Webcast of House Committee Hearings

See here http://science.house.gov/hearing/full-committee-hearing-climate-change

Dr. J. Scott Armstrong, Professor, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Richard Muller, Professor, University of California, Berkley and Faculty Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
Dr. John Christy, Director, Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville
Mr. Peter Glaser, Partner, Troutman Sanders, LLP.
Dr. David Montgomery, Economist
Dr. Kerry A. Emanuel, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Armstrong - I tuned in late.

10.32 Unadjusted data is similar to three indices. Why? Muller surprised. Comments on Watts: Poor stations don’t rise more than good stations. Compliments McIntyre and Watts. Some of the biases less of a problem than previously thought.

Bio details. Criticizes IPCC permitting Lead Authors to assess their own work. 1) Hockey Stick case – Lead Author was conflicted. Hide the decline. 2) the McKitrick case. IPCC Lead Authors assessed their own work. 3) EPA Endangerment finding – EPA overstated agreement between models and data. U.S. should not rely on IPCC process. “Climate science needs adult supervision”. Needs second opinion fro, non-activist scientists.

Commented on EPA process. 1) Did not consider societal benefits from fossil fuels. Health has not deteriorated, the opposite. 2) EPA had already decided on finding before comments. 3) EPA relied almost entirely on third party assessment, most heavily on IPCC. Failure to do own assessment is violation of US guidelines. EPA did not examine IQA of IPCC sources. Climategate showed that EPA should have permitted comment on EPA reliance on EPA. Written testimony contrasts EPA procedure on GHG with other policy cases.

19th century history. Arrhenius’ sensitivity estimate 5-6 deg C. Scientific basis is “solid”. Attribution of last half temperature increase to CO2 is solid. Many academies have issued warnings. DOD issued warning. Scientists are conservative and underestimate risks (Fukushima earthquake risk). Assessments of risk are uncertain. Uncertainties unlikely to decline in next decade. No basis for confidence that effects benign. Served on Oxburgh panel. Showed “poor judgement” but no evidence of intent to deceive. Mavericks usually wrong (HIV-AIDS). Politicians should not make mascots of mavericks. Used phrase twice. Appeal to forefathers.

Failures of economic analysis. Global phenomenon. Reducing GHG emissions will have a cost. Deeper the costs, the greater the costs. Green job claims are wrong as they ignore job losses elsewhere. Regulations do not help US competitiveness. Costs of policies underestimated and benefits exaggerated. EPA estimates unreliable. Free lunch assumptions. Unilateral action by US will not accomplish anything. Need India and China as well.

Glaser gave example of EPA responding to comments in boiler rules. Process flaws in Endangerment are not mere technicalities. Process was undermined. EPA had determined its conduct in advance.

To Montgomery – repercussions of removing coal from generation mix while electricity growth of 21% by 2035. Carbon capture is speculative technology. EPA regs would increase electricity costs by 40-50% in ten years. Will Russia, China, India and others participate?

Is temperature rising and greenhouse gas partly to blame? Christy – Muller – GHG by themselves exert warming. The question is one of degree. Is it high end? How do we work with other countries? If it is low end, then time to implement more long term solutions that some people object to. Emanuel – projections range from benign to catastrophic.

Do we have answers now? Muller – No “conspiracy”, but scientists work as advocates and fears that they lose their impartiality. Don’t trust the public enough. Bad effect is that public loses trust. Christy – tests model output and doesn’t match data. Emanuel – some areas show model estimates too conservative. IPCC is not a research organization, but a “communications exercise” between scientists and public.

Asks about Oxburgh. Five questions.
Did the panel have any written terms of reference?
Public hearings?
Transcript of hearings.
“No, I don’t believe so”.

Scope of panel. Any breach of scientific integrity.
Describes advocacy of Oxburgh. Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Papers we read, interviews we conducted showed great integrity. No sunshine on the process. Didn’t interview critics, no transcript of interviews.

Something from Armstrong’s website on election forecasting. Offering personal opinions on matters on which he has appeared as a lawyer. Unethical for lawyers to express personal opinion as opposed to client. Is there any area on which his personal opinion differs from opinion of clients? Asks about how much he has been paid. Attorney-client privilege. Odd that Glaser asked to appear. In a court case, multiple parties.

long statement about energy. Montgomery – oil, climate change and fossil fuels different issues. Peak oil a different issue.

Asks Christy about openness of IPCC process. Asks Christy about code. Says important that code be available. Asks about “fraudulently” inclusion of data in reports. “biased… overconfident”.

Asks Montgomery – oil companies spent massive amounts against climate science. Testified as expert witness on unrelated cases for Exxon.

Rep worked in wind energy field. Buying wind turbines from Germany.

Would you trust data from hide the decline..?

Quotes from harry code. “hopeless data base”. Christy – panels did not address issues. Did reviews address Climategate issues? No. Is independent review of allegations warranted? Asks for report different from IPCC cadre.

MIT received $100 million from Koch. Should this be dismissed?

Seven independent exonerations of Climategate (waved). Asks whether funded by oil, coal or energy industry.

She represents NASA Goddard and NOAA. Needs to invest in climate research.

Is there evidence for confidence that it will be risky? No.
Difference between forecast and risk assessment – house on fire.

Glaser – Glaser’s point that public health has improved. Good things not taken into consideration.

To Montgomery – Going to borrow money from Chinese to buy German or Chinese windmills. Then increase electricity to place US at competitive disadvantage. Yes.

About letter from Watts about Muller testimony.

Pain and suffering of decline of market share in autos. Represents Detroit. Concerns not heeded. No jobs in auto plants. Concerned about investment in green technology.

Asks Christy about great global cooling scare. From mining district in Minnesota.

Tuned out for a while.

Some closing remarks about Climategate. Emanuel said of hide-the-decline that they should have taken whole proxy out. No intent to deceive anyone. Christy – icon itself based on tree rings as not very good. Muller – had to show your dirty laundry at Berkeley. If you don’t show something , you are most likely to fool yourself. Glaser – Climategate about many things. Hockey stick is about to the public. About large pattern of activity. Review panels – English investigated. Asked EPA to investigate and allow public to comment. None of the review panels operated according to US procedures. No interviews, no dissenting points of view. Review panels were critical of scientists. Surprised that climatologists did not invole disinterested statisticians. Operating in culture of secrecy.


  1. Publius
    Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Armstrong criticized models based rules of good forecasting. Muller’s presence is premature and puzzling, a good self promoter.

  2. David P
    Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Sensenbrenner just abused Emmanuel. Stated there is no fair way the Oxburgh Commission could be regarded as objective in its analysis given Emmanuel’s prior “advocacy” of the CRU scientists and Oxburgh’s multiple conflicts.

  3. Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks, Steve, for the posting.

    Can you tell us if members of the Committee hearing today’s testimony are the ones who will be deciding appropriations for science?

    It has been my impression that the root of the problem is the relationship between NAS and the Chair of the House Subcommittee for Appropriations for Science.

    That also seemed to be the concern that former President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address on 17 Jan 1961:


    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

    “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

  4. David P
    Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 10:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Watts has submitted a letter to correct Muller in real time!! Drama!

  5. Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 10:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Better than watching.

  6. cwon1
    Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There wasn’t enough focus on the consensus steering aspects of IPCC activity. Far too much respect was given with some quips at the end.

  7. mpaul
    Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 12:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It seems like they successfully set a predicate for a US led investigation of Climategate. The chairman now has expert testimony that (1) the actors involved in the climategate affair might have distorted the US public policy process (ie, climategate is a matter of material interest to, and subject to the jurisdiction of, the subcommittee), and (2) the prior investigations into climategate did not meet US standards for investigations of this type.

  8. Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    @Montgomery precis:
    “Deeper the costs,” presumably deeper the cuts

  9. Theo Goodwin
    Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 1:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    David P writes:
    “Sensenbrenner just abused Emmanuel. Stated there is no fair way the Oxburgh Commission could be regarded as objective in its analysis given Emmanuel’s prior “advocacy” of the CRU scientists and Oxburgh’s multiple conflicts.”

    Your statement gives the reason that Sensenbrenner’s statements are not abusive of Emmanuel. Emmanuel has made himself an advocate of the CRU scientists. That fact disqualifies him to sit in judgement of their work.

    • David P
      Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 10:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

      You don’t watch a lot of sports, do you? ;)

  10. Publius
    Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 2:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In our focus on the science don’t lose sight of Montgomery. He is a top environmental economist and VP of the respected Charles River Associates. He gives the lie to the whole ‘green jobs’ myth. Evidence is that the regions that cut the emissions endure the costs of same, and that jobs lost >> jobs gained. This is all common sense but at the end of the day it is what everyone is worried about.

  11. Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 4:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent overview Steve. Many thanks for this (and so much more).

    Is there an easily accessible archive available for this entire event?

  12. Graeme
    Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    is it just me or is Watts’s issue with UHI just a little bit dumb? How well do we measure the dese3rts – including Arctic, Antarctic, Sahara, Gobi, Himalayas, most of Asia, Africa and Australia……………not to mention that substance that covers 2/3 of the surface of our planet.

  13. Ed_B
    Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 7:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “How well do we measure the dese3rts – including Arctic, Antarctic, Sahara, Gobi, Himalayas, most of Asia, Africa and Australia……………not to mention that substance that covers 2/3 of the surface of our planet”

    Good point. A Watts’ work will shed light on this as far as USA station quality issues go, plus UHI and night time biasing.

    Maybe that will be a start to getting the answers to your question. Is the well publicised BEST project up to the task?

  14. JRR Canada
    Posted Mar 31, 2011 at 8:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Very confused by Mullers presence, what did he do to contribute there?Or is BEST the best we can expect of climatology?No science neccessary apply within?

  15. Kozlowski
    Posted Apr 1, 2011 at 3:18 AM | Permalink | Reply


    “is it just me or is Watts’s issue with UHI just a little bit dumb? How well do we measure the dese3rts – including Arctic, Antarctic, Sahara, Gobi, Himalayas, most of Asia, Africa and Australia……………not to mention that substance that covers 2/3 of the surface of our planet.”

    I thought that Watts UHI project was an example of citizen science at its finest. Unless his results are factored in, how will we know if there is a bias in night time urban heating due to poor instrument siting (and the changes to those sites over time) ?

    His question excludes ocean temps and other areas but includes urban areas in which a warming trend has been noticed. How much of that trend is due to UH vs. immediate environmental factors remains a good question. Has it been answered yet? I’m not so sure it has.

    If memory serves me correctly, the dismissal by most Climatologists of UHI as a factor rests largely on Chinese data which might not be entirely accurate.

    Many thanks to Steve for his amazing and diligent work in Auditing Climate science. Please keep up the great works!


  16. Ian L. McQueen
    Posted Apr 1, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Failures of economic analysis. Global phenomenon. Reducing GHG emissions will have a cost. Deeper the costs, the greater the costs.

    Should “Deeper the costs, the greater the costs.” actually read “Deeper the CUTS the greater the costs.”?

  17. windansea
    Posted Apr 1, 2011 at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Muller appears to be way off in his numbers regarding temp rise


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