Sensenbrenner's hypocrisy and a SwiftHack science update

Allow me to present you with two quotes from Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), one from March 2007 and one from December 2009:

[T]he Administration is allegedly curbing Federal scientists from presenting scientific findings that are at odds with its policies. Before we start screaming “McCarthyism,” we should examine how little merit these accusations actually have. (Source)


These e-mails betray the true thoughts and motives of many leading climate scientists. It shows a pattern that’s closer to scientific fascism than the scientific method.(Source)

The first was Sensenbrenner defending the Bush Administration from accusations (later proven) that scientists were being pressured and their work interfered with for political reasons. The second refers to the Swiftboating of CRU scientists (aka Swifthack – see here for the best roundup of links on this subject I’ve found on the Web).

Care to explain your apparent hypocrisy, Rep Sensenbrenner?

Also, two different journal publishers have publicly said that the contents of the emails are not sufficient justification to open an investigation into scientific misconduct.

The journal Nature:

The stolen e-mails have prompted queries about whether Nature will investigate some of the researchers’ own papers. One e-mail talked of displaying the data using a ‘trick’ — slang for a clever (and legitimate) technique, but a word that denialists have used to accuse the researchers of fabricating their results. It is Nature’s policy to investigate such matters if there are substantive reasons for concern, but nothing we have seen so far in the e-mails qualifies.

The American Meteorological Society (and publishers of eleven different journals):

AMS Headquarters has received several inquiries asking if the material made public following the hacking of e-mails and other files from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia has any impact on the AMS Statement on Climate Change, which was approved by the AMS Council in 2007 and represents the official position of the Society.

The AMS Statement on Climate Change continues to represent the position of the AMS….

For climate change research, the body of research in the literature is very large and the dependence on any one set of research results to the comprehensive understanding of the climate system is very, very small. Even if some of the charges of improper behavior in this particular case turn out to be true — which is not yet clearly the case — the impact on the science of climate change would be very limited.

3 replies »

  1. 0.038% of the atmosphere is CO2
    Man contributes 0.7% of the CO2 and CH4 to the total amount going into the atmosphere yearly.
    CO2 has risen for the past 10 years
    Temperature has remained flat to slightly downward.
    “We can not account for the lack of warming…. and it is a travesty” NOAA
    IPCC = eugenics NOT environmentalism

    • TLP – you’re right about the atmospheric content of CO2 in the atmosphere being very low. The problem is that over 99% of the atmosphere doesn’t matter for the greenhouse effect. Water vapor and CO2 make up the two largest portions of the atmosphere responsible for the greenhouse effect.

      Water vapor averages about 0.4% of the atmosphere, CO2 0.039%. So CO2 is about 10% of the atmosphere responsible for the greenhouse effect. Water vapor lasts a very short period of time in the atmosphere (less than a month), so it can’t drive climate disruption – it can only be a feedback term, not a forcing term. The next most common greenhouse gas is CO2, and it lasts in the atmosphere for centuries once released. So it is a forcing term (although it’s also a centuries-long feedback as well).

      As for your claim that humans add 0.7% of CO2 to the atmosphere, this is also an insufficient explanation. Natural CO2 is largely in balance in the global ecosystem with geologic weathering, ecological uptake and conversion to biomatter, and absorption into the ocean. CO2 emitted by man is stuff that was sequestered underground for millions, perhaps billions, of years. And since pre-industrial days, human-emitted CO2 has increased the overall amount of CO2 from 0.028% to 0.039%, an increase of about 1.4x the baseline. Furthermore, isotopic analysis of the CO2 in the atmosphere points incontrovertibly to human origins rather than geologic origins (volcanoes).

      Your comment from the CRU emails neglects to mention that the comment was made in response to ocean warming and in a context of bemoaning the lack of sufficient spatial and temporal resolution in the ocean heat monitoring sensor network.

      And finally, I’ve addressed the CO2 vs. flat temps over the last 10 years repeatedly in other comments.