“Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change.The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.” — PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA, NOVEMBER 19 , 2008
With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true.
The letter is signed by over 100 scientists.
Climate Science wants to comment on the specific statements of science in the letter which is reproduced below:
“We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated. Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now.1,2 After controlling for population growth and property values, there has been no increase in damages from severe weather-related events.3 The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior.4 Mr. President, your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect.”
Comments by Climate Science
- “Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now.”
This is correct using the global average surface temperature. An effective analysis of this issue has been presented at the weblog http://rankexploits.com/musings/category/climate-sensitivity/. However, using the global average upper ocean heat content changes, the warming in the 1990s and early 2000s ended in 2003, so the more rigourous metric for global warming indicated “no net global warming” for 6 years.
- After controlling for population growth and property values, there has been no increase in damages from severe weather-related events.
This is a correct statement which has been extensively discussed and summarized at http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/category/climate-change; see also Chapter 2 in Pielke, R.A., Jr. and R.A. Pielke, Sr., 1997: Hurricanes: Their nature and impacts on society.
- The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior.
The dismissive response on Real Climate and on Grist to this letter do not provide the objective scientific rebuttal to these science claims. This is unfortunate and is misleading policymakers, but, as we have learned and reported many times on at Climate Science and elsewhere (e.g. see and see), this is the way the IPCC and CCSP community deals with solid science that disagrees with their perspective.