With a challenge to the IPCC global temperature data record, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is on a political mission to head off EPA’s decision on an “endangerment” finding that could lead to regulation of greenhouse gases. “Their bottom line is an antiregulatory ideology,” we said to Environment & Energy Daily on October 7. “When they use science, they use it tactically, and they will go to war with the mainstream science community.” This latest flap appears to be a grasping at straws. Is it a sign of desperation in the denialist camp?
November 25 UPDATE:
See our post: Some sources on the controversy over the hacked files from the UK Climatic Research Unit
October 13: Phil Jones and Ben Santer respond to CEI and Pat Michaels attack on temperature data record
October 14: Stephen Schneider comments on the CEI and Pat Michaels petition on the global warming data record
October 14: Scientists return fire at CEI and Pat Michaels for bogus charges on global temperature data record
E&E News PM reported on October 7 (by subscription) (excerpt):
1. CLIMATE: Free-market group attacks data behind EPA ‘endangerment’ proposal
Robin Bravender, E&E reporter
…The Competitive Enterprise Institute—a vocal foe of EPA’s efforts to finalize its “endangerment finding”—petitioned the agency this week to reopen the public comment period on the proposal, arguing that critical data used to formulate the plan have been destroyed and that the available data are therefore unreliable.
At issue is a set of raw data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, that includes surface temperature averages from weather stations around the world….
EPA spokeswoman Adora Andy said the agency will evaluate the petition. “But after initial review of the statement their position rests upon,” Andy added, “it certainly does not appear to justify upheaval.”
The petition is the latest in a string of CEI challenges to the proceedings surrounding the endangerment finding and other Obama administration climate policies….
Rick Piltz, director of the watchdog group Climate Science Watch and a former official at the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, said that although the research unit’s data are among key data sets used by the IPCC, “it’s not the only data set that they use.” He also said EPA drew on “multifaceted, robust” data in the technical support document underlying the finding.
EPA’s endangerment finding relies most heavily on IPCC’s 2007 fourth assessment; synthesis and assessment products of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program; National Research Council reports under the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; the EPA annual report on U.S. greenhouse gas emission inventories; and the EPA assessment of the effects of global change on regional U.S. air quality, according to the agency’s technical support document.
“You do not need to reopen the IPCC reports and the technical support document on the EPA endangerment finding because of something having to do with the raw data from the temperature record from East Anglia University in the 1980s,” Piltz said, adding that the IPCC carefully vets its data.
Piltz said CEI is on an ideological mission to head off EPA attempts to finalize the endangerment finding and is “grasping at straws” by challenging the IPCC data.
“Their bottom line is an antiregulatory ideology,” Piltz said. “When they use science, they use it tactically, and they will go to war with the mainstream science community.”
Republican senators also weighed in yesterday, urging EPA to reopen the public comment period on the endangerment finding to investigate the scientific merit of the research data….
You can read CEI’s petition here.
Clearly there is more that will need to be discussed in this case. It’s been noted that two independent parallel assessments—those of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the NOAA National Climate Data Center—get essentially the same results as the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, and that proxy data support the 20th century instrumental warming trend. We expect the climate science community regards the CRU results, and the combined results of these multiple sources, as putting the observed warming in the global temperature record beyond doubt. As one scientist we’ve spoken with said: “One learns from all of the evidence and analysis, and this latest dustup is really reaching and a sign of desperation.”
We’ll continue to track this.
A thematically related item:
On CEI’s bogus “whistleblower” allegation that EPA suppressed climate science in connection with the endangerment finding, see our earlier posts: Denialist attack on EPA handling of Carlin global warming contrarian document: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
We’ll have more to say about that case in the near future, as well.