Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Judge Orders Bush Administration to Issue Climate Change Reports
Thursday , August 23, 2007
A federal judge ordered President Bush's administration to issue two scientific reports on global warming, siding with environmentalists who sued the White House for failing to produce the documents.
U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong ruled Tuesday that the Bush administration had violated a 1990 law when it failed to meet deadlines for an updated U.S. climate change research plan and impact assessment.
Armstrong set a March 1 deadline for the White House to issue the research plan, which is meant to guide federal research on climate change. Federal law calls for an updated plan every three years, she said. The last one was issued in 2003.
The judge set a May 31 deadline to produce a national assessment containing the most recent scientific data on global warming and its projected effects on the country's environment, economy and public health. The government is required to complete a national assessment every four years, the judge ruled. The last one was issued by the Clinton administration in 2000.
The administration had claimed that it had discretion over how and when it produced the reports — an argument the judge rejected Tuesday.
"The defendants are wrong," Armstrong wrote in the 38-page ruling. "Congress has conferred no discretion upon the defendants as to when they will issue revised Research Plans and National Assessments."
The plaintiffs — the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace — said the ruling was a rebuke to an administration that has systematically denied and suppressed information on global warming.
"It's a huge victory holding the administration accountable for its attempts to suppress science," said Kassie Siegel, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs that filed suit in Oakland federal court in November.
Bush administration officials were still reviewing the ruling Tuesday and could not comment on it directly, said Kristin Scuderi, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, which was named in the lawsuit.
But the administration is complying with the law, Scuderi said. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program is working on 21 separate reports on global warming's projected effects on the U.S and has started to prepare a new research plan, she said
AND HERE"S THE WORD FROM THE SENATE MINORITY:
Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research. Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which DailyTech has obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising.
Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no "consensus."
The figures are even more shocking when one remembers the watered-down definition of consensus here. Not only does it not require supporting that man is the "primary" cause of warming, but it doesn't require any belief or support for "catastrophic" global warming. In fact of all papers published in this period (2004 to February 2007), only a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results.
These changing viewpoints represent the advances in climate science over the past decade. While today we are even more certain the earth is warming, we are less certain about the root causes. More importantly, research has shown us that -- whatever the cause may be -- the amount of warming is unlikely to cause any great calamity for mankind or the planet itself.
Schulte's survey contradicts the United Nation IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (2007), which gave a figure of "90% likely" man was having an impact on world temperatures. But does the IPCC represent a consensus view of world scientists? Despite media claims of "thousands of scientists" involved in the report, the actual text is written by a much smaller number of "lead authors." The introductory "Summary for Policymakers" -- the only portion usually quoted in the media -- is written not by scientists at all, but by politicians, and approved, word-by-word, by political representatives from member nations. By IPCC policy, the individual report chapters -- the only text actually written by scientists -- are edited to "ensure compliance" with the summary, which is typically published months before the actual report itself.
By contrast, the ISI Web of Science database covers 8,700 journals and publications, including every leading scientific journal in the world.