- May 24, 2014
Why do colleges and universities audit their students’ dining hall waste, install solar panels, and ban disposable water bottles? Because they want to stem greenhouse gas emissions. That goal is promoted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), both of which attribute global warming to the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere.
That attribution is, of course, a theoretical construct backed by a supposed “consensus” of climate scientists. The “consensus,” however, is itself a fragile construct that is maintained in large part by broad definitions in some areas and narrow ones in others. Anyone who observes that the earth has warmed in the last one hundred years is counted “in” for the purposes of declaring a consensus. But numerous scientists are then counted out for dissenting on the likely scale and causes of the problem.
Those who take it as their job to maintain the fiction of scientific consensus on global warming have been caught more than once stooping to shady scientific practices, including interfering with peer review. But it appears there is another bit of climate legerdemain that has not come to light—until now.
Yesterday the Institute for Trade, Standards, and Sustainable Development (ITSSD) announced research that indicates that the EPA has rigged its scientific review process to guarantee results that favor strict regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA is required by several federal laws to assess the influence of various environmental protection regulations on the basis of scientific research that has been peer-reviewed and validated by expert scientists. In 2009, the EPA determined that greenhouse gases were especially harmful to the environment. That conclusion was based on 28 climate science assessments, all of which ostensibly had been peer-reviewed.
But the ITSSD has determined that the integrity of many of these 28 climate science assessments has been compromised. Some appear to have been “reviewed” by scientists from the same organizations that wrote the assessments in the first place.
Nine of the assessments had been developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and 8 had come from the IPCC. Many of the NOAA scientists worked on the IPCC reports, however. And when the EPA sent the NOAA assessments for peer review, on six occasions the assessments were reviewed by NOAA-funded (but university-affiliated) scientists. Several times the National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences invited the same group of reviewers without explanation—perhaps because the group could be trusted to deliver the desired response. The ITSSD’s research suggests, then, that the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations are based on studies whose peer review process was compromised due to conflicts of interest, subject biases, lack of peer review panel balance, and lack of transparency.
Also suspicious is the NOAA’s silence on the criticisms that some peer reviewers raised with respect to NOAA’s research findings. Some reviewers criticized the documents for making conclusions unsupported by the data, or for failing to consider the innate uncertainties of projected climate changes. Few NOAA documents reveal any response to these criticisms.
ITSSD is conducting further research to determine the full extent of the EPA’s compromised science. The Daily Caller has the full story.
This is not the first time that climate science has operated on the sly. Recently in Europe, one of the most prestigious environmental journals, Environmental Research Letters, rejected for publication a study by five contributing scientists that dared to suggest the global temperature might be less sensitive to carbon than the IPCC predicted. A reviewer of the article, explaining his reasons for voting against the paper, privately denounced the research as “harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of ‘errors’ and worse from the climate sceptics media side.” Among the authors of the paper was the University of Reading’s Lennart Bengtsson, a well-respected Swedish meteorologist who joined and then immediately resigned from a think tank skeptical of global warming, after he received relentless criticism, accusatory notes, and persecution from his scientist colleagues who were angry at his defection to the anti-global warming side.
The London Times called the journal’s politicized rejection of Bengtsson’s research a new “Climategate,” after the scandal involving Penn State professor Michael Mann. Mann in his angst to prop up the scientific evidence in favor of anthropogenic global warming had in the 1990s created the “hockey stick” graph that purported to show exponential increases in global temperatures about to emerge. In 2009 it was revealed that Mann had exaggerated his findings and manipulated his computer model to produce predictions of upticks in temperature. Mann is now embroiled in a lawsuit with his critics Mark Steyn, National Review, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute—though in this age of politically correct science, he is the not the defendant but the accuser, charging them with libel.
Colleges and universities, though, remain ideologically wed to global warming-inspired policies, curriculum, and campus life. They should reconsider these priorities.