Summary Of Roger A. Pielke Sr’s View Of Climate Science

I want to make sure my view of climate science is clear to those who read Climate Science and to those who comment on other weblogs. I have written on this subject before on Climate Science (e.g. see and see) and in published papers (e.g. see and see).

First, to provide some background (see also the March 19 on Climate Science) on my commitment to the environment, I have worked throughout my career to improve environmental conditions including air quality. This includes two terms on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission where we implemented the oxygenated fuels program to reduce atmospheric CO emissions from vehicles,  to mandate strict regulations on wood and coal burning in residential fireplaces and stoves, and on asbestos concentrations in the air. 

I served on Governor Romer’s Blue Ribbon Committee to develop approaches to reduce diesel emissions into the atmosphere. I was also a member of an NRC committee that rejected an attempt to exempt certain locations such as Fairbanks Alaska from the national CO health standard (see ) and also an NRC committee to communicate the major concerns of overgrazing, which includes an increase in dust emissions into the atmosphere (see). I worked with the National Wildlife Federation to prevent a ski area from building in a pristine area of southwest Colorado. I  also served on a local board of the Nature Conservancy and was on  a committee in Fort Collins that mandated that the permit to construct and operate a brewrey near the city require the burning of natural gas rather than coal.

I have taught graduate classes and advised numerous graduate students in air pollution, modeling, weather and forecasting and climate at the University of Virginia, Colorado State University, the University of Arizona  and the University of Colorado in Boulder (even a class on the U.S. Wilderness System in which the preservation of pristine air quality is a major issue that we discussed). [see for recent classes].

Thus, based on this experience, I have the following recommendations and science findings:

  •  Research has shown that the focus on just carbon dioxide as the dominate human climate forcing is too narrow. We have found that natural variations are still quite important, and moreover, the human influence is significant, but it involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited to the human input of CO2 (e.g. see NRC, 2005 and Kabat et al, 2004). These other forcings, such as land use change and from atmospheric pollution aerosols, may have a greater effect on our climate than the effects that have been claimed for CO2 (e.g. see);
  • The IPCC and CCSP assessments, as well as the science statements completed by the AGU, AMS and NRC, are completed by a small subset of climate scientists who are often the same individuals. This oligarchy has prevented science of the climate system to be properly communicated to policymakers (e.g. see, see and see).
  • The acceptance of CO2 as a pollutant by the EPA , yet it is a climate forcing not a traditional atmospheric pollutant, opens up a wide range of other climate forcings which the EPA could similarly regulate (e.g. land use; water vapor).
  • Policymakers should look for win-win policies in order to improve the environment that we live in (e.g. see).  The costs and benefits of the regulation of the emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere need to be evaluated together with all other possible environmental regulations.  The goal should be to seek politically and technologically practical ways to reduce the vulnerability of the environment and society to the entire spectrum of human-caused and natural risks (e.g. see Chapter E in Kabat et al 2004).

I welcome discussion on these four points and would be glad to present guest weblogs by credentialed (peer reviewed published) climate scientists (please e-mail me if you would be interested in doing this). All perspectives with these credentials are welcome.

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