Political Climate
Apr 04, 2008
Global Temperatures ‘to Decrease’

By Roger Harrabin, BBC Environmental Correspondent

Global temperatures this year will be lower than in 2007 due to the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said. The World Meteorological Organization’s secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, told the BBC it was likely that La Nina would continue into the summer. This would mean global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory. But experts have also forecast a record high temperature within five years.

La Nina and El Nino are two great natural Pacific currents whose effects are so huge they resonate round the world. El Nino warms the planet when it happens; La Nina cools it. This year, the Pacific is in the grip of a powerful La Nina. It has contributed to torrential rains in Australia and to some of the coldest temperatures in memory in snow-bound parts of China. Mr Jarraud told the BBC that the effect was likely to continue into the summer, depressing temperatures globally by a fraction of a degree. This would mean that temperatures have not risen globally since 1998 when El Nino warmed the world.

A minority of scientists question whether this means global warming has peaked and argue the Earth has proved more resilient to greenhouse gases than predicted. But Mr Jarraud insisted this was not the case and noted that 1998 temperatures would still be well above average for the century. “When you look at climate change you should not look at any particular year,” he said. “You should look at trends over a pretty long period and the trend of temperature globally is still very much indicative of warming.” “La Nina is part of what we call ‘variability’. There has always been and there will always be cooler and warmer years, but what is important for climate change is that the trend is up.” Experts at the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre for forecasting in Exeter said the world could expect another record temperature within five years or less, probably associated with another episode of El Nino. Read more here.

Icecap Note: After originally posting this story with the above headline, the BBC changed the headline to “Global warming ‘dips this year’"perhaps after pressure from editors or others. Later in the day reverted back to original.

Apr 03, 2008
The Hijacking of the Endangered Species Act: Barrasso

By Senator John Barrasso, Wyoming

U.S. Senator John Barrasso , R-Wyo., took aim at attempts to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) during an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing. “This is a hijacking of the Endangered Species Act for political purposes,” Barrasso said. “It is not just about the polar bear.”

Some claim that global warming is leading to the demise of polar bears. If the polar bear is listed as threatened, anything thought to contribute to global warming could be shut down - even in Wyoming . “We are all concerned about protecting the environment,” Barrasso said. “If the polar bear is listed, the ESA will become a climate change law.” “The consequences of listing the polar bear as a threatened species, and linking it to climate change, would be utterly devastating. There would be no area of the economy left untouched.”

“Virtually every human activity that involves the release of carbon into the atmosphere would be regulated by the federal government. Cities could be sued for not restricting vehicles within the city limits.
An environmental group, the Center for Biodiversity has stated that “the polar bear listing could mean that all U.S. industries emitting large quantities of greenhouse gasses - and requiring a federal permit to do so - will come under the purview of the Endangered Species Act.” “When I see special interest groups using the polar bear as an excuse to shut down traditional energy sources, I am more than skeptical about their real concern for the bear,” Barrasso concluded. Bill Horn, former Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, agreed that under this proposal, Wyoming could be sued for allowing too many vehicles to travel to Jackson Hole or Yellowstone. See John’s Website and press release here.

Apr 02, 2008
IPCC Review Editors Comments Online

By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit

IPCC Review Editors have an extremely important function under IPCC procedures. In prior discussion of the Replies by WG1 Chapter Authors to Review Comments, we noted their unresponsiveness on issues that we were familiar with e.g. the deletion of the inconvenient post-1960 Briffa reconstruction results, the handling of the Hockey Stick dispute. When the IPCC WG1 (grudgingly) placed the WG1 Review Comments and Replies online- url here they did not place the Review Editor comments online, despite the importance of review editors. Through the diligent efforts of David Holland, the IPCC WG1 and WG2 Review Editor comments have now been obtained and are now online for the first time here - at this point, another Climate Audit exclusive.

When you examine these review comments, as I urge you to do, please remember that this is supposed to be the most carefully reviewed document in human history, where entire stadiums of scientists have carefully weighed each word. Compare that impression to the actual review editor comments, which as you will see do not rise above a form letter for 64 of 69 Review Editor comments discussed here.

First some comments on the obligations of Review Editors set out by the IPCC here. The workload for a Review Editor is said to be “heavy”. They are supposed to ensure that all substantive comments receive “appropriate consideration” and that “genuine controversies are reflected adequately” in the Report. If there are particular points of controversy or areas of major differences - and readers of CA can probably think of a couple -, the Coordinating Lead Authors “in consultation with the Review Editors” are encouraged to organize a “wider meeting with principal Contributing Authors and expert reviewers” - something that obviously did not take place in the topic that was the most controversial in chapter 6. If “significant differences of opinion on scientific issues remain”, Review Editors are obliged to “ensure” that such differences are described in an annex to the Report (no annex exists). Read more of this important post here.

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