Global Warming: House Hearing to Provide Some Balance

By July 18, 2006Global Warming

Tomorrow, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on climate change. This historic hearing will be chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. And, this is an issue that is ripe for oversight and investigation in that the story thus far has been so one-sided in the face of almost overwhelming opinion to the contrary.

Testifying at the hearing will be Dr. Edward Wegman, a prominent statistics professor at George Mason University who is chair of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. He was asked to review the studies used in the much-ballyhooed report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, where Michael Mann’s famed but flawed “hockey stick” theory was featured. His findings are startling. Said Dr. Wegman:

“Overall, our committee believes that Dr. Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis…”

We linked yesterday to the Wall Street Journal editorial on the topic appropriately entitled, “Hockey Stick Hokum.”

The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday in Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. We will pass along any good tidbits that we pick up, but we’d also predict that Dr. Wegman will not receive the same level of press coverage as those who subscribe to the flawed theory of global warming.

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • C. Bruce Richardson Jr. says:

    I have no desire to “rubbish” Dr. Mann’s graph. But if the graph is bogus, I would like to know it. And I would like for everyone to know it. If there are other independently reviewed studies that support Dr. Mann?s sensational conclusions about the last 1000 years then let?s all look at them with an open mind. I am do not find truth to be ?inconvenient.?

    The NAS report expressed “high confidence” that the planet has warmed over the last 400 years. It has less confidence in temperature reconstructions prior to 1600. I am not surprised that the climate has warmed since the ?Little Ice Age.? It is global warming that ends ice ages after all. I seriously doubt that the global temperatures have been relatively stable for 1000 years and have suddenly jumped in the last 100 years or so. Isn?t that what the ?hockey stick? seems to show?

    It is my understanding that Dr. Mann?s ?hockey stick? is the product of a statistical analysis of proxy data. And that he used a statistical method called principle component analysis (PCA) to generate his graph.

    McIntyre, McKitrick, and others have challenged the way that Mann used PCA and his manipulation of the data. Who would you ask to review the statistical analysis that Mann used?atmospheric scientists or well-respective statisticians? I think that statisticians would probably be less likely to have an agenda.

    Does it not matter to some folks that Mann?s “hockey stick” may be a fiction produced by incorrect statistical analysis of the data? If it is incorrect, shouldn’t we know?

  • Dominic says:

    Pat – please comment on the quote from the NAS report that I cited.

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    Mann’s graph is only one line of evidence supporting the theory. The reason this part of the evidence is so important for skeptics to rubbish is because of it’s visual impact. It creates an instance understanding in laymans’ minds. Rubbish the graph, change public opinion (oh – but the other evidence is still there – no matter…)

  • Pat Cleary says:

    To Jason’s point, above, you’re incorrect. It was peer reviewed.

    What else you got?

    Thanks for writing,

    Pat Cleary

  • Pat Frank says:

    The Wegman, et al. report isn’t solid science but it’s very solid statistics, and should _itself_ be viewed as a peer-review of the statistical methods of the Mann, et al. proxy reconstructions. Those methods were found to be incorrect. Mann & co. have only two responses consistent with scientific ethics. They can either show, quantitatively (i.e., by reference to derived formulas) that the original MBH methods were correct. Or, they can acknowledge the error and get on to better things. Any ripostes against the Wegman report, coming from the group about Prof. Mann, about ‘non-peer reviewed report’ or ‘a committee of non-scientists’ will be a dead give away that they know their science is lacking and have chosen to polemically stonewall, and we’ll all recognize from that, that they lack fundamental scientific ethics.

  • Laughing at the fact that it’s a statistics professor who led the critique of Mann’s work, and claiming that because it’s not peer reviewed and its authors aren’t atmospheric scientists, are both logical fallacies, and both also reveal that their authors didn’t bother to read Wegman’s (et al.) report, which contains plenty of information to put at rest all three objections. It’s rather like a chemist who says, “Look, Smith pointed out that I made dozens of errors in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and he thinks that invalidates my chemical results. But he’s not a chemist, he’s a mathematician. So I can ignore his criticism.” The fact is that Wegman’s report is solid science and reaches the same conclusions reached by a number of refereed journal articles that also criticized Mann’s methodology–pointing out, e.g., that he used unrepresentative data, excluded data that didn’t fit his hypothesis, and used statistical methodology that would yield a hockey stick even from completely random data. The issue on this isn’t atmospheric science, it’s statistics. On that, Wegman et al. are the experts, not Mann et al.

  • Dominic says:

    NAS report – page 4 – ‘Surface temperature reconstructions for periods prior to the industrial era are only one of multiple lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that climatic warming is occurring in response to human activities, and they are not the primary evidence’

  • Jason Tipton says:

    Dr. Edward Wegman’s report is skewed science. It was not peer reviewed, nor were the people who wrote it atmospheric scientists.

  • Fred says:

    A statistics professor? LOL