Let Eli and Ms. Rabett go on a little weekend trip and the world blows up. Ethon flew over to the secret spa and told Eli that Roger Darling was in prime hissy-fit form. Seems that John Holdren had taken a bit of exception to some things. Now Eli expects that there will be no problem in finding comments on that document. This basically starts, well, let Eli get to that later, but it continued with testimony that Dr. Holdren gave to the Senate Environmental Policy and Public Works Committee on February 25. Below is part of the dialog between Dr. Holdren and Senator Sessions (AL). This was posted by Senator Sessions. It is not complete, and bunnies can see the whole on the EPW website. Be that as it may Eli has transcribed it all.
The omitted parts are in italic, Eli has no idea why they were omitted
Sen Sessions: Dr. Holdren, you're the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, called the President's top science advisor commonly, that's an important office for sure and I assume you feel a responsibility to accurately tell the American people the challenges and facts dealing with science and technology in America
Dr. Holdren: That is one of my responsibilities, but my first responsibility is giving the President accurate information about science and technology bearing on his decisions
Sen Sessions: All right, I understand that. On Feb 14 during a press conference at the White House about the President's trip to California where he was promoting or talking about a new one billion dollar drought, climate change fund you stated a) weather practically everywhere is being caused by climate change. I kind of agree with that.
Dr. Holdren: That's not quite what I said Senator, but we will come back to that
Sen Sessions: You said more than that. Then you said quote " we really understand the a number of reasons that global climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency and life of drought in drought prone regions". Then you talked about quote the connection between increasing frequency and intensity of droughts and climate change
And you also asserted that severe droughts are quote "getting more frequent they're getting longer, they're getting drier" and that quote "we are seeing droughts in drought prone regions becoming more frequent, more severe and getting longer". Do you stand by that
Dr. Holdren: The one part I don't stand by is the initial quotation because I said weather practically everywhere is being influenced by climate change not caused by climate change and I explained that as well in my opening statement here. What we have done we've warm the surface of the earth, we've warmed the surface of the oceans, that is influencing climate
Sen Sessions: The weather changes constantly, we all know that and we've known that since time immemorial. Do you stand by your statement that drought is getting more frequent, getting longer and getting drier and the other comments I make and if so cite for us a scientific report of data that supports that
Dr. Holdren: I would be happy to do that my statement was that droughts are getting more severe in some regions that is supported by the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2013 its science basis, the National Climate Assessment (cross talk)
Sen Sessions: No no no You said and I you quoted here, that the first quote I mentioned did mention drought in the following regions, but you talked about the connection between the increasing quote frequency and intensity of drought and climate change" and you asserted that severe drought are quote getting more frequents, getting longer and getting drier
Dr. Holdren: In some regions and I would be happy to provide you with the scientific references there is a long list of them.
Sen. Sessions: Well what about the United States of America?
Dr. Holdren: In the United States of America droughts are getting more severe in the American West and in the Colorado River Basin. We are experiencing in the Colorado River Basin what looks like probably the most severe drought in 1000 years. California is heading for what looks like one of the most severe drought in 500 years. And the data show that we are experiencing in the western United States (cross talk)
Sen. Sessions: Well let me tell you what Dr. Pileke said who sat in that chair you are sitting in today, just a few months ago, he is a climate impact expert, and he agrees that warming is partly caused by human emissions but he testified quote " it is misleading and just plain incorrect to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or drought have increased on climate change time scales either in the United States or globally" .
Dr. Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama testified quote "there is little or no observational evidence that severe weather of any type has worsened over the last 30, 50 or 100 years. The AEI evaluated the data in the NOAA Palmer Drought Severity Index. Are you familiar with that?
Dr. Holdren: I am
Sen. Sessions: and they concluded quote that the PDSI shows no trend over the record period beginning in 1895 in terms of drought. More areas in the United States have experienced an increase in soil moisture than a decline
In the IPCC in April of last year admitted their previous reports had been in error stating quote "based on updated studies conclusions global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated."
And the Congressional Resource Service, our own group here likewise finds that droughts haven't been increasing
Dr. Holdren: On your last point about global drought of course we know that in a warming world with evaporation increasing precipitation also increases. More places are getting wetter than getting drier
Sen. Sessions: (Interupts) Also we are not having any drought.
Dr. Holdren: When you say global drought, if I may finish. When you say global drought you are averaging out the places that are getting drier and the places that are getting wetter. What I have been talking about is what is happening in drought prone regions. The first few people you quoted are not representative of the mainstream scientific opinion on this point and again I will be happy to submit for the record recent articles from Nature, Nature Geoscience, Nature Climate Change, Science and others showing that in drought prone regions. . .[cross talk about submitting these documents]
Chair The record will remain open for two weeks after this hearing
Sen. Sessions: And I thank the witness.
Chair: Welcome to the world of ignoring an EPW witness.
Sen. Sessions: But we expect that a taxpayer paid government should be very accurate and not advance a political agenda and tell us the absolute facts
Dr. Holdren: That's what I have been doingOK, Senator Sessions asked for the information and he got it.
Sen. Sessions: And I look forward to getting that additional information
You can read more about it at HotWhopper, Climate Crocks, Greg Laden, and Skeptical Science. Eli may take another bite tomorrow, but Sou at HW seems to have the whole thing.
More: Joe Romm is also unpleased with Roger
Roger claims that a minor footnote on page 9 of his summer testimony (where Sessions pulled the quotes) gives him a get out of jail card. Eli will "borrow" Sou's excellent figure. Hint, it's not the bold chapter heading, but down at the bottom.