In the (Climate) News

We know there’s a lot happening out there.  In case you missed them, here are a few recent climate stories that have been on our radar this week.

1.  Charges against “Climategate” scientists dismissed for the third time
Another independent review of British researchers in the “Climategate” scandal came to the same conclusion of previous investigations: The researchers did not manipulate their data. However, the review does fault the researchers for being less-than-forthcoming with their data at times, and for being  lax in response to critics.
(Read more at the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and BBC.com)

2. Utility giant PG&E opposes AB 32 blocker
CEO Peter Darbee released a statement in opposition of Proposition 23 saying that “…unchecked climate change could cost California’s economy alone tens of billions of dollars a year in losses to agriculture, tourism, and other sectors.”  Prop 23, which qualified for the Nov. 2 ballot last month, would suspend AB 32 until unemployment falls to 5.5 percent for four straight quarters.
(Read more at the The Sacramento Bee and CleanTechnica.com)

3. Federal funding for carbon capture and storage research
This week the Department of Energy announced approximately $67 million for ten projects designed to develop technology for CO2 capture and storage from coal power plants, a strategy considered central to reducing global CO2 emissions.  Menlo Park-based Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. is slated to receive almost $15 million of the funds.
(Read more at The New York Times Green blog.)

5. Cloud seeding could make things wetter
Spraying seawater into clouds to combat global warming could yield wetter seasons, a Stanford study found.  The analysis used computer simulations of the global climate system with increased CO2 levels and more reflective clouds over all of the world’s oceans. Researchers said they were surprised by the findings because previous computer simulations have found that using geoengineering to whiten clouds and decrease solar radiation could make the Earth drier, not wetter.

Chistopher Penalosa is a Climate Watch intern.

  • http://ncwatch.typepad.com/ Russell Steele

    Yes, and three times the Climategate Whitewash was called in to question. They never addressed the science only the poor behavior of the scientist, with a slap in the hand.

    Here is some of the responses by independent observers, including David Holland who hand submitted Freedom of Information Requests that were discussed on the Climategate E-mails.

    University of East Anglia the Information Commissioner has issued his Decision Notice, FER0238017, on David Holand’s complaint that UEA did not deal with his 2008 requests for information in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs).
    Paragraphs 34 onwards of the Notice make clear beyond argument that information on climate change and its assessment by the IPCC is subject to the EIRs, and that UEA broke them. Paragraph 36 states:

    “The Commissioner’s considers that it is not necessary for information to have a direct effect on the environment for it to fall within the definition in the EIR, only that it needs to be linked to a relevant subsection in regulation 2(1). He is of the view that the phrase “any information…on…” contained in regulation 2(1) should be interpreted widely and in line with the purpose expressed in the first recital of the Council Directive 2003/4/EC which the EIR enact.”

    The Commissioner concluded that the information David Holland requested was subject to the Regulations and that accordingly UEA had breached them, first by not issuing a refusal notice within the prescribed time, and secondly for not disclosing it.

    Verdict: East Anglica hid the climate data from public disclosure. This was left out of the white wash reports.

    The part that bothered the most is that all these investigations never addressed the science or the computer code that clearly demonstrated the models use to project future global warming were riddled with fudge factors and made up data.

    The bureaucratic investigation panels ignored the real issue and focused on the e-mail distractions.

    The Global Warming Policy Foundation was critical of the Independent Climate Change Email Review for a lack of openness and transparency in its inquiry. In response, the GWPF announced that it has commissioned its own investigation into the way the three Climategate inquiries have been set up, how they were conducted an how they arrived at their conclusions.
    Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation said that the conclusions of the Russell inquiry are unlikely to restore public confidence in climate science.

    “There is clearly strong evidence of mishandling of the FOI requests and strong criticism of the university’s failure to provide data and information. I don’t think the university can just claim that this is a vindication.”

    Ross McKitrick, the University of Guelph professor who with Steve McIntyre broke the hockey stick story, says the Russell review still misses the point.

    “In comparison to previous inquiries by the House of Commons science and technology committee, the Oxburgh inquiry, and Penn State University, the report of the ICCER under the direction of Sir Muir Russell has gone further in making a detailed review of the concerns arising out of the CRU emails.”

    “Some, but certainly not all, of the concerns have been brought to resolution. For example, with regard to the famous “trick” to “hide the decline”, whereas earlier investigations (including Penn State) claimed it was a valid procedure, the ICCER found otherwise, concluding that the figure published in the WMO report “was misleading in not describing that one of the series was truncated post 1960 for the figure, and in not being clear on the fact that proxy and instrumental data were spliced together”. It is good to finally have agreement that Jones’ graph was misleading, and the attempts to explain this away as an innocent turn of phrase are invalid.”

    Richard Horton writing in the UK Guardian:

    The panel avoided examining the scientific work of the CRU Team – as have the two other reviews of the leaked archive by Lord Oxburgh, and the Commons Select Committee on science. If the academics had used bats’ wings or tea leaves to create temperature reconstructions, that wasn’t a matter for any of the panels to judge.

  • James Mayeau

    that easy, huh.

    No I don’t think so. This governmental media outlet never reported climategate. Never investigated it. Never read the emails and collusions between the players in the IPCC. Just like the series of whitewash potemkin trials the Brits have been running.

    So you have forfeited the ability to claim “charges have been dropped” in the exact same way that the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek have forfeited it, by refusing to report, quashing the story that didn’t fit your socialist world plan.

    Hell you still haven’t figured out why Al Gore is getting divorced. This blog is a cartoon, a joke, a parody of a news outlet.

    In truth charges were never brought, but they will be. In Virginia there is an AG worthy of the name.
    You global warming cheer leaders will get your charges.
    Soon.

  • James Mayeau

    If this KQED climategate tag is empty except for this post I’m going to have to sue the station for breach of the public trust.

    Seems like a bold assertion, but I think I can do it seeing as this is a quasi governmental organization.
    There are all sorts of rules for equal protections against government entities. I figure there is bound to be one that applies.

    • http://www.kqed.org/climatewatch Craig Miller

      This is by no means the first time we have covered or mentioned the East Anglia email incident.
      We have used the term “climategate” sparingly and generally applied quotation marks to it, because of the loaded nature of the term.
      Using the suffix “gate” implies that some cover-up and/or wrongdoing occurred. Unlike in the case of Watergate and various other “gates,” three independent investigations have now concluded that no wrongdoing did occur (leaving aside the hacking itself, which is currently under criminal investigation by local authorities in East Anglia).

  • http://warming101.com Anna Haynes

    re Craig’s
    > “three independent investigations have now concluded that no wrongdoing did occur”

    I thought it was 5?
    (“It was the fifth such review of hundreds of e-mail exchanges among some of the world’s most prominent climatologists.”) –
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/opinion/11sun2.html?_r=1&ref=opinion
    (but maybe not all were independent?)

    • Craig Miller

      Depends on what you’re counting. As you may know, the Dutch did their own probe, prompted by one specific point in the IPCC assessment.
      None of this is to imply that investigators gave the scientists a free pass. Two useful articles are Richard Black’s overview of the probes and Martin Rosenbaum’s more detailed account of the critique, both for the BBC.