Offers Recommendations for Returning Credibility to IPCC Processes
December 7, 2005
INHOFE EXPRESSES CONCERNS OVER IPCC’S LACK OF OBJECTIVITY IN LETTER TO CHAIRMAN PACHAURI
Offers Recommendations for Returning Credibility to IPCC Processes
WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today sent a letter to Dr. R.K. Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), expressing the concerns with the IPCC processes that he shared with his colleagues on the Senate floor during a November 15th speech.
“On November 15th, 2005,” Senator Inhofe wrote, “I addressed my colleagues in the United States Senate to express the importance of returning integrity to the processes that govern the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Over the last decade, a number of flaws and even abuses in those processes designed to influence public opinion have become evident. My concern was further heightened by comments you made yesterday in Montreal at a forum titled ‘Arriving at a post-2012 Climate Change Settlement: Technology Options & Cooperative Opportunities.’” …
“My primary concerns lie with how certain scientific conclusions are selected or excluded from the IPCC’s consideration and presentation, and how the science has been manipulated in order to reach a predetermined conclusion. These problems must be remedied in order for the IPCC to present a fair and impartial conclusion as to the current state of climate science.”
December 7, 2005
Dr. R. K. Pachauri
Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
c/o World Meteorological Organization
7 bis Avenue de la Paix
CH- 1211 Geneva 2
Dear Dr. Pachauri:
When I became Chairman of the United States Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works, one of my top three priorities was to improve the quality of environmental science used in public policymaking by removing politics from science. I have convened hearings on this subject and, more specifically, the issue of global warming science. The more I have researched the issue, the more convinced I have become that climate science is being co-opted by those who care more deeply about promoting doomsday scenarios to further their own, broader agendas than they do about scientific integrity. I am committed to returning integrity to the scientific process so that the focus is on objective scientific inquiry and assessment and not on influencing public opinion to support political goals.
On November 15th, 2005, I addressed my colleagues in the United States Senate to express the importance of returning integrity to the processes that govern the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Over the last decade, a number of flaws and even abuses in those processes designed to influence public opinion have become evident.
My concern was further heightened by comments you made yesterday in Montreal at a forum titled “Arriving at a post-2012 Climate Change Settlement: Technology Options & Cooperative Opportunities.” In your formal commentary concerning a public opinion survey on climate change, you stated:
In the fourth assessment, we will conduct an extensive outreach effort. If facts are highlighted, not exaggerated… then it will help in changing public perception.
Such an effort, and such an attitude, is in direct conflict with an objective assessment of the science, free of political goals. Selective presentations of facts, whether accurate or not, skew the public’s understanding of the issue by eliminating contrary findings and potentially considerable uncertainty about their accuracy. Moreover, the IPCC has a history of failing your one condition – that findings not be exaggerated – as I detailed for my Senate colleagues. To be direct, the IPCC is no longer an institution that can be credibly relied upon in setting public policy. As the IPCC nears conclusion of its work on the fourth assessment report, I wish to share with you, in the enclosed speech, the concerns I expressed on the floor of the Senate last month as well as offer solutions that I believe, if adopted, would help the IPCC regain its scientific credibility.
My primary concerns lie with how certain scientific conclusions are selected or excluded from the IPCC’s consideration and presentation, and how the science has been manipulated in order to reach a predetermined conclusion. These problems must be remedied in order for the IPCC to present a fair and impartial conclusion as to the current state of climate science.
As I conveyed to my colleagues, I hope the IPCC can regain the integrity lost with the missteps of the first three assessment reports and produce a sound fourth assessment that considers all sides of the science, and is not co-opted by agenda-driven politicians. Only then can the IPCC’s work product be useful to policymakers across the globe. As I stated, I am committed to returning integrity to the scientific process. I hope the members of the IPCC share that same commitment.
James M. Inhofe
United States Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Additional Constructive Recommendations to the IPCC to Help It Restore Its Credibility
• In the field of research examining the impact on temperatures from land-use changes, a new subsection should be created to ensure important work that has been done in the field is represented and examined in assessing the relative contribution of land-use changes.
• Assess and explain the full extent of the bias built into future temperature estimates based on the propensity of most General Circulation Models to predict increased Arctic cloud cover under a doubling of carbon dioxide, given that these modeled clouds do not manifest the observed property of modulating incoming sunlight but instead only yielding the positive feedback of enhancing downward longwave radiation even for the summer season at the Arctic.
• Examine and assess the recent evidence for an increase in intensity of tropical circulation using both reanalyses data and satellite-based observations.
• Explain why the predicted range of global precipitation increase under a doubled carbon dioxide scenario is no more than 5% despite a relatively large increase in atmospheric water vapor – approximately 20-30%.
• Assess the impact of this small increase in precipitation on tropical circulation.
• Examine critically how the El Nino-Southern Oscillation air-sea coupling phenomenon will change by increasing carbon dioxide under the global-warming scenario. • Assess and explain why the polar amplification signals predicted under carbon dioxide-induced global warming have not been observed or verified by the available surface air temperature data of the Arctic.
• The U.S. NSF/NOAA’s Understanding Change Panel of the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (or SEARCH) committee recently concluded that:
While many modeling studies suggest that the increase in greenhouse gases may favor shifts in the primary atmospheric circulation modes, in particular a higher frequency of the positive Arctic Oscillation mode, we find no compelling evidence that the variations of the circulation are greenhouse-driven. Because much of the recent circulation-driven change is likely a manifestation of natural variability, there is a possibility that the recent warming trajectory could slow in the near future.
Explain how these conclusions were incorporated into the IPCC’s conclusions, and fully discuss where the conclusions differ and the underlying reasons for these differences.
• Assess and explain why the General Circulation Models do not correspond with measurements in the lower tropical troposphere and upper polar troposphere, how this has been factored into your conclusions, and what steps are being taken to address this important deficiency.
• Examine in detail what climate models actually predict for the balance between ablation and accumulation of ice at both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
• Assess the impacts of coarse resolution of topography in the current General Circulation Models on the calculation of the ablation process around the coastal melt zones of Greenland and the Antarctic, and identify studies with differing conclusions that use a finer resolution of topography.
• Assess and explain the impacts of Pacific Decadal Oscillation on the observed temperature records generally. In particular, assess and explain the impacts of the PDO on Alaska for the last 50 years.
• Provide a complete description of the temperature record, including warming at the beginning of the last century, with a full description of the bounds of confidence in the various data underlying each portion of the temperature record.
• Compare the observed temperature record of the period 1918-1945 (with a total rise of 0.43 Celsisus) with the identical length of time between 1977-2004 (with a total rise of 0.48 Celsius) without inclusion of low-pass filter, which biases the results. • Ensure generally that comparisons of early- and late-20th century temperature trends are not distorted, examining the warming trend beginning in 1907.
• Examine the ratio of “wettest days” to total annual precipitation over the last 100 years in those areas with robust datasets, giving major conclusions and large geographical regions/countries that do not conform with this trend; if they do not conform, explain how.
• In assessing tropical storm studies, fully explain and account for the sudden, dramatic rise in observed tropical storms corresponding tightly with the introduction of satellites over this observed areas and other measurement techniques. Explain the relative importance of whether these data are robust in any conclusions supporting increased storms.
• Assess the full body of research regarding tropical storms, without disproportionate reliance on the small number of studies that are controversial.
• Provide a complete presentation of the number of storms making landfall in the Atlantic Gulf of Mexico. Break this down by year and location.
• List the number of deaths estimated from each of these strikes.
• Assess the property damage associated with hurricanes, adjusted for population increase and rise in wealth.
• Temperature increase predictions linearly based on carbon dioxide should more accurately reflect likely carbon dioxide growth rates by taking into account historical carbon concentration growth rates.
• Sea level rise estimates should be adjusted to reflect historical emissions and new projections regarding high-latitude ice sheets, which indicate a sea level rise nearly 50 percent lower than estimated in the third assessment.