Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cap and Trade bill is based on new CCSP Report that reverses what sources say

The US Congress's big rush to pass Cap and Trade legislation HR 2454 this week is based on a foundation of sand. Roger Peilke, Jr. shows how one of the foundation reports from Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) misuses research including his own, even to the point of reversing what he found. Roger Pielke Jr.'s Blog: [quote] Imagine if an industry-funded government contractor had a hand in writing a major federal report on climate change. And imagine if that person used his position to misrepresent the science, to cite his own non-peer reviewed work, and to ignore relevant work in the peer-reviewed literature. There would be an outrage, surely . . . The Obama Administration has re-released a report (PDF) first issued in draft form by the Bush Administration last July ... Here is the relevant paragraph of the CCSP report, found on p. 105: Sentence #1:
While economic and demographic factors have no doubt contributed to observed increases in losses,346 these factors do not fully explain the upward trend in costs or numbers of events.344,347
Reference 346 is to a paper I co-authored:
Pielke, Jr., R. A., Gratz, J., Landsea, C. W., Collins, D., Saunders, M., and Musulin, R., 2008. Normalized Hurricane Damages in the United States: 1900-2005. Natural Hazards Review, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp. 29-42. (PDF)
In that paper we did indeed conclude that economic and demographic factors have contributed to losses related to hurricanes. In fact, we concluded that these factors accounted for all of the increase in hurricane losses over the period of record:
The lack of trend in twentieth century normalized hurricane losses is consistent with what one would expect to find given the lack of trends in hurricane frequency or intensity at landfall.
The CCSP report however, says the opposite, that these factors do not explain the upward trend in costs or numbers of events. To support this claim they provide two citations. Lets consider each in turn, first #344:
Mills, E., 2005: Insurance in a climate of change. Science, 309(5737), 1040-1044.
If you go to Mills, and I have, you will find that it is a commentary that does not offer any new research. ... But more problematically, why is a report characterized by Science Advisor John Holdren as being the "most up-to-date, authoritative, and comprehensive" analysis relying on a secondary, non-peer source citing another non-peer reviewed source from 2000 to support a claim that a large amount of uncited and more recent peer reviewed literature says the opposite about? [end quote] Via TierneyLab at New York Times

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