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House and Senate committee hearings

Filed under: — group @ 30 January 2007

There are two hearings today from the new congress that are of relevance for RealClimate readers:

The House Oversight Committee is having hearings on the possible suppression of climate change science by the administration (streaming from here). Witnesses include Drew Shindell (NASA GISS), Roger Pielke Jr. and R. Piltz. Update: Full hearing video available at C-SPAN.

The Senate EPW Committee is having an open forum for senators to discuss climate change legislation (streaming from here).

148 Responses to “House and Senate committee hearings”

  1. 51

    Ray- You level a very serious charge about my testimony suggesting that I engage in “general obfuscation”? Please do explain. Thanks.

  2. 52
    Sashka says:

    Re: 50

    The topic is the influence of AGW on hurricanes intensity. If you read Judith’ comment that I replied to then you’d see it. How about reading the thread before commenting next time?

  3. 53
    lars says:

    Harper’s letter dismisses Kyoto as ‘socialist scheme’
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper once called the Kyoto accord a “socialist scheme” designed to suck money out of rich countries, according to a letter leaked Tuesday by the Liberals.

  4. 54
    Charles Muller says:

    re29 : John: “However the disagreement seems to be over whether or not the signal (strengthening of individual hurricanes in the NATL basin) is detectable and if so, what is the magnitude of that signal. Tropical Cyclone theory is clear on this; warmer SST’s lead to stronger (not more) hurricanes.”

    Is it so clear? I use to think the key parameter in Potential Intensity theory (Emanuel) is rather surface-tropopause outflow, not just SST. So, we should also consider evolution of lapse rate in a warming world, I guess.

  5. 55
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    Great news. There’s absolutely no consensus on whether the global average temp will rise 2.8358 degrees C or 2.8359 degrees C by 2068, ergo AGW is not happening! :)

  6. 56
    Sashka says:

    There is an interesting article in today’s Times

    “Once a Dream Fuel, Palm Oil May Be an Eco-Nightmare “

    In short, Indonesia and Malaysia, responding to the European biofuel subsides started celaring large areas to produces palm oil. For that, they dry and burn peatlands. Now a quote:

    To makes matters worse, once dried, peatland is often burned to clear ground for plantations. The Dutch study estimated that the draining of peatland in Indonesia releases 660 million ton of carbon a year into the atmosphere and that fires contributed 1.5 billion tons annually. The total is equivalent to 8 percent of all global emissions caused annually by burning fossil fuels, the researchers said. â??These emissions generated by peat drainage in Indonesia were not counted before,â?? … â??It was a totally ignored problem.â??

    While some well-intentioned people take their battle to reduce car emissions by a few percent to Supreme court, other well-intentioned people subsidize the pollution of mammoth proportions (more than all American cars together, if I’m not mistaken).

    Will there be any lessons learned? Afraid not.

  7. 57
    Sashka says:

    Re: 55

    I’m sure RP is as much hurt by your sarcasm as I am. To wit, there is no consensus on whether the global average temp will rise 1.5 C or 4.5 C.

    [Response: Actually there is. The consensus value for the climate sensitivity is close to 3 deg C. There is of course some acknowledged uncertainty either way, but no estimation method gives a central value significantly different from this. -gavin]

  8. 58
    Ike Solem says:


    Roger, would you care to take a stab at my question:

    “The question (still standing) is “With respect to the fact that the warmest years since accurate records began have all been in the last decade, does this represent an anomalous spike in the natural climate variability, or are we looking at a generally increasing temperature trend that is due to the increased concentration of atmospheric CO2 brought on by buring fossil fuels? (A generally increasing temperature trend would be expected to set a systematic trend of new temperature records, wouldn’t it?)”

    I know you are a political scientist, but as you said in your testimony, there is cross-over between fields, and you did say you’d be happy to spend hours discussing hurricane science – and I’m not asking for a specific temperature prediction, so how about it?

    Also, what’s your opinion on NOAA’s use of the 1971-2000 time period for the baseline calulations of global temperature anomalies? Is that political maniupulation, cherry-picking, or what?

  9. 59
    Sashka says:

    Re: 57

    Please tell me if I’m splitting hair but there is a world of difference between consensus about a certain quantity and consensus about expected value of the same.

  10. 60
    Hank Roberts says:

    My favorite “liberal to libertarian” weblog authors chime in on the new Bush political filtration system for agency science:

  11. 61
    SecularAnimist says:

    I heard a portion of Drew Shindell’s testimony and the followup exchange between Rep. Waxman and Mr. Shindell on the Pacifica Radio program Democracy Now this morning. I have to say, that although I was already aware from earlier news reports that the White House had censored the statements of climate scientists from NASA, EPA, NOAA, etc, that I was quite shocked by the testimony.

    Rep. Waxman pointed out that scientists’ statements regarding climate change were “edited” — actually, drastically altered, in some cases to reverse the clear intent of the original — by Philip Cooney, chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

    Philip Cooney is not a scientist, but a lawyer, who prior to his appointment to the CEQ was a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute.

    It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the Presidency of the United States of America has been functioning as just one more element of the now well documented, multi-million dollar climate-change-denial conspiracy funded by Exxon-Mobil, the API, etc.

  12. 62

    Ike- I am reading along here (waiting for Ray’s response;-), but I really have no idea what you are asking about! Perhaps best raised on our blog so as not to clutter up RC off topic, but I am happy to discuss here or there. Thanks.

  13. 63
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    I’m sorry, Sashka. That was very mean of me (re #55). And the reason I didn’t address it to anyone in particular (I hadn’t even thought of RP), is because I also had in mind I study I read some 15 years ago by a social scientist, a survey of scientists, what they thought (gut feeling) would happen re GW. Of course, esp then, the answers were all over the chart, & I think the survey included some strong skeptics, so some reported a near-zero change, while a few were nearly off the chart on the high end. And the article went on to give the impression that because of this lack of consensus GW was not a problem.

    I felt there was something faulty about that logic. For instance, what if no one were actually studying GW at all, so there was no record of mounting evidence, no models, no calculations. Would that mean there was no GW problem with worse to come in the future? And there is still the theory & logic behind GW science that made me think (even without post-1995 better evidence & model-based certainty) I’ve got to do what I can to mitigate this. And I’ve been continually amazed that the vast majority of others have not felt the same way.

    If the president then (Bush Sr or Clinton after him) had said, “This is potentially a very serious problem, and I’m going to see to it that the gov as a precaution helps households and businesses to reduce their GHGs in ways that don’t lower productivity or living standards, but even allows for econ growth,” I can’t see who would be against that, except maybe the fossil fuel industries — and even they should have realized this isn’t going to happen over night, it would take years, decades, & they would have plenty of time to diversify. I know that big oil funded Clinton’s campaign as much as Bush Sr’s campaign, but even so the way history has unfolded (with increasing U.S. GHG emissions) seems utterly crazy and stupid to me. It doesn’t make economic sense; why would people burn money (staying inefficiently well within the production possibilities frontier) rather than save or reinvest it. And when you throw in the prospect of possible GW harms, it doesn’t make moral sense and it doesn’t make selfish self-preservation (or child-preservation) sense. It’s incomprehensible. (Actually, there were some good gov programs not well known or promoted, like Green Lights; Jewel Supermarket chain in the Chicagoland area took part; the gov gave them a low-interest loan to replace their 2-tube light fixtures with 1-tube in a reflector & electronic ballast (giving them the same lumens), which they paid off in one year, then went on to save $1 million per year, but Green Lights was phased out by Clinton or Bush Jr).

    I also agree (re the palm oil – peat fiasco) that we need a holistic approach to the greatest extent possible when implementing “improvements.” I, for one, have been fairly skeptical about biofuels from the get-go, except maybe the use of agri wastes, like turning manure into gas, with the remainder being a better fertilizer than direct application of manure as fertilizer — so 2 goods from what is currently a local health hazard (mountains of manure not used for fertilizer or fuel) in many parts of the U.S. And then there’s the question of food (for the poor) v. fuel (for rich hot-rods & Hummers). For instance, I often promote electric vehicles, but in the back of my mind I’m also thinking about lead acid battery manufacturing, recycling, and disposal, & the harm entailed there; as well as harms from other aspects of EVs & other batteries.

  14. 64
    Thom says:

    Re: Pielke Jr. #62, #51

    I’m sure that if Ray is smart, he’ll avoid any wrassln’ matches with a tar baby.

  15. 65
    Ike Solem says:

    Sorrry Roger, I must not have phrased that very clearly. Let me try again:

    Given that global temperatures continue to set new records every few years, do you think this trend is set to continue? Perhaps an easier question would be, how long do you expect the running 5-year temperature averages to show a continually increasing trend? In other words, do you think we are looking at a ‘natural fluctuation’ or a long-term warming trend set to continue until atmospheric CO2 (and other infrared-absorbing gas) levels are stabilized?

    This question is more directly related to your area of expertise:

    As far as the NOAA issue goes, the use of a baseline to calculate temperatue anomalies relates to the issue of what is meant by ‘anomaly’. Now, in 2000 NOAA decided to start using the time period 1971-2000 as the baseline for calculating their anomalies, in contrast to the widely accepted use of the 1961-1990 time period for their baseline.

    The differences in the two anomalies are fairly dramatic; see for example

    using NOAA’s 1971-2000 baseline, summer 2006:

    Using the 1961-1990 baseline: summer 2006

    Also, NOAA uses the 1971-2000 baseline for their 2005 Arctic Climate Report, but does not explicitly discuss this. Obvious, this gives a perception that warming in the Arctic is less severe then it actually is.

    When the word ‘anomaly’ is used in public discourse, it is taken to mean ‘deviations from normal behavior’. So, does this issue represent ‘cherry-picking’ or deliberate manipulation of scientific data for political purposes, in your expert opinion?

  16. 66
    Sashka says:

    Re: 63

    I suggest that you consider how the electricity for your favorite electric vehicle would be generated. By burning what?

  17. 67
    Hank Roberts says:

    If we’re talking politics, I recommend David Brin’s “Adopt an Ostrich” program

    “… there is little more than can be achieved simply by hoping that our fellow citizens will heed all the bad news. The one-third that is left has their ears covered. Their eyes are closed while they shake their heads going ‘Nah! Nah! Nah!’

    “(Recent science shows that doing this is physically chemically addictive. And yes, liberals do it too.)

    “No, if we are to reach the tipping point, it will have to be down, way down, at the level of individual citizenship. Each of us can — and must — hammer at just one or two ostriches, until they wake up from hysterical denial….”

  18. 68
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    Well, mine would be from 100% wind-generated electricity (which is my electricity source), but even if coal or oil is the source, EVs get much higher mile per CO2 or pollution emissions than I.C.E. cars (& it’s easier to control emissions from one source than thousands of sources), and they are much cheaper to maintain & run (a fraction of the gasoline costs for I.C.E. cars per mile). Their only drawbacks are range per charge & charge time; I think they’re up to 100 to 300 miles per charge, & 20 minutes (for an 80% charge) to 4 hours, depending on amount of batteries used & type (new lithium ion batteries being the best, but very expensive).

    For most families with more than one car, they could have one I.C.E. for longer trips, and an economical lead-acid battery EV for daily commuting.

    I’d always blamed big oil for the phase-out of EVs in California (& they are partly to blame), but when I saw WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? I realized that a large part of the problem (aside from lack of promotion), was that the secondary business of auto industries — service & maintenance — would go nearly bust (to the benefit of consumers, but the detriment of the auto industry).

    Now I can’t wait for PHEVs – plug-in hybrid EVs – which should be out hopefully in 5 years.

  19. 69
  20. 70
    SecularAnimist says:

    Lynn Vincentnathan wrote: “For instance, I often promote electric vehicles, but in the back of my mind I’m also thinking about lead acid battery manufacturing, recycling, and disposal, & the harm entailed there; as well as harms from other aspects of EVs & other batteries.”

    Lead-acid batteries for electric vehicles are obsolete. The current standard for electric vehicle batteries is nickel metal hydride (NiMH) which is what is used in the Toyota Prius hybrid. Next generation batteries include Lithium Phosphate Iron which are more efficient and have greater energy density than NiMH batteries.

    All hazardous substances contained in batteries must of course be recycled safely. At least they are not dispersed into the air when the vehicle is driven.

    Sashka wrote: “I suggest that you consider how the electricity for your favorite electric vehicle would be generated. By burning what?”

    The electricity would be generated by grid-connected wind turbine farms, or distributed rooftop photovoltaics, or photovoltaic panels installed on the vehicle itself, or in the case of a pluggable-hybrid electric vehicle, by an on-board generator fueled by ethanol or biodiesel.

    The batteries in pure-electric or pluggable hybrid-electric vehicles can also address one of the concerns raised about widespread use of variable sources of electricity such as wind and PV. The batteries in these vehicles can charge from wind power through your grid connection (i.e. wall socket) or from your rooftop PV system when it is generating electricity from the sun, and then feed it back into your house at night.

    By the way, the Wikipedia article on electric cars is very good.

  21. 71
    Sashka says:

    Re: 44

    Ray, if you read my comments to the thread on Emanuel’s popular article you’d know that I have highest respect for him. It doesn’t follow that he is always right, though.

    R. Pielke in #24 cites the statement from the WMO endorsed by the AMS. Let me assume for the moment that there is a considerable intellectual firepower behind those little acronims, too. (Yes, I know what they are.) But feel free to inform me to the contrary. The pertinent quotes are:

    This is still hotly debated area for which we can provide no definitive conclusion.

    … no consensus has been reached on this issue

    I don’t think I am confusing unanimity with consensus. There seems to be nothing close to consensus by any standard.

  22. 72
    Pat Neuman says:

    Since nearly half of NOAA’s 11,400 staff are National Weather Service meteorologists and hydrologists who have responsibility to the public in Weather, Water and Climate prediction outreach and education I think NWS needs to be discussed at these hearings and here at realclimate.

    The article at the link which follows can be viewed by clicking just to the right of the piliated woodpecker from Chanhassen, Minnesota.

    Hydrologic science on climate change thrown out by NWS managers

  23. 73
    Rod B. says:

    re Readers #21 which said, in part: … When confronted with inconvenient facts, the authoritarian will start by smearing the source, distorting the facts, and issuing unsupported statements of denials. When the argument is lost, the authoritarian will say “well, the other side does it too.”… The enemies of science are authoritarians and their patterns of thinking and argumentation are non-scientific, but predictable.

    There is no indication which group is being referenced. One can’t tell, either, since the above applies to both the AGW proponents and the skeptics, and to both the Demos and the Repubs (though certainly not universally).

  24. 74
    Sashka says:

    Re: 69

    Google doesn’t discriminate based on the quality of content. Here’s the reality:

    Testing a diesel Jetta and hybrid Prius on a drive between Detroit and Washington seemed a natural. Volkswagen and Toyota each said I should be able to make the 500-mile-plus one-way trip on one tank of gas. Prius is comfortable, a festival of technology and unquestionably cleaner-burning than the VW can be today with only high-sulfur diesel fuel available. But the real-world mileage of pleasant-driving Jetta was better than that of Prius, and diesel fuel typically was 16% to 20% cheaper than unleaded gas. Jetta lived up to its one-tank billing. Prius did not.

    So, diesel engine is more economical per gallon than hybrid but (this particular one) is dirtier on sulphur. Other diesel engines, however, can burn a biofuel (which need not be produced the Indonesian way), so net-net I don’t see the balance tipping towards electric cars.

  25. 75
    Sashka says:

    Re: 70

    The problems with PV and wind generation are well known and well documented. There is no need to generate extra noise here. May Google help you in your search.

  26. 76
    coby says:

    re #71 – Sashka,

    The key to the little dispute here is in “area” and “this issue”. Are those quotes about the theoretical link between GW and increased hurricane intensity or about the detection of this phenomenon in current and historical observations.

    AFAICT, nobody disputes that it is contested that this effect has been detected but no one disputes that it should be eventually.

  27. 77
    Eli Rabett says:

    Strikes me that Steve Bloom nailed the WMO statement pretty well on Prometheus:

    “It was an exercise in statementism, pure and simple. Just as with last year’s statement, it’s simply an agreement that people shouldn’t yell at each other in public until after the next round of papers and in particular up through the release of the AR4 WG1 report”

    But since AR4 will be from last year’s science, I don’t think it will move things forward very much.

  28. 78
    rasmus says:

    Why does Roger Pielke Jr keep repeating “in a micro-cosmos”? What exactly does he mean by that?

  29. 79
    Charles Muller says:

    #57, Gavin’s comment : “Actually there is. The consensus value for the climate sensitivity is close to 3 deg C. There is of course some acknowledged uncertainty either way, but no estimation method gives a central value significantly different from this.”

    Hum, this consensus value is still a conundrum for me, even after several readings of the Second Draft. If all GCMs are equiprobable, and we should expect they are, 2 or 4,5 K or any value in this interval are equiprobable too. On the other side, ensemble simulations (like Murphy 2004) are often tested on one model among 19 others (Hadley in this case), so I don’t understand how to expect the mean value reflects other thing that the mean sensitivity of this model in particular.

  30. 80
    Judith Curry says:

    Re #47 and the hurricane intensity issue:

    In the presence of a 0.5C warming (which we’ve seen since 1970) we have three
    factors that point to an increase in intensity. For simplicity, lets just look
    at average wind speed.
    – high resolution climate models (Oouchi 2006, Knutsen and Tuleya 2004) indicate a 2%
    increase in intensity for a 0.5C temp increase
    – potential intensity theory indicates for a 0.5C increase at 2.5% increase in intensity (Emanuel) to a 5.3% increase (Holland) (note: these numbers were scaled from the analyses of Knutsen and Tuleya, 2004)
    – global observations from Webster et al. give a 6% intensity increase

    This translates into a factor of 2-3, not a factor of 5-8. You can only get a factor of 5-8 if you use the results from low resolution climate model simulations, which have no credibility for tropical cyclone intensity.

    All of our knowledge of hurricane intensity suggests that we should have an increase in average intensity for a 0.5C increase in tropical SST. Models, theory and observations agree on the sign of the increase; there is a factor of 3 disagreement in the magnitude of the intensity increase. I would argue that the climate model estimate is probably too low and provides a credible lower bound (i.e. the actual intensity increase is unlikely to be lower than 2%) and I am prepared to accept that the observations used by Webster, Emanuel provide values that may be too high (i.e. the actual intensity increase in unlikely to be higher than 6%). So we have credible bounds on the intensity increase: 2-6%. It would be fairly astonishing for the actual increase in average intensity to be zero with this SST increase.

    The significance of Emanuel and Webster papers was associated with the change in
    distribution of intensities to give increased frequency of the most intense storms (explictly through NCAT45 and implicitly through PDI that gives heavy weight to the more intense storms). A 6% increase in average intensity will translate into a much greater increase in the frequency of the most intense storms unless the intensity distribution actually narrows with increasing SST (which doesn’t seem to be the case since we have been setting intensity records in recent years). the same shape distribution shifted towards higher values will give a >6% increase in intensity; if the distribution broadens then the increase of the more intense storms could be substantially greater than 6% increase. The observational challenges at the higher end of the intensity spectrum may be greater than those associated with average intensity. But we are arguing that this is the most important part of the intensity distribution to be considering in the context of climate change.

    Observational studies looking at too short of a period to be associated with a significant SST increase are not useful in saying anything about the trend. The various reanalyses of tropical cyclone intensity are of use in starting to put some error bars on the intensity estimates. We are very far from a definitive reanalysis that has been carefully scrutinized and accepted by the tropical cyclone and climate communities.

    There IS a consensus that average hurricane intensity will increase with average increasing SST (and hence global warming). There is no consensus on the magnitude of intensity increase. Pielke’s statement on lack of consensus leads the reader to believe that some scientists believe there is no increase of hurricane intensity with increasing SST/AGW, or perhaps even a decrease. This is misleading and a misrepresentation of the consensus statement.

  31. 81
    Hank Roberts says:

    Comparing a hybrid with a standard engine over a long highway drive? Well, the hybrid has no advantage whatsoever in highway cruising, and it’s certainly not designed to excel in that use. Compare then in typical start and stop city/commute driving to detect whatever benefit the car derives from the electrical side of the system.

    The primary source of the small particles (PM 2.5) is sulfur. We ought to be seeing low-sulfur diesel fast, now that it’s becoming clear the fine particles correlate with heart attacks.
    Note, though, the attempt to control that problem has been stalled for years now by political appointees. It’s the lifetime exposure, not the peak in 24 hour exposure, that matters for health.

  32. 82
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    Good Hank & SA (#69 & 70), with that & with all the other solutions, we’ve solved GW on paper. All we need to do is implement these on a massive scale ASAP. Hope those congresspersons, senators, business people (I’ve often thought GE could get involved in EV manufacture, since the car companies don’t want to), & journalists are reading these solutions. Let’s make global warming a moot point & satisfy the skeptics: Global warming? No such thing :)

  33. 83
    Jim Crabtree says:

    #74: Sashka:

    The mpg for a Prius will vary on how you drive it. We own a Prius and the lowest gas mileage we have gotten is 48 mpg and the highest is 64 (mpg was calculated when we filled it rather than using the car’s computer). It started getting its best gas mileage after we passed 8,000 miles. My wife (the primary driver) and I are very conservative drivers. The best gas mileage of 64 mpg was achieved on driving the 350 mile round trip to Charleston, SC using back roads (not the interstate) through rural areas where we drove at 55 – 60 mph outside of the towns along the way. I jumped all over Consumer Reports wanting to know what they were doing to get such poor gas mileage on the Prius when they reviewed it. A friend who also owns a Prius gets much lower gas mileage on the interstate when he drives at 70+ than when he drives the back roads. So I have learned to question a lot of the these test drivers and the low gas mileage they get (sometimes I wonder if they are trying to see how bad of gas mileage they can get). We are extremely pleased with it.


  34. 84
    Eli Rabett says:

    Charles, there are other places besides models where you can get climate sensitivity, for example the effect of volcanic eruptions. Moreover, even the models alone give you probability density functions so you can narrow the range. Put it all together and you get a pretty peaked pdf with the most probable value at 3C. The probability of 2 or 5 C is much less (it is a pdf:) Right now the argument is about the probability of the high temperature wings of the distribution. There is essentially no probability of being < 2C.

  35. 85
    Charles Muller says:

    #84 Eli

    Yes, there are many ways to get a best estimate of climate sensitivity and, de facto, there are many climate sensititivy ranges in the literature. My problem deals more particularly with the 3 K best estimate of AR4.

    Alas, pdf is not really satisfying for my question. Each model commonly uses it to bring out its best estimates, so I’m leaved with the same problem. Best estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity is 2,1 K for INM-CM3.0, 2,7 K for CCSM3, 3,4 K for ECHAM5-MPI-OM, 4,4 K for UKMO-HadGEM1… Is there any reason to believe one model (and its pdfs) is better than another?

    Pinatubo tests I read in the litterature by Soden, Douglass-Knox, Wigley or others are still less comprehensible. How can a transient response to a tropo+stratospheric, short (months), not-so-well-mixed, SW forcing, monitored in a noisy short-term period, be of any use to constrain an equilibrium response to a tropospheric, long (centuries), well-mixed, LW forcing? That’s a mystery for me.

  36. 86
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE #79 & central value close to 3, I’m sort of envisioning a bell curve with 3 the high point (most likely) & the 2 extremes of 1.5 & 4.5 as being at the tails, the 95 or 99% prob interval, with less than 5% or 1% prob being values more extreme on either side. Maybe that’s wrong.

    Re Sashka (#74, 75), we need to compare apples with apples, and a hybrid (non-plug-in) is not comparable to an EV — which is why I won’t buy one, until the PHEVs come out, tho I’ve been living close to work & stores & church for over 30 years (another way to cut down on GHG emissions), after I learned about entropy during the 70s enegery crunch. And I knew a bunch of guys into EV conversion up in Illinois, so they have direct experience re claims that EVs are great. I even took one for a drive. It was fine & it was just a ’74 Corolla converted to electric, running on lead acid batteries, though its range was only 40 miles (without all the advanced tech stuff, like regenerative breaking), but that was plenty for the woman who owned it & never drove more than 25 miles per day. I think it even had a little heater for winter, but no AC. And you’re just simple wrong about wind; and I’ve read PVs are getting much more efficient & cost-competitive. What will they think of next, as long as people encourage such entrepreneurship rather than stiffle it.

  37. 87
    James says:

    Re #74 & 81: Of course that diesel vs hybrid comparison is rather biased, since they chose a hybrid that’s far from the most efficient of its kind. The Honda Insight leaves the Prius in the dust. I’ve owned mine almost 4 years now, with a lifetime average 70.2 mpg – and that’s driving the way I drive, which is not conservatively :-)

    It’s not really a matter of hybrid versus diesel, since it would be dead easy for a manufacturer to swap in a diesel engine instead of a gas one. Indeed, in many ways it’s a better match, since the high torque of the electric assist would compensate for diesel’s notoriously slow acceleration.

    Going beyond that, given the batteries for a good plug-in hybrid, one could replace the IC engine with a more efficent gas turbine, or even a Sterling engine. In automobiles, as in pretty near everything else, there’s a LOT of room for efficiency improvements, even using technology that’s known and fairly easy to bring to market. All that’s needed is some incentive for doing so.

    (Just doing my bit towards getting the thread off-topic :-))

  38. 88
    Mark A. York says:

    Tonight on Larry King Sen. Boxer called Sen. Inhofe a member of the Flat Earth Society. He claimed to be a former believer based on the media hype and cited 17000 scientists opposed to the concept of AGW now. Bizarre.

  39. 89
    Mark A. York says:

    The only reason NOAA won’t properly attibute AGW SST’s and hurrican intensity is because they aren’t allowed to. Guess who’s pulling those strings? I mean is Landsea’s dilution attribiton thesis valid in any scientific circle? Let’s just call them all tempests in a teacup and call it a day. That isn’t science in my view as a paltry biologist and journalist.

  40. 90

    #44 Ray- You should really engage the science before commenting. If you had you would know that both Emanuel and Holland both co-wrote the WMO statement which asserted that the science continues with legitimate debate. Clearly they cannot disagree with the statement if if they co-authored it. The need among some for asserting absolute certainty on this issue baffles me.

    #65 Ike- Thanks for the clarification . . . the choice of base period for looking at anomalies makes no scientific difference, which may be what you are getting at. It does as you suggest convey a perceptual difference when the graphs are displayed. So were I a political strategist I’d suggest using an older period to emphasize trends and a newer period to downplay them. Such a decision necessarily must be made on nonscientific factors. There is no purely scientific answer to the question of what baseline to use.

    #80 Judy- At the hearing I clearly distinguished looking to the future versus looking at the past. The committee memo only discusses the past, hence my focus there. Keep trying though;-)

  41. 91
    David Graves says:

    Since I like single-malt scotch, will take Bill Nye’s side re: Richard Lindzen’s bet on the resolution of ice cores. (This occurred at the end of the Larry King climate change discussion.) Plus or minus 2000 years? Can somebody (perhaps someone who works in Columbus, Ohio) enlighten me as to what Dr. Lindzen was referring to?

  42. 92
    BarbieDoll Moment says:

    RE: 89

    Landsea and the name “Pielke” go hand and hand.

    Faced with uncertaintity, mental speculation arises which
    is a foundational biased rationale system that is based upon an individual’s personal beliefs versus a logic and rational conclusion being derived from the means of actual concrete data obtained via objective means; resulting in a subjective inherent thinking process that gives birth to and defines the substance of the bias.

    And we have bias without the accounting of mental speculation in research; example: conforming data to certain parameters
    to fit within a vague realm that would confirm the researchers idea about an idea…..

    “Subject: G3) What may happen with tropical cyclone activity due to global warming?”

    Contributed by Chris Landsea

    …”In summary:

    * Modeling and theoretical studies suggest hurricanes will have no major changes in WHERE they form or occur.

    * Preliminary analyses hint that globally only small to no change in the NUMBER of hurricanes may occur and that regionally there may be areas that have small increases or small decreases in frequency (on order of +/- 10%).

    * The PEAK and AVERAGE INTENSITY of tropical cyclones may increase by about 5% in wind speeds.

    * Storm total RAINFALL may also increase on the order of about 5% more precipication.

    These are hypothesized changes that may occur around the end of the 21st Century, when a doubling in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may be observed. Changes seen today are likely to be on the order of a 1% alteration in frequency, intensity and rainfall in hurricanes – not even measurable by today’s observational techniques.

    Overall, these man-made alterations are quite tiny compared to the observed large natural hurricane variability. The Atlantic basin activity has cycles with about 3.5 major hurricanes a year in active periods and about 1.5 majors annually in quiet periods, with each lasting 25-40 years. Moreover, as Knutson and Tuleya stated in their 2004 Journal of Climate article:

    “CO2-induced tropical cyclone intensity changes are unlikely to be detectable in historical observations and will probably not be detectable for decades to come.”
    However, more study is needed to better understand the complex interaction between these storms and the tropical atmosphere/ocean as well as to extend our knowledge of hurricane climate variations back in time as much as possible with both historical reconstructions and paleotempestology methods.

    (Much of this writeup is from Pielke et al. 2005.) “…

  43. 93
    rod franco says:

    hybrid vs diesel- here in europe diesel is very widely used since we have much higher fuel costs than the US and diesel engines are aproximatly twice as fuel efficient than an eqivalent petrol engined vehicle. The performance you get from modern diesel engines is easily comparable to a petrol engine, and you get to cut your MPG by a load.
    I drive a ’97 landrover Discovery 2.5L Tdi, i run my own buisiness and have 3 children, i need a truly all purpose vehichle, i could never afford to run the V8 petrol with around 15-18mpg but at around 34mpg (i also find the huge torque at almost no Rpm much more useful than high reving Bhp’s), its no prius, but its on a par with many smaller petrol engined family saloons (in fact, the LR Freelander Td4 has lower emissions and Mpg than a 1.6L Mini-Cooper!)
    So, finaly i get to the point, why dont hybrids use diesel engines?
    Oh, btw low sulphur diesel is also widely available here in the UK at least and probably across europe so thats less of an issue.

    On the subject of WH interferance in science, how much ground has been lost in dealing with AGW because of the muddied waters?

  44. 94

    [[The problems with PV and wind generation are well known and well documented. There is no need to generate extra noise here. May Google help you in your search. ]]

    Of course there are problems with PV and wind. Are they the same order of magnitude as problems with coal and nuclear? No, they’re not. So quit with the red herrings. “All sources of energy pollute” is a meaningless statement if you don’t quantify how much they pollute.

  45. 95
    Ike Solem says:

    You say, “the choice of base period for looking at anomalies makes no scientific difference” and also that “There is no purely scientific answer to the question of what baseline to use.”

    Let’s consider the difference between an anomaly measure and a temperature measure, for starters. Temperature is raw data, and if people had been deliberately tampering with weather station output then that would clearly be scientific fraud. However, there are many scientific measurements that depend on analysis of raw data. Rule number one is that this be done consistently, so that different scientists can make sure they are comparing the same thing, particularly when they are reporting the results of the analysis, and not the raw data.

    If you look at the cover of the most recent NOAA “State of the Arctic” Report at you will see that the temperature anomaly graph is right on the front cover of the report. Figure 1 of the report is an topographic map of Arctic anomalies – so the report clearly treats anomalies as data – but you are saying that it makes no difference what baseline one chooses!

    Figure one uses a 1968-1996 baseline. However, the image on the front cover uses the 1971-2000 baseline – they aren’t even consistent within the same report! Figure 6 also uses the “CRU TEM2V data set”, and if you dig through NOAA’s website you find that that is also the 1971-2000 baseline.

    Now, if we see a ‘negative anomaly’ we’d expect that to mean cooling – but a negative anomaly with a high baseline can actually indicate warming – and the report clearly glosses over this.

    In FACT, the report assigns the words “cool” and “warm” to these anomaly calculations in the summary:
    “For instance, the pattern of near-surface temperature anomalies for 2000â��2005 has been distinctly different from the patterns that characterized the second half of the twentieth century, exhibiting positive (warm) anomalies over the entire Arctic region. Observations from the early spring of 2006 show a pattern more consistent with the two patterns that dominated the twentieth century, with well-defined regions of warm and cool anomalies.”

    Again, with a high baseline, a cool anomaly can actually be a warmer temperature then the historical average. What NOAA implicitly assumes by using the 1971-2000 instead of the generally used 1961-1990 period as a ‘baseline’ is that there was no warming trend between 1990 and 2000 – and that is clearly a false assumption.

    Nowhere does the paper use actual temperature trends; instead they rely on these anomalies. This is obviously an attempt to manipulate the data analysis steps to produce lower anomalies; not only that, but it prevents comparison of anomalies with researchers around the world who are using the 1961-1990 period as a baseline. Any honest scientist would want standardized baselines for ease of comparison.

    Thus, the choice of baseline obviously makes a scientific difference, particularly when anomalies are being presented as data, as is the case in the NOAA “State of the Arctic” report. This is a very basic point. The question then is, who exactly decided to use the 1971-2000 baseline instead of the 1961-1990 baseline, and what was the rationale behind that decision?

    You also don’t seem to want to answer the first question about temperature trends – why not? (see comment #65)

  46. 96

    [[Hum, this consensus value is still a conundrum for me, even after several readings of the Second Draft. If all GCMs are equiprobable, and we should expect they are, 2 or 4,5 K or any value in this interval are equiprobable too. On the other side, ensemble simulations (like Murphy 2004) are often tested on one model among 19 others (Hadley in this case), so I don’t understand how to expect the mean value reflects other thing that the mean sensitivity of this model in particular. ]]

    Do a Google search on “normal distribution.” No one ever said all the model results were “equiprobable.” Even if they were, the fact that there are more of them closer to 3 degrees means the predictions graph out as a normal curve, not a flat rectangle.

  47. 97
    mz says:

    Are there any graphs available which depict the probability density of climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling. From many models and runs with different assumptions and data variations. I imagine that it could resemble a normal distribution, with mean at 3 degrees celsius, and, what, 95% of the mass between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees? But I’m not sure.
    It would be most useful to have this picture as it explicitly communicates the uncertainties. Thanks!

  48. 98
    Sashka says:

    Re: 96

    Please elaborate what if anything normal distribution has to do with it. Are you implying that any distribution that is not uniform is normal?

  49. 99
    Pat Neuman says:

    Dear Roger Pielke Jr,

    Our e-mail communications go back to just after the 1997 record flood at Grand Forks, North Dakota, as you may remember.

    Regarding communication that we were not able to have concerning your visit and lecture (Global Warming: YES or NO?) in Oct., 2000, I was not able to attend your lecture because I could not find a replacement for me in working an operational shift that day at the National Weather Service (NWS) North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC) in Chanhassen.

    However, I was aware of your lecture being held by a posting made by the Hydrologist in Charge (HIC) of NCRFC which was in the lunchroom at the co-located NWS NCRFC and NWS Weather Forecast office bulletin board at the NOAA building in Chanhassen.

    I saved the posting text and I just forwarded it to Climate Archive,

    The posting shows:

    “The Kuehnast Lecture Series will be held on Friday October 6, 2000 … at St Paul Campus, UoMN. This years’ presenter is Roger Pielke, Jr. of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. His talk: “Beyond Global Warming Yes or No” examines the assumptions of prediction and prevention that underlie the present response to climate change and suggests that they are flawed, and perhaps even leading to climate policies destined to fail. The talk suggests an alternative approach to responding to climate change, and the resulting implications for science, policy and issue advocacy. NCRFC staff are encouraged to attend this event, and if need be, up to 3 hours of comp time are authorized.

    Roger, even after reading your article (Global Warming: YES or NO?) on your website I am still unclear what you meant in your article. I also don’t know if you had any important questions or comments at your lecture and what you and those who were in attendance might have said. I am especially interested in learning about anything which may have been said at your lecture by the NCRFC HIC (my supervisor in year 2000).

    Please share any comments you may remember with us here at

    Sincerely, Pat N

    PS – I have a daughter who recently graduated from Colorado State University. I had little say in her decision to attend CSU, but I felt the pinch from the out of state tuition. I hope you and your father contributed in a positive way to her education. I think you may have had an influence but I’d rather not say much about that now.

  50. 100
    Hank Roberts says:

    > the science continues with legitimate debate. Clearly they cannot disagree with
    > the statement if if they co-authored it. The need among some for asserting
    > absolute certainty on this issue baffles me

    This persistent spinning of interpretation, in contrast to the actual words of the actual text, must be illustrating the difference between ‘political science’ and ‘science’ —- I have to assume since you were under oath that you indeed were, to your best capacity, telling “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” to the Committee. At that point I thought you were simply in a hurry and had jumped over the middle of that paragraph, losing the clarity about _what_ they agreed they knew (change is happening, basic physics) and _what_ they thought required more time (a small signal to emerge from a large background, statistics).

    You’re not under oath now, Roger, but are you still trying equally hard to tell the whole truth about this issue and nothing but? You’ve had time to focus on what you omitted.

    I’m reading the full paragraph and can’t imagine how you don’t see the point now that you missed when testifying. Surely it’s clear?