Report by the E.P.A. Leaves Out Data on Climate Change....Draw your own conclusions

Discussion in 'Data Sets and Feeds' started by OPTIONAL777, Jun 20, 2003.

  1. Please draw your own conclusions. An article on the White House and the EPA follows some comments of mine

    My conclusion? I lack data to draw one. However, having seen what polution can do, and having heard differing opinions on global warming, I have this response:

    Say 10 scientists gave reports to suggest a theory that global warming was a serious danger.

    Say 10 scientists gave reports to suggest a theory that global warming is a myth.

    What to do? Who do you believe? Do we suspend judgment until we have more data? And is it the type of potential problem that by the time data is gathered sufficient to support the global warming theory, it is too late to rectify the problem?

    Should we err on the side of caution? Or should we have scientific consensus before we take it seriously?

    My perspective is that the current administration would prefer what they consider proof, and will not err on the side of caution.

    Conversely, it appears that the adminstration, when it comes to terrorism and the potential threat of WMD will decide to err on the side of caution and take proactive steps to prevent potential for harm in the future.

    Do we have to have an environmental disaster, akin to the 911 disaster before this issue is taken seriously, a decision to be safe versus sorry as the proper policy?

    Here is the article :

    June 19, 2003
    Report by the E.P.A. Leaves Out Data on Climate Change

    The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to publish a draft report next week on the state of the environment, but after editing by the White House, a long section describing risks from rising global temperatures has been whittled to a few noncommittal paragraphs.

    The report, commissioned in 2001 by the agency's administrator, Christie Whitman, was intended to provide the first comprehensive review of what is known about various environmental problems, where gaps in understanding exist and how to fill them.

    Agency officials said it was tentatively scheduled to be released early next week, before Mrs. Whitman steps down on June 27, ending a troubled time in office that often put her at odds with President Bush.

    Drafts of the climate section, with changes sought by the White House, were given to The New York Times yesterday by a former E.P.A. official, along with earlier drafts and an internal memorandum in which some officials protested the changes. Two agency officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the documents were authentic.

    The editing eliminated references to many studies concluding that warming is at least partly caused by rising concentrations of smokestack and tail-pipe emissions and could threaten health and ecosystems.

    Among the deletions were conclusions about the likely human contribution to warming from a 2001 report on climate by the National Research Council that the White House had commissioned and that President Bush had endorsed in speeches that year. White House officials also deleted a reference to a 1999 study showing that global temperatures had risen sharply in the previous decade compared with the last 1,000 years. In its place, administration officials added a reference to a new study, partly financed by the American Petroleum Institute, questioning that conclusion.

    In the end, E.P.A. staff members, after discussions with administration officials, said they decided to delete the entire discussion to avoid criticism that they were selectively filtering science to suit policy.

    Administration officials defended the report and said there was nothing untoward about the process that produced it. Mrs. Whitman said that she was "perfectly comfortable" with the edited version and that the differences over climate change should not hold up the broader assessment of the nation's air, land and water.

    "The first draft, as with many first drafts, contained everything," she said in a brief telephone interview from the CBS studios in Manhattan, where she was waiting to tape "The Late Show With David Letterman."

    "As it went through the review, there was less consensus on the science and conclusions on climate change," Ms. Whitman said. "So rather than go out with something half-baked or not put out the whole report, we felt it was important for us to get this out because there is a lot of really good information that people can use to measure our successes."

    James L. Connaughton, chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, a White House advisory group, said, "It would be utterly inaccurate to suggest that this administration has not provided quite an extensive discussion about the state of the climate. Ultimately, E.P.A. made the decision not to include the section on climate change because we had these ample discussions of the subject already."

    But private environmental groups sharply criticized the changes when they heard of them.

    "Political staff are becoming increasingly bold in forcing agency officials to endorse junk science," said Jeremy Symons, a climate policy expert at the National Wildlife Federation. "This is like the White House directing the secretary of labor to alter unemployment data to paint a rosy economic picture."

    Drafts of the report have been circulating for months, but a heavy round of rewriting and cutting by White House officials in late April raised protest among E.P.A. officials working on the report.

    An April 29 memorandum circulated among staff members said that after the changes by White House officials, the section on climate "no longer accurately represents scientific consensus on climate change."

    Another memorandum circulated at the same time said that the easiest course would be to accept the White House revisions but that to do so would taint the agency, because "E.P.A. will take responsibility and severe criticism from the science and environmental communities for poorly representing the science."

    The changes were mainly made by the Council on Environmental Quality, although the Office of Management and Budget was also involved, several E.P.A. officials said. It is the second time in a year that the White House has sought to play down global warming in official documents.

    Last September, an annual E.P.A. report on air pollution that for six years had contained a section on climate was released without one, and the decision to delete it was made by Bush administration appointees at the agency with White House approval.

    Like the September report, the forthcoming report says the issues will be dealt with later by a climate research plan being prepared by the Bush administration.

    Other sections of the coming E.P.A. report — on water quality, ecological conditions, ozone depletion in the atmosphere and other issues — all start with a summary statement about the potential impact of changes on human health and the environment, which are the two responsibilities of the agency.

    But in the "Global Issues" section of the draft returned by the White House to E.P.A. in April, an introductory sentence reading, "Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment" was cut and replaced with a paragraph that starts: "The complexity of the Earth system and the interconnections among its components make it a scientific challenge to document change, diagnose its causes, and develop useful projections of how natural variability and human actions may affect the global environment in the future."

    Some E.P.A. staff members defended the document, saying that although pared down it would still help policy makers and the agency address the climate issue.

    "This is a positive step by the agency," said an author of the report, who did not want to be named, adding that it would help someone determine "if a facility or pollutant is going to hurt my family or make it bad for the birds, bees and fish out there."
  2. You know, it just makes sense. If you continually alter the conditions of the earth, the the earth's effects on you will change. It's that simple. The hard part is determining when these changes in effects will adversely effect humanity to the point where we have to take notice.

    It's already happenned in some cases. For example: Acid rain and then the controls put on plants in the NE US and SE Canada... The burning rivers in the NE in the 1800's, and then they stopped dumping large amounts of flamable waste into the rivers. The list goes on and on.

    The earth can take a lot of damage and keep going, but individual ecosystems are fragile (see the Everglades). I know that the world is moving towards more extremes (hotter summers and colder winters), and that is generally attributed to a destabilation of the atmosphere. So the question is... is this a natural occurance, a man-influenced problem, or a combination. I think it's a combination, but I'm more of a 90-10 guy (90% attributed to human causes, and 10% to nature).

    So why not create power from easier means? Wind, tidal generators, solar??? Hell, even nuclear is cleaner if we could just figure out how to dispose of spent rods effecively and safely.
  3. ttrader


    What about fractal effects ? Chaos theory claims a butterly's swing coild change waether on any other part of the earth. Of course You would have to wait some time, mybe a few months for the effect to swing up.

    But, how the heck could You inluence weather with technical stuff ?

  4. maxpi


    The Environmental concern of great importance was global cooling from 1960's to 1980's. Then it switched to Global Warming. All environmental concerns are of such great importance that we are supposed to panic and get our wallets out and throw money at the environuts and trash our lifestyle because we are "bad".

    In California the environmentalists and the oil co's got together and forced all the gas stations to replace their underground storage tanks. at $450,000 per tank that put the independents out of business, there just are hardly any at all, and left the oil co's as the only owners of gas stations. Gas is $1.70+ for regular.

    Maybe the admin got tired of bullshit?

    Check this out to see what environmentalists really think. Yes they really want the forests to burn, yes they really want to return all farmland and cities to nature. Yes they are against new, better fuels because they are against all fuels!!

    A link from this site which has other interesting stuff:

  5. I believe this was also done in florida...because of the undergound fuel leaks.....

    I love the outdoors, but im afraid there is no turning back the cause of all this is as I have said Mr. Click points out you can only take so much from mother earth....and we take and take and take.....WATER supply is IMO at a greater risk than anything else....peace...of course we wouldnt know....
  6. I read an article, forgot where it was, that the computer models used to predict global climate were predicting a new ice age back in the mid 70s when we had a few cold winters in the NE. Now the same models predict global warming. Also, these models are not able to run backwards; ie, take conditions known to exist a 100+ years ago and predict what the climate was then, the results were not even close. These models also do not include the impact of more plant growth that will likely come with increased heat and increased CO2 concentrations.

    A policy to prevent global warming will have a huge and somewhat unpredictable (like predicting the weather) effect on the global economy.

    Even though there appears to be a consensus of scientists that global warming exists, remember there was a similar consensus that man could not fly a year or so before the first flight at Kitty Hawk.

    An interesting but related point is that major releases of methane hydrate that0 have apparently happened in the past caused the end of the ice ages and have a global weather impact much greater than anything man can do, since methane is a more powerful green house gas compared to CO2 that most environmentalists worry about.

    IMO, a lot of the calls for limiting green house gases are more politically motivated than they are based in science.

  7. ttrader


  8. Some global warming zealots routinely underestimate the fact that global climate is always changing - the various ice ages or the Dust Bowl weren't caused by CFCs and millions of automobile exhausts. The Sahara Desert used to be a rainforest - the climate didn't change due to excess camel emissions.

    Then there's always the non-pollutant (i.e., land use) climatic impacts - for instance, summer humidity in the midwest has progressively increased over the last 20 years. Reason? Continual increases in corn crop yields. The moisture evaporated into the atmosphere by the constantly increasing density of corn crops has measurably altered the humidity and there are observable changes in climate.

    The climate is also impacted somewhat whenever a rainforest in Brazil is cut down to make room for a road or a forest in the US is whacked for wood and for more space to build towns or as fields are replaced with concrete and steel jungles.

    How much of the changes in climate that are always bantied about are actually the product of "green house gases" and such vs. natural climatic shifts vs. land use-oriented impacts? An inability to quantify the relative percentage impacts makes it tough to argue what (if anything) is realistically within anyone's control.

    As for the most popularly cited environmental "problem" - is the "hole in the ozone" really the result of pollution or just a natural occurance? They weren't checking for it 100 or 200 years ago. The fact that it's positioned over the magnetic pole seems like it could easily be the result of electromagnetic effects as much as anything. It's not like there's a "hole in the ozone" over London.

    My tuppence.
  9. msfe


  10. The Discovery channel runs this show about the new discoveries and theories on Egyptian culture. They outline it's environmental history (the rainforests you talk about, etc.) as well. They now say that there was a thriving culture of millions in N. Africa, from Carthage to Tripoli and over to Cairo (present day names just for reference) starting over 25000 years ago! They also have written language to describe the floods of the Nile, and the fact that the tree line moved further and further from the cities as the generations passed. So, anyways, since you can date the retreat of the sand on the Sphinx and determine that it was rainy for the first half of it's lifespan, we can generally conclude that it must have either had Egyptians pouring large amounts of water over it for over 9000 years or it was once in a rainy region.

    I know, this doesn't prove anything, but it's an interesting theory that seems to have some legs to it.
    #10     Jun 20, 2003