Report from the Office of the Inspector General: Global Climate Change Program Data May Be Unreliable

From the “we’ve told you so time and again” department comes this agreement with my assessment of the state of the climate programs as conducted by the US Government. Readers may recall this report from the GAO that was spurred by the work of the Surfacestations project: GAO report on the poor quality of the US climate monitoring network

Now there’s another report, for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that not only looks into the problems with reporting climate data from such programs, but also accountability (or lack of it) with climate program money.

Here’s the damning quote:

Lack of oversight, non-compliance and a lax review process for the State Department’s global climate change programs have led the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to conclude that program data “cannot be consistently relied upon by decision-makers” and it cannot be ensured “that Federal funds were being spent in an appropriate manner.”

For example, OIG found that:

“[T]he Department was unable to address the funds transfer promptly or account for $600,000 in Department funds,” referring to “Economic Support Funds transferred to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).”

Based on oversight issues it identified in a 2012 audit, last week OIG released its “Compliance Followup Audit of Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) Administration and Oversight of Funds Dedicated to Address Global Climate Change.”

OIG’s original report found that “OES did not fully implement the guidance for conducting [Data Quality Assessments] to help ensure that the data used in reporting programmatic results were complete, accurate, consistent, and supportable.”

Source of story

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Source of OIG report: http://oig.state.gov/documents/organization/220858.pdf

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60 thoughts on “Report from the Office of the Inspector General: Global Climate Change Program Data May Be Unreliable

  1. Hopefully we will now see at least some people admit the possibility of errors in their beliefs. It may be difficult though, as true believers/PR people/activists pretending to be scientists can’t afford to back down. Too much loss of face.

  2. Question is, will this report cause anything to change? Will the public notice and react to this, or policy makers? Will this report be actionable?

    I fear this will just be a footnote in some history book.

  3. Question is, will this report cause anything to change? Will the public notice and react to this, or policy makers? Will this report be actionable?

    I fear this will just be a footnote in some history book.

    ###########

    the reports on the sorry state of land stations date back to at least 1995.

    collecting, archiving and sharing data has not been the number 1 priority for a long time.

  4. Don’t get your hopes up. This is the government we’re talking about. Besides, the chotsky bags at the conferences have really cool stuff!

  5. Maybe a little premature:-

    The party’s over
    It’s time to call it a day
    They’ve burst your pretty balloon
    And taken the moon away
    It’s time to wind up the masquerade
    Just make your mind up the piper must be paid

    Words by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and Music by Jule Styne

  6. the Office of the Inspector General [has concluded that] program data cannot be consistently relied upon by decision-makers
    Luckily they don’t need “the program data” because the president has already declared that climate change is a fact.

  7. Everything may seem out of whack for the fear mongering Chicken Littles: their climate models and predictions of doom have all failed, they have openly advocated dishonesty and called for themselves to make up “scary scenarios” (Stephen Schneider), they are credibly accused of manipulating temperature data to dupe the public, and ice at both poles is either at record levels or has been growing at a record rate.

    But here’s the thing. The Prophets of Doom can just say: “so the models are no good, and there are other issues with our ethics or evidence, BUT the established physics still holds… eventually we are going to fry.”

    So, our task: undermine the bs “established physics.”

    Remind people that the evidence (no warming attributable to CO2) suggests CO2 has a logarithmic effect and has little impact beyond ~ 200 ppm. Remind people that any water vapor feedbacks for this tiny amount of direct warming from CO2 is likely to be minimal or even negative. Remind people that the causal correlation that for over a decade the ipcc contended was proven… has been rebutted, by spreading the word about this 3 minute video which exposes Al Gore for willfully deceiving the public on CO2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK_WyvfcJyg&info=GGWarmingSwindle_CO2Lag

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/the-logarithmic-effect-of-carbon-dioxide/

  8. Congratulations to Anthony, who fought a long, tough battle to draw attention to these problems, and incurred much abuse along the way from people who had no interest in seeing that accurate meterological data was acquired. This is a big step forward.

    And it was worth it. The decisions being made based in part on this data have global reach.

  9. Steven Mosher says:
    February 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    great that you acknowledge there may be deficiencies (in station data), Steve – however, is this not the same data used within BEST ? Look, we all accept that ‘it’s all we have’ – what we don’t accept (without adequate demonstration) is that ‘it is fit for purpose’ !

  10. First, $600K is nothing.
    Alot to you and me, maybe.
    To the Governments in this world collectively spending a billion dollars a day on this climate fraud, well, it’s round off error.

    Now… to the paragraph immediately below…

    Lack of oversight, non-compliance and a lax review process for the State Department’s global climate change programs have led the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to conclude that program data “cannot be consistently relied upon by decision-makers” and it cannot be ensured “that Federal funds were being spent in an appropriate manner.”

    I’m becoming a careful reader. I notice that the words “program data” is outside the quotes. So did the OIG actually say program data, or has this been inserted by the referenced article’s author.

    While we demand accuracy and integrity from our government so should we expect the same while criticizing it.

    I smell spin here. I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

  11. Another lustrum or two of no warming will be necessary to turn the ship of state from the path of economic sacrifice on the barren altar of carbon strangulation.

  12. Sounds like my mechanic backing up their “limited lifetime warranty” for the seven-year-old part that is disintegrating from wear. “We don’t know if we were the ones who installed that part. It may not be the same part. Does it SAY ‘lifetime warranty’ on the receipt? We’re just waiting to see if the manufacturer will step up and back their product…” I guess they have a point. Who is to say what the “lifetime” of a muffler is? .

    Sebastian Junger’s book “The Perfect Storm” asserts that the whole idea of ascribing liability for bad weather forecasts to the government began with the “Sea Fever” and “Fair Winds” incident in 1980 when a faulty weather buoy caused the National Weather Service to fail to predict a major storm coming up from the Gulf. In fact they forecast mild weather in the North Atlantic, where the fishing fleets were out. The Sea Fever

    …was a fifty-foot wooden boat with a crew of three that was hauling lobster traps off Georges Bank. It was late November and Weather Service predicted several days of moderate winds, but they were catastrophically wrong. One of the worst storms on record had just drawn a deep breath off the Carolinas…

    Four years later a U.S. District Judge in Boston

    …ruled that the NWS was “negligent in their failure to repair the broken data buoy… and furthermore failed to warn fishermen that they were making forecasts with incomplete information. This was the first time the government had ever been held responsible for a bad forecast, and it sent shudders of dread through the federal government. NOAA appealed the decision and it was quickly overturned by a higher court.

    In their court case, “Brown vs. U.S.”, the government claimed it was going to fix the Buoy during scheduled maintenance:

    Plaintiffs contend that the government breached its duty of due care in deciding not to make any effort to repair the Georges Bank buoy in September merely because the buoy was scheduled to be replaced in January. Plaintiffs argue further that the government’s failure to warn mariners that the Georges Bank buoy was not operational exacerbated its negligence. Again, this court agrees.

    http://www.leagle.com/decision/19841476599FSupp877_11317

    In truth, the whole issue of ascribing blame to someone else for what could easily be viewed as one’s own critical mistakes is a bit iffy. Sin of omission? Sin of commission?

    Don’t depend on government data if you want to be a fisherman.

  13. PiperPaul 3:07pm
    “…as true believers/PR people/activists pretending to be scientists can’t afford to back down. Too much loss of face.”

    I see fodder for a great cartoon – bunch of faceless warmists milling around. Guess you could call them “faceless chickens” (?)

  14. Complete, accurate, consistent, and supportable? I cant work under these conditions!

    At the end of the day CO2 is a trace gas afloat in a dynamic self regulating system that we are just beginning to understand.. We are still building the bench that we one day hope to put a mark on..
    Jumping to the science is settled was a huge mistake.. Setting policy upon that mistake only shows how criminal politics can be in the wrong hands..

  15. Eric Simpson says:
    February 7, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Remind people that the evidence (no warming attributable to CO2) suggests CO2 has a logarithmic effect and has little impact beyond ~ 200 ppm.

    Could someone help me out with an online dispute I’m having? I posted:

    90% of the greenhouse effect of CO2 has already been reached by what’s in the air now. Further additions can’t move the needle much, because CO2’s absorption bands are nearly saturated.

    My opponent posted:

    No, the atmosphere isn’t already 90% saturated with CO2. Increasing atmospheric CO2 levels just elevate the height of the tropopause, which is the boundary between the stratosphere and the troposphere, the level at which there’s a net outflow of infrared radiation into space.

    The analogy is adding thin sheets to a bed. The more sheets you add, the warmer you’ll be overnight.

    I posted:

    But not proportionally. (The usual analogy is blankets, BTW.) Each successive blanket holds in less heat than the preceding one. There is a diminishing returns effect, due to the logarithmic response to additional CO2. 90% of the warmth that can be held in by CO2 has been held in, IOW.

    The blanket or sheet analogy is imperfect, because the CO2 blanket reflects only wave lengths of energy within a certain bandwave. It is porous to energy at other bandwaves.

    My opponent posted:

    OK, I was inaccurate when I noted that the atmosphere isn’t saturated with CO2, because you’d claimed that 90% of the effect of CO2 has already been reached. This claim is also wrong, for the reason I provided. [Huh?]

    You’re inaccurate when you state that CO2 reflects infrared radiation. It absorbs it, and then re-emits it, potentially in all directions (upwards, sideways, downwards). [A distinction without a difference.]

    At the tropopause, the CO2 levels, in absolute terms, in molecules per unit volume, have fallen below the saturation level, and infrared radiation begins to transit the atmosphere above the tropopause, causing the Earth to lose heat, balancing the heat it’s receiving from the Sun.

    How should I counter that last paragraph? (Is it one of SkS’s sophistries?)

  16. Walter Allensworth says: February 7, 2014 at 3:50 pm
    “I’m becoming a careful reader. I notice that the words “program data” is outside the quotes. So did the OIG actually say program data, or has this been inserted by the referenced article’s author.
    While we demand accuracy and integrity from our government so should we expect the same while criticizing it.
    I smell spin here.”

    The full sentence from the OIG report was:
    “Without fully implementing DQAs that consider appropriate sources of data, reviewing methodologies used by sources to collect and validate data, and verifying what recipients have provided with evidence of processes and raw data sources, the data used by OES to report programmatic results for climate change programs cannot be consistently relied upon by decision-makers.”

    They are an audit body. They haven’t examined the actual data. They say that a specific Government body hasn’t implemented (to their satisfaction) a specific Data Quality Assurance program that they think it should.

  17. What???? You mean to tell me the data is even a smidgen corrupt? Does the I.R.uS know diss??

  18. WUWTers should be aware that the data flaws the IG has found relate only to how money was spent abroad by the State Dept. on climate change, not to climate change scientific data.

  19. I must say, Mosher and Stokes once again contribute in a positive manner. I appreciate that and the input provided by everyone that is relevant and clarifying. Many get too wound up and don’t see clearly sometimes.

    Data is data in the end. Good or bad, it is all we have.

    I do like the fact that exposure to specific funding is now in some cross hairs. It has been a long time coming. Nobody would run their house the way some climate houses have been allowed.

    Think of how much money that has been spent in ways that were unbelievable over the years. The examples are endless.

    The real question will be,,,,, how many recipients of funds can stand up to even the slightest scruitiny. Its coming and soon.

  20. Kevin.

    The goal of best was to take all of the publically available open data and construct a open checkable record using methods that are proven supported outside of climate science and suggested by skeptics. It is a given that the records themselves have issues.
    So first one aims at making the best record subject to the realities given.
    Is it fit for purpose?.
    Yes. It depends on the purpose.

    Ill put it this way. Take away the records and one still knows that co2 warms the planet and fossil fuels need to b phased out

  21. Mosher,

    Fossil fuels need to be acknowledged as one of the most important contributors to the well being of the inhabitants of this planet. Until your last statement, I had a modicum of respect for you.

  22. If fossil fuels are phased out, we will need an expensive artificial way to increase co2 to feed the population of this planet.

  23. The watermelons cannot but help expose their agenda. Thank you Steve Mosher for reminding us of this fundamental truth.

  24. Steven Mosher says:
    February 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    “Ill put it this way. Take away the records and one still knows that co2 warms the planet and fossil fuels need to b phased out.”

    Let the record show that Mr. Mosher (and presumably Jai) have voted to take their chances vis-a-vis the half-precession old Holocene and the AGW trace gas CO2.

    I’m not actually opposed to what you both would prefer. I have no offspring in the offing…… It isn’t so much that I think CO2 could prevent the next glacial inception, it’s the entertainment value in watching the most progressive of us either do the wrong thing (if you are right) or, at best, an intellectually impotent thing (if you are wrong).

    Go ahead! It’s alright by me if you want to strip the most vaunted GHG from the late Holocene atmosphere. If you are right, you just plunked-down on MIS-1 repeating the extended interglacial MIS-11, for however long you fancy. Please do note, however, that MIS-11 was not all that stable a climate ride………:

    http://www.clim-past.net/6/131/2010/cp-6-131-2010.pdf

    http://www.clim-past.net/6/31/2010/cp-6-31-2010.pdf

    Even during the only post-MPT interglacial to make it past about half a precession cycle it got awfully cold between MIS-11’s two insolation peaks.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could smooth that over with something…………

  25. Steven Mosher says: February 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    I’ll put it this way. Take away the records and one still knows that co2 warms the planet and fossil fuels need to b phased out

    Data not required? Innate knowledge?

  26. “. . . fossil fuels need to b (sic) phased out [Steven Mosher, 2/7/2014]

    However much one believes and wants the above, it is not going to happen. There will be a time in the non-near future when the use of mined-carbon-based fuel decreases. But not soon. A substantial portion of the autos and trucks being built at the current time use gasoline or diesel and many will still be in use 20, even 30, years from now. The building of such vehicles continues, pushing the beginning of the decline further out. Some sort of nuclear technology may replace much of the coal and gas utility scale electricity. Building these sorts of things is costly and slow. Starting from concept to grid connection a new project in a new location might take 15 years. How many can go forward at one time? 90% replacement of existing gas and coal plants is nowhere in sight.
    Consider the contrast with about 125 years ago when large urban places realized the need to replace horses and horse-power from central cities. The alternative was already available, acceptable, and easily adapted to the situation. The transition was relatively swift. Those who were middle aged at the time saw a >90% transformation before they checked out. The history of that period is documented on the web. Young folks, especially those that have never experienced horses, should spend a few hours reviewing this period. For example, with the current temperature not rising above freezing for the day, each of my horses eat 25 to 30 pounds of hay each day. Horses are very inefficient and produce a large volume of waste. In a city, hay being brought in would pass waste going out. Such coming and goings did not add to productivity and few were nostalgic for it when it passed. But, I digress.

    Mr. Mosher is past middle age (I think) and will not live to see Earth as he wishes.

  27. February 7, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Walter Allensworth says:
    ————
    That may be so Walter but the Mob wasn’t taken down for murder, extortion, racketeering, etc., it was done for not paying taxes ! Likewise here, the AGW fraudsters won’t be taken down for their rubbish science, they’ll be taken down for non-compliance with legislation.

  28. Streetcred says:
    February 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    “……they’ll be taken down for non-compliance with legislation.”

    On the other hand one can always look forward to visiting the AGW booth at the upcoming Ice Fair on the frozen Thames………:-)

  29. “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. ”

    Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation
    January 17, 1961

    The same speech that conspiracy theorists link to the military industrial complex is in control.

  30. rogerknights says: “Could someone help me out with an online dispute I’m having?”

    I can’t, but I know someone who can. Mother Nature. She continues to pour cold water all over Global Warmist claims.
    Despite highest ppm levels of CO2, in last several hundred years, there has been no warming for last 15-years. No Global Warming, means AGW (man-made CO2 induced warming) is at best hyped faulty science, at worst a scam for power and money that used F.U.D. against global populace.

    Problem with discussing Global Warming – is the Proponents of AGW, keep morphing their scam and claims, while denying data, facts, and physics that runs counter to their scam and claims.

  31. Steven Mosher – “Take away the records and one still knows that co2 warms the planet and fossil fuels need to b phased out.”

    Make all the statements you want, but without Scientific proof and Mother Nature’s agreement; all you have is unsubstantiated claims.

  32. rogerknights says:
    Could someone help me out with an online dispute I’m having?

    This was explained a few days ago but I did not make a note of it. It is in a comment. I think rgbatduke explained and then someone else replied, saying “I was about to make this point, but you did it first.” If you contact ‘rgb’ or see a comment by him and jump in and ask, you might get to it. Sorry I don’t have that comment at hand.

  33. rogerknights says:
    February 7, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    “….At the tropopause, the CO2 levels, in absolute terms, in molecules per unit volume, have fallen below the saturation level, and infrared radiation begins to transit the atmosphere above the tropopause, causing the Earth to lose heat, balancing the heat it’s receiving from the Sun.”

    “How should I counter that last paragraph? (Is it one of SkS’s sophistries?)”

    Well, something like that must happen as we reach thermal equilibrium. But what is it that should be recommended when:

    “The onset of the LEAP occurred within less than two decades, demonstrating the existence of a sharp threshold, which must be near 416 Wm2, which is the 65oN July insolation for 118 kyr BP (ref. 9). This value is only slightly below today’s value of 428 Wm2. Insolation will remain at this level slightly above the inception for the next 4,000 years before it then increases again.”

    http://folk.uib.no/abo007/share/papers/eemian_and_lgi/sirocko_seelos05.nat.pdf

    Drop below, for whatever reason, and await however many D-O oscillations between this interglacial and the next? Or would it even be conceivable, no matter how far-fetched, that we could bridge the insolation gap “for the next 4,000 years before it then increases again?”

    Even a caveman would get this……

  34. Ill put it this way. Take away the records and one still knows that co2 warms the planet and fossil fuels need to b phased out
    ==================================
    Nurse, he’s got to the computer again!!

  35. Is this the beginning of the end of the great climate funding trough? Or is it the end of the beginning?

  36. Since warming is net beneficial, and cooling is net detrimental and likely catastrophic, phasing out the only warming agent we have is foolish.
    =================================

  37. rogerknight says

    The issue is around radiative effects at TOA and the relation to possible global warming. And yes, the alarmists again have it backwards (reversed cause and effect).

    Radiative gases near the surface have the highest KE (temperature) and emit the most energy upwards. But the density of the air mass in the lower atmosphere means that radiated energy doesn’t make it to space, but is taken up by conduction with other gases, mainly N2 and O2. At the top of the atmosphere, there is no impediment to radiation upwards, but most of the KE has been converted to PE, and thus the radiation is weak. The maximum radiation to space occurs at an altitude where there is an optimum combination of the two factors: Higher KE and lower density. This would be better termed the Maximum ORL than ERL.
    When there is a warming of the surface and atmosphere, e.g at noon on the equator, the atmosphere expands and all gases are more energized, the result being that the optimum radiation altitude moves higher than before. But this change is the result of increased temperature and not the cause.

  38. Steven Mosher says:
    February 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Ill put it this way. Take away the records and one still knows that co2 warms the planet and fossil fuels need to b phased out

    Your ideological slip is showing again. Can you not make it through one thread without exposing your nakedness? I have no objection to nudity… just yours. GK

  39. Shocked, just completely shocked. The government would spend money wastefully and would not fully account for it. Shocked!

  40. Steven Mosher says:
    February 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    “Take away the records and one still knows that co2 warms the planet and fossil fuels need to b phased out.”

    Take away all the science of the past two centuries, and one still knows that God orders all, both great and small, within the circles of the world. Repent now, for the end is nigh!

    I do not actually claim that, but it is a similar statement. This is religion.

  41. I would not overplay this report. If you read the audit, most of the findings are related to compliance with govt standards in managing grants. Having worked for a NGO that received grant money from the govt, an audit result like this is pretty typical. The complexity of managing these grants is somewhat ridiculous, and the paperwork burden is heavy.

    I’m pretty certain the audit did not look at all about at the scientific data, only the management practices of the grant, and therefore the term “program data” does not necessarily mean the underlying data of measuring temperature or other is incorrect. It may be saying that data about the financial aspects of the projects or grant management or sub grant management is not accurate. That would be true if you can’t account for $600K and haven’t done site visits with subgrantees.

  42. Rufus says:
    February 8, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. Taken in isolation, the revelation might be discounted. But, when you find a clear and pervasive pattern of deception and obfuscation, you cannot simply disregard it in weighing the merits of the case against the accused.

  43. “The watermelons cannot but help expose their agenda.”

    Comments like this and others similar are rude and offensive and add nothing to the discussion. Others manage to disagree without resorting to ad hominem and childish comments like this. If you can’t offer and intelligent contribution, or reasoned rebuttal then perhaps you should say nothing.

    It is grossly disrespectful to simply attack others, especially those who work in the field simply because you disagree.

  44. Full quote: “Without fully implementing DQAs that consider appropriate sources of data, reviewing methodologies used by sources to collect and validate data, and verifying what recipients have provided with evidence of processes and raw data sources, the data used by OES to report programmatic results for climate change programs cannot be consistently relied upon by decision-makers.”

  45. Steven Mosher says:
    February 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    . Take away the records and one still knows that co2 warms the planet and fossil fuels need to b phased out

    Sez who? Sez you? The warming is trivial, warming is beneficial up to some much higher than any plausible projection or prediction, Fossil fuels contribute hugely and uniquely to human well-being, and to plant robustness and growth by contributing CO2, irreplaceable nutrient. Substitutes, for the foreseeable future, are ruinously costly and environmentally damaging.

    The push to restrict its production is perverse and pointless.

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