Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The IPCC and the Federal District Court of Appeals

Sometimes a bunny just hangs about after quoting someone else and watches heads explode.  The Court was not amused.

 Those petitions asserted that internal emails and documents released from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU)—a contributor to one of the global temperature records and to the IPCC’s assessment report—undermined the scientific evidence supporting the Endangerment Finding by calling into question whether the IPCC scientists adhered to “best science practices.”

The petitions pointed to factual mistakes in the IPCC’s assessment report resulting from the use of non-peer-reviewed studies and several scientific studies postdating the Endangerment Finding as evidence that the Endangerment Finding was flawed.

According to EPA, the petitioners’ claims based on the CRU documents were exaggerated, contradicted by other evidence, and not a material or reliable basis for questioning the credibility of the body of science at issue; two of the factual inaccuracies alleged in the petitions were in fact mistakes, but both were “tangential and minor” and did not change the key IPCC conclusions; and the new scientific studies raised by some petitions were either already considered by EPA, misinterpreted or misrepresented by petitioners, or put forth without acknowledging other new State Petitioners have not provided substantial support for their argument that the Endangerment Finding should be revised. State Petitioners point out that some studies the IPCC referenced in its assessment were not peer-reviewed, but they ignore the fact that (1) the IPCC assessment relied on around 18,000 studies that were peer-reviewed, and (2) the IPCC’s report development procedures expressly permitted the inclusion in the assessment of some non-peer-reviewed studies (“gray” literature).

Moreover, as EPA determined, the limited inaccurate information developed from the gray literature does not appear sufficient to undermine the substantial overall evidentiary support for the Endangerment Finding. State Petitioners have not, as they assert, uncovered a “pattern” of flawed science.

Only two of the errors they point out seem to be errors at all, and EPA relied on neither in making the Endangerment Finding. First, as State Petitioners assert, the IPCC misstated the percentage of the Netherlands that is below sea level, a statistic that was used for background information. However, the IPCC corrected the error, and EPA concluded that the error was “minor and had no impact,” and the Endangerment Finding did not refer to the statistic in any way. Id. at 49,576–77. Second, the IPCC acknowledged misstating the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are receding. EPA also did not rely on that projection in the Endangerment Finding. studies.


dbostrom said...

People with stripes in all directions and of all colors claim to want ideology stripped away from the Earth sciences synthesis called AGW. This decision is probably the nearest approximation to a dispassionate perspective we'll hear from members of the lay public.

What happens when the dust is allowed to settle in a quiet place.

J Bowers said...

Thanks for this, Eli. Your persistent eyekeeping on EPA issues is a great help. Just to fill in a gap:

"...but both were “tangential and
minor” and did not change the key IPCC conclusions; and the
new scientific studies raised by some petitions were either
already considered by EPA, misinterpreted or misrepresented by
petitioners, or put forth without acknowledging other new
studies. Id. at 49,557–58.

J Bowers said...

No, sorry. I misread. Ignore that last.

Anonymous said...

Does this count as a ninth? tenth? investigation into "Climategate"?


Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

too bad when Romney wins the EPA is going to be disbanded and these political rulings will mean nothing.

Steve Bloom said...

Oh, Jay doesn't know the background of these judges. Add it to the list.

yocto said...

Such a good bunny, Eli keep up the good work!

dbostrom said...

...too bad when Romney wins the EPA is going to be disbanded...

You think you're the only person on the planet (including Romney) who can safely say what Romney's going to think or say next?

But let's allow the man to speak for himself:

'Roe v. Wade has gone too far.'

'I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.'

'I will work and fight for stem cell research.'

'In the end, I became persuaded that the stem-cell debate was grounded in a false premise.'

'I think the minimum wage ought to keep pace with inflation.'

'There's no question raising the minimum wage excessively causes a loss of jobs.'

'I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.'

'I did not see it with my own eyes.'

'I respect and will protect a woman's right to choose.'

'I never really called myself pro-choice.'

'This is a completely airtight kennel mounted on the top of our car.'

'They're not happy that my dog loves fresh air.'

'I like mandates. The mandates work.'

'I think it's unconstitutional on the 10th Amendment front.'

'Roe v. Wade has gone too far.'

'I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.'

'It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.'

'I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there.'

'I have never supported the president's Recovery Act, alright -- the stimulus. No time, nowhere, nohow.'

'I think there is need for economic stimulus.'

'I don't speak for the scientific community, of course. But I believe the world is getting warmer. I can't prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past, but I believe that we contribute to that. So I think it's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you're seeing.'

'My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.'

Martin Vermeer said...

> too bad when Romney wins the EPA is going to be disbanded

That would suddenly make civil law interesting. I know, not really the right instrument for what is obviously a public policy issue, but hey, it worked for tobacco

J Bowers said...

"too bad when Romney wins the EPA is going to be disbanded..."

Too bad your asthma will get worse, then. How much are those meds you loved to bang on about?

Jim Eager said...

I keep thinking even Jay will eventually tire of repeatedly making himself look like a fool.

And I keep being disappointed.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

I don't think Jaybird can make himself look like a fool. Unfortunate genetic combinations have already done that for him.

Snapple said...

Cuccinelli's legal document cited the Kremlin's official press agency RIA Novosti as an authoritative source on the supposed lies of climate scientists. Cuccinelli didn't even quote the Russian document accurately. The Russians were talking about the Hadley Center, but Cuccinelli changed that to CRU.

The RIA Novosti article was based on a longer article from the Russian Business daily Kommersant. This is a Kremlin-friendly organ owed by Alisher Usmanov, a Gazprom operative.

Here are the details.

Snapple said...

Some of the other legal documents against the EPA also cited RIA Novosti. The documents also made the same mistake of changing Hadley Center to CRU. This suggests to me that some other entity actually provided this information to Cuccinelli's office and to the other state officials.

The RIA Novosti document doesn't name the Russian scientists, but the Kommersant document shows that they were not Russian scientists at all. The "Russian scientist" was Andrei Illarionov. He works for the Cato Institute, and he is an economist, not a scientist. Also, he is a former adviser to Putin and to the late Victor Chernomyrdin, who was head of the Soviet Gas Ministry and its post-Soviet reincarnation Gazprom.

Funny how the CATO complains about "big government" and US government agencies, but seems comfortable "citing" a Kremlin agency and a Gazprom operative's newspaper. Gazprom is controlled by the Russian government.


Snapple said...

I wish we knew who changed Hadley Center to CRU, because Cuccinelli's document is not the only complaint that makes the same mistake.

It's like when kids copy homework and they all have the same wrong answer.

I wondered if maybe this ALEC organization made this mistake, but I don't know, of course.

This shows that Cuccinelli's office doesn't do their own research. They get their information from some other entity.

It's strange that the TEA PARTY guy is quoting an information agency of the Russian government.


Snapple said...

The petitions to the EPA are listed at the bottom of this link. Texas also cites RIA Novosti and a Russian lady scientist affiliated with Andrei Illarionov's Institute for Economic Analysis--N.A. Pivavorova. She works at Astrakan State Technical University, a college that prepares students to work in Russia's oil and gas industry. http://astu.astu.org/en/science/

Texas has her name spelled wrong. It is really Pivovarova, not Pivavorova. This means something "beer cooker" in Russian. She's a chemist, so her name is funny.

Here is where the EPA lists all the petitions.


Here is the Texas petition.


Cuccinelli made a space when he typed the address of the RIA Novosti article into the footnotes of his petion, so it won't appear if you don't fix the link.

Here is the Russian article he cited. This is RIA Novosti's English site.


Please note, that in his petition, Cuccinelli said CRU when RIA Novosti said Hadley Center.

Cuccinelli doesn't depend on scientists for his evidence and he is a really crappy lawyer if he mischaracterizes his sources---Russian information agencies.

Snapple said...

Here is the NYT quoting the Russian scientist Alexander Bedritskiy about the IEA report that RIA Novosti and Kommersant were citing:


…Alexander Bedritskiy, president of the World Meteorological Organization and the top climate change adviser to President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia, said that the Russian report was thoroughly discredited by top scientists in his country more than a year ago.

“Any scientific discussion on the results, pretending to be science-based, does not make sense,” Dr. Bedritskiy said in an e-mail.

He also noted that the author of that report, Andrei Illarionov, is not a climate scientist but an economist with the Cato Institute, a conservative research group in the United States.

Mr. Cuccinelli could not say how he had verified the accuracy of the report, which is written in Russian, but said that his legal complaint had been “heavily researched.” The research did not consist of consultations with scientists, however, he said.

“We have to have a certain understanding of our context to operate, but that doesn’t require expert witnesses,” he said.

Cuccinelli doesn't do his own homework. He copies other people's mistakes.

Texas can't even spell the name of the Russian gas/oil chemist they cite as an expert on climate science.

Snapple said...

If Cuccinelli wants to read what the Russian scientists say, he might start with a report commissioned by the Russian security agencies a few years ago. The Russian State Security studies climate change just as the CIA does.

Although the Russian authorities may downplay their concerns because they don't really have any good solutions, they are very concerned about the economic consequences of the thawing because much of Russia's natural gas and oil is extracted from the permafrost. Former CIA analyst Paul Goble (6-20-07) reports:


A new study, prepared at the request of the Russian security agencies, concludes that global warming is likely to make it impossible for Moscow to continue to export oil and gas at current rates and thus over the next decade or more will undermine the foundations of Russia’s economic recovery and international standing.

Entitled “The World Around Russia: 2017” and edited by Sergei Karaganov, one of Moscow’s most influential political commentators, this study includes articles by scholars from the Academy of Sciences as well as other experts on climate change, economics, and other issues (http://news.mail.ru/society/1330715/).

Its conclusions are stark: Russia, the newly published book argues, faces a variety of threats from global warming, ranging from the possible influx of immigrants from countries becoming too hot to the loss of access to its oil and gas fields as a result of the melting of the permafrost in many petroleum-rich regions of the Russian north.

And its authors suggest, neither Moscow nor the international community has the ability to prevent this from happening over the next generation or more, even if one or both were to take all the steps that Russian and Western environmental experts now advocate.

Massive immigration is already a political issue in Russia, but the appearance of this book indicates that the dangers global warming poses for Russia’s oil and gas industries are trends that the Kremlin and the Russian security agencies are paying far greater attention to.

If the permafrost melts – and several scholars participating in this study argue that this process has become “irreversible” – then it will be extremely difficult and enormously expensive for Moscow to shore up drilling fields and pipelines on hitherto solid territories transformed into large boggy marshes.

More than any other country, the Russian Federation has extensive experience working in permafrost areas and has developed technologies that allow it to build and operate various facilities in these regions. But if the permafrost melts, as this study suggests it will continue to do, all Russian facilities now on frozen ground will be at risk. [Window on Eurasia (6-2-07). "Global Warming Threatens Russian Oil Exports, FSB Study Warns."]

More here and links: