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Wednesday, January 31st 2007

The City of "Lights"?

The IPCC report to be released soon, which I’ve shaken my head at, will prompt the Eiffel Tower to turn off its lights for five minutes the day the report will be released.

The Eiffel Tower is to turn its famous night-time illuminations off for five minutes on Thursday to help draw attention to energy consumption and the environment on the eve of the release of a U.N. report on climate change.

The IPCC report is basically a giant literature review. Yet somehow it prompted those who collaborated on it to conclude that it was 99% likely (God knows how they came up with that figure) that man made fossil fuels were the cause of Global Warming. In one light perhaps that speaks to the strength of the evidence. In another, quantifying the odds that man is causing Global Warming, so specifically seems ridiculous.

As I’ve made clear though, that isn’t my point of contention. My point of contention is the confidence they present in their models on the consequences of Global Warming. Would you really care that the earth is heating up if the consequences weren’t going to be tragic? Of course not.

We need to judge the level of accuracy with which these models are being presented to the public and whether the level of freak out going on is really in line with the level of certainty that the experts can speak to what is going to happen.

But apparently criticism for the level of alarm being presented (considering there is no all inclusive GCM which can even get what happened in the past all right) isn’t what is in question. Apparently the level of freak out has been actually suppressed (scary to think what is could be) by the Bush administration.

“High-quality science [is] struggling to get out,” Francesca Grifo, of the watchdog group Union of Concerned Scientists, told members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. A UCS survey found that 150 climate scientists personally experienced political interference in the past five years in a total of at least 435 incidents.

“Nearly half of all respondents perceived or personally experienced pressure to eliminate the words ‘climate change’, ‘global warming’ or other similar terms from a variety of communications,” Grifo said.

Rick Piltz, a former US government scientist, told the committee that former White House official Phil Cooney took an active role in casting doubt on the consequences of global climate change. Piltz said he resigned in 2005 as a result of pressure to soft-pedal findings on global warming.