Steven Koonin’s Response to Climate Change Hyperventilation

While The New York Times physically hyperventilates about the US government’s Climate Science Special Report, back here on earth with the rest of everyday America, Steven Koonin – director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University, and former President Obama’s undersecretary of energy for science – outlined why the “report” is a touch misleading in a recent WSJ op-ed. Some key quotes:

“The report ominously notes that while global sea level rose an average 0.05 inch a year during most of the 20th century, it has risen at about twice that rate since 1993. But it fails to mention that the rate fluctuated by comparable amounts several times during the 20th century. The same research papers the report cites show that recent rates are statistically indistinguishable from peak rates earlier in the 20th century, when human influences on the climate were much smaller. The report thus misleads by omission.”

“The report’s executive summary declares that U.S. heat waves have become more common since the mid-1960s, although acknowledging the 1930s Dust Bowl as the peak period for extreme heat. Yet buried deep in the report is a figure showing that heat waves are no more frequent today than in 1900.”

“Several actions are warranted. First, the report should be amended to describe the history of sea-level rise, heat waves and other trends fully and accurately. Second, the government should convene a “Red/Blue” adversarial review to stress-test the entire report, as I urged in April.”

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