Letters for Climate Change

July 20, 2005 at 12:24 am 2 comments

yes, it just isn’t possible to get facts anymore. Congressman Joe Barton of the U.S. energy council has recently sent out a series of letters with questions to key scientests in the fields of climate change. While much of the reaction in the scientific community has been a bit polarized, for instance Sherwood Boehlert writes:

My primary concern about your investigation is that its purpose seems to be to intimidate scientists rather than to learn from them, and to substitute Congressional political review for scientific peer review. This would be pernicious.

When you actually read Joe Barton’s letters. He hardly seems as immitidating as Boelhert seems to think, but as many scientests point out Barton seems highly mis-informed:

Three scientists (two of which are contributors to this site, Michael Mann and Ray Bradley) have received letters from Representative Joe Barton (Texas), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee specifically requesting information about their work on the ‘hockey stick’ papers (Mann et al (1998) and Mann et al (1999)) as well as an enormous amount of irrelevant material not connected to these studies.

If Barton is asking for a lot of erroneous material it’s probably not becuase he’s trying to immitidate scientests, but obviously have been fed a line and is investigating the matter. His tone seems more like a cautious skeptic of his own views than an attack on the forefront of science.

All of this is further complicated by Barton’s views being based on a paper by
McIntyre and McKitrick, one is a mining industry executive and another is an economist. Their work used data from existing climate change studies, and was published as a scientific study in a journal on policy. When McIntyre and McKitrick’s work was subject to peer review it was descridted. For a more thorough explination check out Mann’s letter to Barton clipped from below:

Q7: This question poses a number of questions based on an article published by McIntyre and McKitrick in Energy & Environment. The question states that these
authors “report a number of errors and omissions in Mann et al. 1998 and how these may affect the underlying conclusions of the work.? The question goes on to list a number of topics that I should address in a “narrative explanation.?

A: I want to begin by emphasizing that nothing in McIntyre and McKitrick’s article undermines the conclusion of my research. My colleagues and I stand foursquare behind our work. So does the scientific community.

The various claims of McIntyre and McKitrick — including the ones repeated in your question — have been exhaustively examined by two different groups of climate researchers who have found their objections to be unfounded.5 See also National Center for Atmospheric Research, Media Advisory: The Hockey Stick Controversy New Analysis Reproduces Graph of Late 20th Century Temperature Rise (May 11, 2005) (available at: http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2005/ammann.shtml). Moreover, it is my understanding that several other groups of climate researchers have examined McIntyre and McKitrick’s criticisms and also have found their criticisms lacking in merit. On the other hand, I know of no independent scientific group that has found any of McIntyre and McKitrick’s claims to be valid. Nor is that surprising. Energy & Environment is not a peer reviewed scientific journal; it is a journal primarily devoted to policy rather than science that appears to engage in, at most, haphazard review of its articles.
And neither McIntyre nor McKitrick is a trained climate scientist. According to the biographical data on their websites, Mr. McIntyre is a mining industry executive with no formal training in any discipline related to climate research and Mr. McKitrick is an economist with no scientific training, hardly credentials that lend force to their academic arguments. See

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/cv.html and

Adding to the problem, the editor of Energy & Environment, Ms. Sonja Boehmer-
Christiansen, has candidly acknowledged that the publication has a clear editorial bias. In the September 5, 2003 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Ms. Boehmer-Christiansen is quoted as describing the editorial policy of Energy & Environment in this way: “I’m following my political agenda – a bit, anyway.
pdf here

Anyway, you get the gist. National Energy Council folks, much less the fucking president of the council, are addressing climate change from a fake angle. Their literary approaching peer-reviewed and replicated tests that prove that co2 emissions and other stuff detrimental to the atmopshere as skeptics instead of the other way around. And you can see this one coming… oh yes you can… oh yeah it’s coming… yes it is…

if you want to write a Letter to Barton or other members of the U.S. Energy Council… you can click here
oh yeah… electronic democracy. We really need some type of application that just automatically fills these things out for us. So much to protest… so little time.

To make things even better the U.S. Comitte on energy’s website’s comment form doesn’t work. I tried sending a letter directly to Joe Barton, but apparently you have to be from Texas to contact him.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Doug L  |  August 2, 2005 at 1:58 pm

    There is another side to this story:

    The untold story of the Global Warming Fiasco:

    “Barton Investigation Uncovers
    Key Puzzle Piece In
    Global Warming Mystery

    (July 24 2005)

    Howling yelps of protest are yipping: “Inquisition?! “Intimidation?!, and “Witch Hunt?! after the sending of some letters by Rep. Joe Barton Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to key figures in the Global Warming Mystery.

    Concealed by the volume and hysteria of the biteless bark of protests by promoters of Global Warming Alarmism, was a quiet voice of caution displayed by key figures in the investigation and their most prominent supporters. Carefully hidden in their subdued message was a reluctance to support what once was a major pillar of Global Warming Theory, the claim that

    “It is likely that the rate and duration of the warming of the 20th century is larger than any other time during the last 1,000 years”. ”

    continues===> http://www.geocities.com/poncedeleon_1/ClimateChange/Rsquared.htm

    Not mentioned in the link, is that the House Science committee has been caught flat footed on this, so their response is to attack Joe Barton!

    Also not mentioned much is the idea that Republicans are likely to be eager to give at least lip service to human caused global warming so that more nuclear power plants can be built. Those can provide the kind of jobs that will not be shipped overseas.

    Also not generally understood is that this is not about AGW vs no AGW, it’s mainly about credibility.

  • 2. ALJ  |  August 3, 2005 at 6:20 pm

    credibility is what Michael Mann discusses in his letter to Barton and I thought was the theme of this post at least. Mann defends the credibility of his work while pointing out the wholes in the McIntrye McMurtry papers. I don’t understand the fiacso with Barton “threatening” scientests when it just seems like a letter though.



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