Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Liveblogging the Senate Hearing

Webcast here.

9:02 am
Sessions: "I've voted for mileage improvements and efficiences, and ethanol expansions.... If CO2 is causing an increase in temperatures, all these steps will help alleviate it. It's just a question of how much we can afford to spend."

9:00 am
Boxer: "I'm not panicked about global warming...."

8:58 am:
Christopher Field ends with perhaps the most sensible statement of all: "There are consequences to using the atmosphere as a dump" [and (paraphrasing) they're just trying to provide information to policymakers].

8:54 am
Senator Boozman (R-Arkansas) cites Y2K as an example of an imaginary problem. Hey, boatloads of money was spent to head that off -- billions!

8:49 am
Lautenberg to Christy: "You're entitled to your own bias, if you will."

8:47 am
McCarthy, on Climategate: "The scientists were [only] guilty of bad manners."
Christy: "I disagree with [McCarthy's] view of Cliamtegate."

8:34 am
Lautenberg steps back and talks about the attempts to discredit science.

8:44 am
Senator Sessions: "Can CO2 increase temperature? I would say there's some logic to that question."

8:42 am
Senator Sessions: "A forest fire is no proof of global warming -- give me a break!"

Aside: Skeptical Science has a critique of Watts et al (2012), including the Time of Observation (TOB) issue many people are talking about. (That's the kind of thing that proves this paper wasn't near ready for peer review.) Gregor Vertacnik: "As a climatologist experienced in monitoring, data quality control and also homogenisation I must say this is one of the worst papers about climate change I've ever read."

8:39 am
Inhofe quotes Lovelock. I think some Senate staffers are spending too much time reading the Internet, and not enough time reading reports.

8:37 am
John Christy: "The global warming issue is highly overblown." [Fields and McCarthy say there is no hoax. But then, they would say that if there was one, wouldn't they? :-) ]

8:33 am
John Christy: "The world has warmed in the last 20 (120?) years? I believe the question is...can you do anything about it?"

8:31 am
Senator Sanders and Inhofe are spending a lot of time telling us how much they like each other despite their disagreement on GW. I wonder.

8:29 am
Boxer to Inhofe: "Just relax, Senator."

8:29 am
John Christy: "Our ignorance of the climate system is enormous. We cannot predict much at all."

8:27 am
Inhofe calls 1940-75 an "ice age."

8:24 am
Inhofe quotes Mann as an attempt to discredit Muller. Tit-for-tat when it's useful.

Christy's written testimony cites Watts et al (2012). Wow. In response to a question from Boxer he admits it hasn't been submitted to a scientific journal yet. Blog posts are now evidence for Senate hearings?? That strikes me as a very poor choice on Christy's part.

8:14 am
(paraphrasing) There is no scientific evidence that the observed warming can be expalined by other than greenhouse warming.

8:11 am
James McCarthy emphasis ocean warming. "The ocean has warmed steadily over the last 10 years." (Avoids all the many problems in homogenizing the surface dataset too, though of course any data-gathering requires a lot of data analysis of subtle issues.)

From John Christy's testimony: "Today, affordable carbon-based energy is a key component for lifting people out of crippling poverty.  Rising CO2 emissions are, therefore, one indication of poverty-reduction which gives hope for those now living in a marginal existence without basic needs brought by electrification, transportation and  industry." Yes, but that doesn't make it an appropriate energy source for people who aren't in poverty. Why can't they pay for the damage their energy use does to the property of others and damage to the Common?

7:54 am: Judith Curry has a copy of John Christy's testimony, and a summary.

Lots of mentions of Muller's article in the NYT. (Perhaps it was aimed for this hearing instead of an IPCC deadline?)

7:44 am
Lautenberg: Taxpayers will shell out $30-40 B in crop insurance this year.

7:41 am
Lautenberg: "Our friends on the other side happen to be likable people, but they're wrong."
Inhofe interrupts: "I agree with half your statement." (laughter)
Lautenberg: "That you're likable?" (laughter)

7:40 am PDT
Senator Lautenberg calls today a "bonfire of reality." That's a phrase that might stick somewhere.

7:35 am PDT
Senator Sessions:
"We may well have some warming and it may be human caused." (After saying there has been no warming in the last 10 years.)


charlesH said...

I guess you missed this testimony?

"IPCC Lead Author Misleads US Congress"

"The politicization of climate science is so complete that the lead author of the IPCC's Working Group II on climate impacts feels comfortable presenting testimony to the US Congress that fundamentally misrepresents what the IPCC has concluded. I am referring to testimony given today by Christopher Field, a professor at Stanford, to the US Senate.

This is not a particularly nuanced or complex issue. What Field says the IPCC says is blantantly wrong, often 180 degrees wrong. It is one thing to disagree about scientific questions, but it is altogether different to fundamentally misrepresent an IPCC report to the US Congress. Below are five instances in which Field's testimony today completely and unambiguously misrepresented IPCC findings to the Senate. Field's testimony is here in PDF. "

Paul S said...

Let's see:

1) Pielke frames what he wants people to think Field was talking about by cutting out Field's IPCC quote:

'A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.'

...and replacing it with his own. Pielke essentially decides what Field was talking about independently of Field's own words and then claims he was misleading because the thing Pielke is talking about says something different in the IPCC report. If that confuses you, it should, because it doesn't make any sense.

2) Pielke actually confirms that Field accurately quotes the IPCC report, though decides that he could have said something specific about parts of the US.

3) I'm not clear on the issues concerning NOAA disaster loss trends but note that, contrary to what Pielke seems to claim, Field does not draw any conclusions about trends or causation. Indeed his comment on the link between climate change - 'For several of these categories of disasters, the strength of any linkage to climate change, if there is one, is not known.' - is for some reason not mentioned here yet is included separately in his point 4.

4) Again, Pielke decides Field is talking about something - 'trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change' - different from what he actually says: 'did not identify a trend or express confidence in projections concerning tornadoes and other small-area events. The evidence on hurricanes is mixed'. The IPCC report does indeed express likely-level confidence in hurricane projections and low confidence in observed trends. A situation which could almost be described as 'mixed'.

5) Pielke starts talking about flood losses despite the fact Field didn't mention them. Nothing Pielke says here contradicts Field's testimony.

charlesH said...


This chart was presented by Dr. Christy at the Senate hearing.

1) Do you take issue with any part of the chart?

2) The difference between land and sat measurements? Might this be the UHI that Watts et al. is seeing in their discussion paper?

Brian said...

Re "There are consequences to using the atmosphere as a dump", that's a paraphrase of Ehrlich 1968 Population Bomb.

Re Inhofe and Sanders, my tiny amount of inside politics knowledge is that Inhofe is more of an old-school, make-deals Republican, so however awful he is on climate, he still tries to maintain relationships on other issues.

charlesH said...

Interesting interview with Dr. Richard Muller by CAGW believers.

My summary of his position.

1) there is warming and co2 is responsible

2) all the other alarmist stuff (Al Gore, Mann et al, warming leads to climate extremes, etc....) is crap (my favorite is "warming leads to less delta T thus fewer less intensive storms").

David Appell said...

Fewer intensive storms?

charlesH said...


Muller said it and is backup by Peikle Jr. Take it up with Roger. He is the expert on this storm stuff. Ask him about the Maue chart.

"What the IPCC actually said (p. 269 PDF): "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

"Hurricanes are, of course, tropical cyclones. Far from evidence being "mixed" the IPCC was unable to attribute any trend in tropical cyclone disasters to climate change (anywhere in the world and globally overall). In fact, there has been no trend in US hurricane frequency or intensity over a century or more, and the US is currently experiencing the longest period with no intense hurricane landfalls ever seen. Field fails to report any this and invents something different. Why present testimony so easily refuted? (He did get tornadoes right!)"

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