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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 10/13/2008

Freedman: Candidates May Shift Climate Research

By Andrew Freedman

In an article last week, I explored the climate science positions of the Republican and Democratic tickets. The story made clear that both presidential candidates agree with the consensus view of the scientific community that recent climate change is mainly the result of human activities, such as the burning of coal and oil for energy. The vice presidential candidates, however, disagree on the human contributions to climate change.

What the story didn't explore was how, if elected, the candidates might change the sprawling federal climate science research enterprise, which totals nearly $2 billion per year. Although the candidates themselves haven't addressed the specific issue of climate science research coordination, both have indicated that they would reorient climate science programs to give policymakers at the regional and local levels more information about how climate may affect their communities.

Keep reading for more on future directions in Federal climate research. See our full forecast for the outlook through the week.

According to a news story in the October 10 issue of Science Magazine, scientists and policy experts are urging the presidential hopefuls to, if elected, reform the entity known as the "U.S. Climate Change Science Program" (CCSP) by refocusing its efforts away from the causes of climate change and towards its impacts.

Here is a snippet from the story:

"McCain is thinking about reorienting the climate research program toward what his aide, Floyd DesChamps, calls "urgent impacts." He says that the White House's "21 [CCSP] reports" are inferior to the "real National Assessment" that his boss would launch. Obama's campaign says he'll stress "short-term and long-term effects" on society and ecosystems. Both candidates have promised to strengthen Earth monitoring and efforts to link scientists and local officials."

As Science magazine discusses, climate scientists and policy experts have been increasingly sounding the alarm in recent months about stagnated climate research budgets and ineffective policy coordination to oversee the use of those funds, with some former high ranking science policy officials even calling for a major bureaucratic reorganization to address the situation.

"The health of the climate science [program] is not what it should be," Obama's emissary, Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ), told Science. Holt is a physicist, making him one of only a handful of scientists in Congress.

How climate science research programs are organized may seem like a bureaucratic snooze fest involving too many acronyms (NOAA, DOE, DOI, USGS, NSF etc.). However, it can also be viewed as a key step towards a more climate-resilient United States, in which decision makers are fully informed about the climate risks facing their communities and can take action to prepare for them.

According to a review of federal climate science research published last year, the way the government has spent taxpayer dollars on climate science research has left many policymakers at the local and regional levels in the dark about how climate change could affect their communities.

Currently, the CCSP coordinates federal climate research among 13 agencies that range from the Commerce Department to the Smithsonian Institution. The CCSP has come under heavy fire from politicians on Capitol Hill, including from Senator McCain, for pursuing a series of 21 separate scientific "synthesis and assessment" products on different aspects of climate science, rather than the single National Assessment on how climate change would affect the U.S. that Congress had mandated.

Whereas the single assessment approach was aimed at translating scientific data into policy-relevant information, many of the reports prepared during the past eight years have drilled down so far into the weeds of climate science that they are barely accessible to policy professionals.

According to Science, some of those advocating for a fresh approach to climate science research include the CCSP staff themselves, who are preparing transition documents for the next administration that "recommend a shift toward impacts science."

If this report is true, it's intriguing, because it seems unusual for a bureaucracy to tell a new president why what it has been doing for eight years has been wrong. One might imagine that bureaucratic entities that make such proposals don't survive long into a new administration. Perhaps we may see a new acronym or two by this time next year?

By Andrew Freedman  | October 13, 2008; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Climate Change, Freedman, Government, Science  
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Comments

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Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

So as global temperatures decrease, they no longer wish to discuss the "causes" of climate change?!?! They would rather focus on the impact?!?!

Wow! Knock me over with feather!

If CO2 is all that, then how can the global temperature being going down? Obviously, CO2 is not all that if it is powerless to overcome the natural forces that are driving the temperature down.

And why is it that when the temperature is going down they call it "natural variation" but when the temperature is going up they call it "man made global warming"?

I vote that we switch that around. When the temperature is going down we should call it "man made global cooling" and when the temperature is going up we should call it "natural variation".

Who's with me?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 13, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Where ya been, Mr. Q{uesenberry}. It took you almost 3 hours to chime in.

Let's see your proof that the climate is cooling, excluding (as Dr. Tracton has noted several times) the MSU data which includes the the cold Antarctic in the global average!

Posted by: TBull | October 13, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The pink line on the chart represents Hadley. Please take the time to at least look at the chart before making such comments. You will appear more informed if you do that.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 13, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

If you were really informed, rather than swallowing without question the chart on the icecap website, you'd know what Hadley is actually saying,

"Global Warming Goes On;
Anyone who thinks
global warming
has stopped
has their head
in the sand".

I challenge you to find an authoritative site, including the Hadley Center's, the source of your pink line. I can't, so unless you demonstrate otherwise, I'll assume it is a fraudulent attempt to mislead.

Posted by: TBull | October 13, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I hope this link works. Try this.

Take your time and absorb all the information on the page. Make note of the trend. -0.01 degrees C

If CO2 were the big driver in climate, and since we haven't reduced our CO2 output (it has actually increased), how can the temperature be trending down?

I would like to add that I think it is a shame that the owners of this blog won't provide that information for you. Surely they know that what I have provided is true. And they allow you to cling to a misconception. Why is that?

Anyway, I answered your question, now perhaps you can answer mine.

What modifications does Hadley perform on their raw data? Please be precise.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 13, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Mr McCain is not to be taken seriously. No one who is serious about climate change would nominate Sarah Palin as VP, nor would he skip one vote after another on alternative energy. He is a fraud.

Posted by: David Scott | October 13, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Nice try, Q!!

So where's the evidence that the pink curve supposedly from the Hadley center is something other than a transparent fraud.

All readers take note of this blatant, typical diversion by Q to avoid the issue.

Q, we are waiting or are you really that gullible to obvious distortions of reality.
I doubt it knowing who you are, which raises the question of your motives in relentless spouting of the "denier" line.

BTW, Q, do your own homework on establishing the source, nature, and processing analysis of the Hadley results.

Posted by: TBull | October 13, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I am with you Q. What really kills me is this "consensus that scientists agree man is behind global ewarming". What scientists? The ones who agree man is behind global warming? And now it is fact? It IS NOT fact. It has not been proven. The only "fact" is the left wing media that continues to spread disinformation to the gullible as this article does. Thier opinion is the *only* valid opinion and the "only* opinion that counts. Palin is right on the money. She said global climate change is *partly* caused by humans. That's right, "partly". Of course it is. How much a part? Who knows. Probably minimal at best. And what do you suppose we do, Freedman? Invent a weather machine and manipulate the weather? What a joke. Maybe we should consult Al Gore, the greatest weather scientist of all time, to tell us what to do. Oh that's right, he isn't available. He is in his Lear jet flying to his next gig to tell people to live in grass huts and ride bicycles to work.

Posted by: Steve | October 13, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

TBull, I took your incomplete sentence ("I challenge you to find an authoritative site, including the Hadley Center's, the source of your pink line.") and did my best at making sense out of it. If I didn't provide whatever it was that you were looking for, then oh well. I won't lose any sleep over it.

I will allow the non-biased, open minded reader to decide whose argument is more persuasive.

I wish you well, but don't expect me to waste my valuable time replying to you any more.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 13, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Providing a graph showing statistically significant cooling over 5 years does show one thing. It's called variation.

Posted by: John - Burke | October 13, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

John - Burke, you have missed the point. I will try one last time.

Since the globe has been cooling over the last few years, that proves beyond any doubt that CO2 and all of the other greenhouse gases combined, are not the most powerful drivers in our climate. I would think this point so obvious as to not even need to be articulated, but sadly that is not the case.

At least one (possibly more than one) natural climate force is kicking CO2 and the greenhouse gases in the backside. Ergo, CO2 is not the biggest, baddest climate driver on the block.

How much does CO2 affect climate? Who knows. But clearly that is a valid question. And obviously it is not the big dog in the pack.

So before we go willingly giving up any liberties and shoveling money at the "problem", maybe it would be a good idea to attempt to determine how much of a climate driver CO2 really is, or if it is any at all.

Call me kooky.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 13, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Steve, if I were forced to rank my concerns for our Nation, the biased nature of the print and televised media would be at the very top of my list. I don't mind so much that they are biased, I mind that they pretend that they are not.

I worry for our Country. We need a good, unbiased, strong media to keep the elected officials honest. This is a really big deal and I am afraid that so many people have gotten caught up in their candidate winning, that they are turning a blind eye to the rot taking hold in the media.

Unless this changes soon, it can't end well for us.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 13, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Capital Weather Gang, last week you made a big deal out of outing someone who disagrees with you. Have you ever checked to see if people who agree with you are using multiple aliases?

Point blank - Is TBull or John - Burke posting under any other names?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 14, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

TBull, why did you write, "Where ya been, Mr. Q{uesenberry}."

I don't understand the relevance/point. Was that some sort of attempt at intimidation?

Was that some sort of "We know who you are and you will pay a price" insinuation?

What was that?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 14, 2008 2:02 AM | Report abuse

TBull, I don't intimidate that easily. I have flown for hours with a solid radar lock on my aircraft. You have no idea what that is like. The constant reminder in your earpiece. The constant drone of the computerized voice, "Radar lock".

Those were people who would did not know me and undoubtedly thought they would suffer no consequence if I lived or died. And I didn't flinch and I lived. You don't frighten me. If you want a piece of me, all you have to do is ask. I am agreeable sort of fella.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 14, 2008 2:12 AM | Report abuse

TBull (supposedly) wrote, "Where ya been, Mr. Q{uesenberry}."

This is eerily similar to Dr. Tracton. In an Internet stalker kind of way.

If you have something you wish to say, please don't beat around the bush. Be a man and come right out and say it.

I won't stop posting here. If I stop posting here, it is only because I am dead.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 14, 2008 2:46 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Q, your comments above simply confirm that you are unable to address my question on the validity of the "pink" line on the Icecap's graph you so (blindly) believe in.

You have not because you cannot!! All the flak you continue to dribble out cannot change that fundamental fact.

Speaking of flak - as you probably have heard - there is an old Navy and/or Air Force parable that goes something like this:

When you start receiving flak, you know you're on target!

With your credibility deservedly zero, I intend simply ignore you from this point on. I hope others - including Dr. Tracton, Mr. Freedman, and CWG generally - will do so as well.

Posted by: TBull | October 14, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm...let's see deflect, deny, attack and ignore it's good to know you're one constant in this crazy mixed up world Mr. Q! And no, I am not TBull or anyone else. Nice try. Carry on.

Posted by: John - Burke | October 14, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Alright, let's all take a deep breath and relax. This is not a dogfight. This is a discussion area on a weather blog in the Washington area. I realize that climate change is a politically charged topic that can incite passionate responses, but the discussions have recently veered even more off topic and have become overly personal and negative.

Folks, this was not exactly the best all-around discussion in CWG history. The post I wrote was about science policy and how the Climate Change Science Program might fare under a new president. Not one comment pertained to this topic. Instead, nearly every comment focused on a back and forth with Mr. Q. My advice: avoid getting into such arguments in the first place, and focus on the topic. I am more than happy to engage in discussion on the column topic, and I think you'll find we would have an engaging and pleasant discussion.

Mr. Q asked: "Have you ever checked to see if people who agree with you are using multiple aliases?" The answer to that is yes, we have checked before, but I don't know if a check has been performed in this particular case (I am not the one who would look into it).

TBull: I agree with Mr. Q that your post that included Q's potential last name borders on intimidation, although I seem to recall Mr. Q using that name in previous comments on this forum or another climate change discussion area I've visited elsewhere.

I don't know whether that last name is correct or not, but it doesn't matter. Please avoid stepping over the line into personal attacks or intimidation in your response to Mr. Q's comments.

And as for Mr. Q, please stay on topic, and stop antagonizing other commenters. That request holds for your comments every single week. You are needlessly confrontational, and you may notice that I no longer engage in any topical discussions with you because of it.

Posted by: Andrew Freedman, Capital Weather Gang | October 14, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Freedman wrote, "And as for Mr. Q, please stay on topic, and stop antagonizing other commenters."

Are we reading the same messages and seeing the same sequence of events? I do not initiate conversation with TBull or John - Burke. They initiate the conversation and they are extremely antagonizing when they do it. I have attempted in the past to politely answer their questions but they insist on engaging me in an antagonistic manner. I will admit I have become increasingly annoyed with their incessant attacks and I could have responded more eloquently - of that I am guilty. But if you were to be honest, you must admit that it is not I who has been the aggressor.

Mr. Freedman also wrote, "You are needlessly confrontational, and you may notice that I no longer engage in any topical discussions with you because of it."

Yes, I am sure it has nothing to do with an inability to answer the question but instead has everything to do with how the question was asked. Riiiiight ;)

Just for the record Mr. Freedman, whenever I pose a question, it is not directed at you. I know that you will not answer my questions. My questions, just like all of my comments, are directed at the casual reader with an open mind, who just happens to stumble across your blog.

Best wishes,
Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 15, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Freedman wrote, "Mr. Q asked: "Have you ever checked to see if people who agree with you are using multiple aliases?""

That question was directed at the anonymous "Capital Weather Gang". The same anonymous "Capital Weather Gang" that outed a dissenting commenter last week.

And they have not answered the question.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 15, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that when I called Dr. Hansen a name, I was publicly (and rightfully) chastised, but when someone impersonates me and calls me a name, you just quietly delete their comment and pretend the whole thing never happened? Not a single comment. No public rebuke for their comment?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 15, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Roger Pielke Sr. said, "Dr. Richard Keen of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) at the University of Colorado has a very interesting set of questions that he has posted with respect to global warming. It can be viewed at" -
http://atoc.colorado.edu/wxlab/atoc1050/1050%20ppt/Global%20warming%20quiz.ppt

It is a power point presentation. I use OpenOffice.org to view it. If you don't have Power Point and you don't want the big OpenOffice download, I am sure that Microsoft has a program that will allow you to view it.

Check out slide numbers 54, 55, 56, and 57!

Say hello to Global Cooling!!

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 15, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

If you took the time to download the PowerPoint that I linked to in my previous comment, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, look at slide number 41. (In addition to the last four slides.)

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 16, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Please allow me to tie in my previous comments with Mr. Freedman's column.

I would think the relationship between my comments and Mr. Freedman's column is obvious, but just in case someone doesn't see it - Based upon everything that I have read, I am not concerned about the manner in which the government spends our tax dollars on "climate research". Quite the contrary. I am more concerned about how much we are spending on "climate research". I think that money should be cut in half (at minimum) and put to a better use elsewhere.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 16, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

mr. Q; I clearly rebuked the calling out of your last name. See my comment from yesterday.

Posted by: andrew freedman, capitalweathergang | October 16, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Freedman, I know you did. And I respect you for that.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 16, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Freedman, I do respect your position on that. I truly do. But you are still wrong on the other issues. :)

And just for the record, yes, my last name is Quesenberry. If anyone wishes to use it in the future, please spell it correctly. It annoys me to no end when people can't copy and paste correctly.

I have faced people with very large weapons who wished me dead. I won't be cowered by some anonymous person on the Internet.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 16, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Freedman, I was talking about a comment where someone pretended to be me and they asked why I am a "wrongheaded lump of dump". That comment was posted by someone claiming to be me, Mr. Q. It was posted at 11:52 AM. That comment was quietly deleted approximately 90 minutes after being posted. Prior to its deletion, it appeared directly above the comment that I think you were responding to.

I wasn't referring to the comment by TBull.

I am guessing that you didn't see the comment that I was referring to when I asked about the no public rebuke.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr. Q. | October 16, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The only money that should be spent on climate-related issues is $7.99 for an umbrella at Walgreen's. Don't believe me? I will show you my Power Point presentation.

(FYI - There is a really awesome graphic of a smiling glacier wearing a scarf on slide number 19)

Dr. B

Posted by: Boisenberry | October 17, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

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