.”

Two Obama Cab­i­net sec­re­taries, John F. Kerry and Chuck Hagel, said they are “deeply con­cerned about re­ports that Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil of­fi­cials are con­sid­er­ing form­ing a com­mit­tee to dis­pute and un­der­mine mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence judg­ments on the threat posed by cli­mate change.”

“This in­cludes sec­ond-guess­ing the sci­en­tific sources used to as­sess the threat, such as the rig­or­ously peer-re­viewed Na­tional Cli­mate As­sess­ment, and ap­ply­ing that to na­tional se­cu­rity pol­icy,” said the March 5 let­ter, which was signed by 58 mil­i­tary and na­tional se­cu­rity fig­ures.

The panel’s back­ers ar­gue that an in­de­pen­dent re­view body com­prised of sci­en­tists with a range of view­points would im­prove the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s cli­mate find­ings by ap­ply­ing an­other level of scru­tiny.

Mr. Spencer, prin­ci­pal re­search sci­en­tist at the Univer­sity of Alabama in Huntsville, took is­sue with claims that the panel would be fo­cused on un­der­min­ing le­git­i­mate re­search.

“In­stead, the com­mit­tee will ad­dress the un­cer­tain­ties, the ex­ag­ger­a­tions, and the mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions of what is known and isn’t known about hu­man-caused cli­mate change, is­sues the pub­lic is gen­er­ally un­aware of,” said Mr. Spencer, who holds a doc­tor­ate in me­te­o­rol­ogy.

“If the science re­ally is set­tled, peo­ple should not be afraid of a re­view,” he said.

My­ron Ebell, di­rec­tor of the CEI’s Cen­ter for En­ergy and En­vi­ron­ment, ticked off what he sees as prob­lems with fed­eral cli­mate analy­ses, cit­ing out­dated cli­mate­sen­si­tiv­ity mod­els, un­re­al­is­ti­cally dire sce­nar­ios and ad­just­ments to sur­face tem­per­a­ture data that in­evitably show more warm­ing.

“Re­cent re­search sug­gests that cli­mate sen­si­tiv­ity is at the low end, and of course what gets put into these re­ports is al­ways the high end,” said Mr. Ebell, a mem­ber of the Trump tran­si­tion team.

One rea­son, said Mr. Tay­lor, is that the fed­eral work­force is re­plete with cli­mate­catas­tro­phe ad­vo­cates left over from pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions, mean­ing “the deck is stacked even be­fore they put these re­ports to­gether.”

Mr. Trump has come un­der fire on the left for an­nounc­ing he would pull out of the 2015 Paris cli­mate agree­ment and his skep­ti­cal at­ti­tude to­ward pre­dic­tions of global catas­tro­phe, pro­vid­ing a stark con­trast to con­gres­sional Democrats, who have held more than a dozen cli­mate-re­lated hear­ings this year.

“Given the pre­vi­ous state­ments you have made that fly in the face of ex­plicit sci­en­tific ev­i­dence and the find­ings of your own DoD and Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence, we have se­ri­ous con­cerns about any ef­fort to con­struct a se­cret com­mit­tee to ques­tion the ba­sic sci­en­tific fact of cli­mate change,” said the House Demo­cratic chairs’ let­ter.

The White House has not pub­licly ac­knowl­edged the ex­is­tence of the pro­posed panel, and there is no time­line for a de­ci­sion, al­though spec­u­la­tion is that a de­ci­sion could come within the month.

Mr. Ebell said the pres­i­dent should bear in mind a key dis­tinc­tion be­tween those who sup­port the panel’s for­ma­tion and those who don’t.

“There’s a re­ally a big dif­fer­ence be­tween our let­ter and those let­ters that are op­posed,” Mr. Ebell said. “And that is that our let­ter was writ­ten by peo­ple who sup­port his agenda.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.