House Global Warming Committee and ‘The State of Climate Science’

By November 25, 2009Energy, General, Global Warming

Chairman Ed Markey of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has just announced a committee hearing for next Wednesday, “State of Climate Science.” Given recent news, the terms “degraded” and “discredited” come to mind when describing it state, but Rep. Markey’s announcement indicates no interest in the controversy over the hacked communications from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia — documents that demonstrate bad faith and bad science from the researchers. From Markey’s news release:

With the international climate change talks in Copenhagen fast approaching, there is real urgency to reach diplomatic consensus on a planetary solution. In a hearing next week, Chairman Edward J. Markey and the Select Committee will explore with climate scientists from the Obama administration the urgent, consensus view on our planetary problem: that global warming is real, and the science indicates that it is getting worse.

The past decade has been the hottest in recorded history, with all of the years since 2001 being in the top 10 hottest on record, according to NASA. This summer, the world’s oceans were the warmest in NOAA’s 130 years of record-keeping. Meanwhile, global heat-trapping pollution continues to rise.

Chairman Markey made it a cause celebre when one temp employee of a lobbying firm faked advocacy letters to Congress on energy and global warming, devoting a hearing to the deceit and using it to criticize the coal industry. So one limited case of a single bad actor warranted such a dedicated inquiry. But documented, repeated debasement of science used to affect public policy gets nothing?

In a thorough report, Declan McCullagh of CBS News finds computer experts shocked at how shoddy the data and computer coding reaction really were.  Megan McCardle, blogging at The Atlantic, summarizes in a post, “The Real Problem with the Climate Science Emails“:

Sexing up a graph is at best a misdemeanor. But a Declan McCullough story suggests a more disturbing possibility: the CRU’s main computer model may be, to put it bluntly, complete rubbish. . . . That is a big problem. The IPCC report, which is the most widely relied upon in policy circles, uses this model to estimate the costs of global warming. If those costs are unreliable, then any cost-benefit analysis is totally worthless. Obviously, this also casts their reluctance to conform with FOI requests in a slightly different light.

Yes, indeed, that’s quite a state climate science has found itself in. It’s certainly worth examination at a congressional hearing, and McCullough’s report was headlined, “Congress May Probe Leaked Global Warming E-Mails.” He writes that Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) are interested in hearings, but no mention of Rep. Markey. 

(Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, who continues to offer many informative links on the scandal.)

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