Review of the 2001 U.S. Climate Action Report

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Introductory Comment

The 2001 U.S. Climate Action Report (USCAR) is, in general, more balanced thananalogous compendia, such as the Third Assessment Report of climate change recentlypublished by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , or the U.S. National Assessment (USNA) of climate change.

However, certain portions of USCAR, particularly Chapter 6, rely heavily on the USNAor the 2001 report of the National Academy of Sciences (which itself relies heavily on theUSNA). Whatever originates from the USNA is highly flawed because the USNA isbased upon a true miscarriage of science: it is based upon two models for futureprojections of climate that perform worse than a table of random numbers when appliedto recent climate. The producers of the USNA, mainly the U.S. Global Change ResearchProgram, have ignored this glaring problem, even as it is well-known that they wereaware of it. Further, the USNA is based upon a selection of the two most extremeclimate models for U.S. temperature and precipitation, for which there is no scientificdefense.

Consequently the quality of large sections of the USCAR has been fatally impaired by theacceptance of the nonscientific USNA. This applies mainly to Chapter 6, "Impacts andAdaptation." These sections -- and mainly Chapter 6 -- need either to be re-written, or a prominent note needs to be appended detailing the tragic flaws in the USNA.

It is hoped that these comments will force a re-opening of the USNA process, which washeaded by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) with a specificinvestigation into how such a document could have been published, when USGCRP andthe associated scientists knew that it was based upon models that simply did not work. Asit stands, it is the blackest of marks upon U.S. Environmental Science in recent decades,and the historical credibility of our considerable efforts in this science are at stake. Theblatant disregard of science in the USNA (and therefore in the USCAR) will not be notedtoday or next week. But, in coming decades, academic research carried out in a moredispassionate atmosphere than exists today will surely uncover these flaws and theattempts to cover them up. A responsible Agency would expose them NOW. Thisreview affords that opportunity.

My main comments are directed at Chapter 6; however, there are a few others includedbelow.