Saturday, March 01, 2014

Weekendus Interuptus

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 doing

Sen. Sessions:  And I look forward to getting that additional information
 OK, Senator Sessions asked for the information and he got it.

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.
In midterm season, this reminds Eli of a student pointing to a scribbled giraffe in the midst of terminal mathterbation. Give Roger a pity point


And Then Theres Physics said...

Maybe someone should point out to Roger that just because all the words used in a sentence can be found in the dictionary, doesn't automatically mean that the sentence makes any sense.

Steve Bloom said...

Never forget the First Law of Pielke Misinterpretation: Only a Pielke can correctly misinterpret a Pielke.

This applies equally to Sr. and Jr.

Victor Venema said...

Did I understand the controversy right that Pielke is attacking Dr. Holdren for misrepresenting his position, whereas it was Sen. Sessions who "misquoted" him? "Misquoted" in quotes because I can imagine the Sen. Sessions got the wrong impression and missed the footnote.

Did Roy Spencer really state that: "there is little or no observational evidence that severe weather of any type has worsened over the last 30, 50 or 100 years"?

If that is right and the context does not change the meaning of that quote, it would be hard not to call that pure misinformation.

A weird video.

Anonymous said...

"The weather changes constantly, we all know that and we've known that since time immemorial. "

I've noticed this comment a few times, with slight variations.

Seems to be a highly reliable sign of denialism and anti-science stupidity.

The poor darlings dont't seem to realise that it's modern science (well, 19thC science) that that disciverd this , and climate stability had just been assumed.

Anonymous Etc.

EliRabett said...

Given that Roger of any age immediately goes to defcon5 on any mention of Pielke, Eli wonders why Roger did not immediately correct Sen. Sessions, another government official, pointing out that Roger agrees with Dr. Holdren.

Pete Dunkelberg said...

> Victor Venema: A weird video.

I guess you're not familiar with this twerpy senator.

Does he he really think he is getting to the bottom of climate science by trying to trip someone up over a phase?

Pete Dunkelberg

EliRabett said...

Yes. Why should he be smarter than Roger Jr.?

Anonymous said...

There's a reason lawyers have a bad reputation as being slimy. Being able to 'argue' for or against any point regardless of truth might be one of them. Just because you can 'convince' a few people with your 'argument' doesn't win you any morality or scruples points. Sessions, by the way, is a lawyer. I read his 'cross-examination' of Holdren and knew it before I even googled him to verify.

Anonymous said...

"there is little or no observational evidence that severe weather of any type has worsened over the last 30, 50 or 100 years"?

Sharknadoes have gotten worse - you never used to hear about them before.

E. Swanson said...

The comment from Sen. Sessions is rather interesting:
"But we expect that a taxpayer paid government should be very accurate and not advance a political agenda and tell us the absolute facts..."

His local boy from Huntsville, John Christy, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that is clearly intended to deceive. Why Kerry Is Flat Wrong on Climate Change

McNider and Christy present a graph showing temperature vs. model results. This graph appears similar to one presented by Roy Spencer in his written testimony before the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last July. Here’s the LINK to Spencer’s written comments, showing this graph as Figure 2.

Spencer claimed the graph shows Middle Troposphere data, probably the UAH TMT averaged with the RSS version of the same, both data sets based on the MSU channel 2 measurements. These data are known to include strong influence from the stratosphere in addition to that from the troposphere and was the main reason given by Spencer and Christy for the introduction of their lower troposphere (now called TLT) product back in 1992. As a result of the stratospheric influence, the MT graph shows much less warming compared to that found in other data sets for the troposphere or surface. Spencer obviously knows this, which indicates that he intended to deceive the US Senate with this presentation, IMHO.

It's clear that McNider and Christy have perpetuated this deception by repeating the presentation of this graphical data. McNider and Christy didn’t mention that Spencer’s graph was limited to tropical latitudes between 20S and 20N, so the unaware might assume that the graph represented the entire Earth. Worse, McNider and Christy shifted the so-called “model” curve above the satellite data curve, which results in a visual impression of greater difference between the two. The WSJ op-ed was immediately pointed to by Charles Krauthammer in his latest opinion piece on the Washington Post late Thursday (The myth of ‘settled science’), spreading the disinformation to a much wider audience. The WSJ was clearly complicit in this deception, allowing the McNider and Christy piece to appear without the usual paywall that surrounds most of the WSJ site so that individuals reading Kruathammer’s commentary could link directly to the WSJ post. I suggest that these actions are just another example of the well known saying from pre-World War II Germany: “A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth”. As we are now entering another election cycle, I expect to see more of this sort of disinformation spread far and wide.

Given the ongoing concerns regarding the Keystone XL pipeline and EPA's proposals to regulate CO2 emissions, many sectors of the US economy, such as the fossil fuel and electric power industries would likely be impacted and sending the wrong signal to the public would likely result in imprudent investments. Presenting false and deceptive information is considered a fraud in some legal situations, particularly regarding securities. For a group of individuals to do this represents conspiracy to commit fraud, which is also a crime in the US. One can only wish that these denialist be brought before a court of law to face whatever justice is applicable...

OnymousGuy said...

What was that smirk on Sen. Assclown's face? And his rush to cut off Holdren. Appalling behavior. Clearly no interest in facts, just posturing.