Earlier this week I pointed out how the atmosphere went beserkers over this report in Unable to effectively refute the contents, the alarmosphere resorts to calling a new report ‘counterfeit’. That’s still going on, for example in the Washington Post late Thursday, an article titled A meltdown over climate change which said:
The original report was called “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” and it was printed with a blue cover that featured an image of North America. The Cato report, now in draft form, is called “ADDENDUM: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” and its cover is nearly identical to the original report. (Check out the side-by-side images at bit.ly/reportcovers .)
Hey, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
I was sent an unsolicited advance copy of the bound draft version of the report, as you can see on my desk below:
Both the Washington Post article and the slew of alarmosphere articles from earlier assume one thing of the reader: you can’t read and can only interpret the pretty pictures as being indistinguishable from the original report from NOAA.
But that all falls apart once you read the front and back cover:
How anyone with even limited intelligence could get the idea that the report is from the US Government/NOAA is truly laughable, because if they can’t read “Cato Institute” clearly printed on the front and back cover, then they probably aren’t capable of reading and interpreting the original report either.
All that pointless carping about the design aside, I will say that Cato should have chosen a better first word for the title than “Addendum”.
Rebuttal, Errata, or Corrigenda – any of those would have been more appropriate, but that’s water under the bridge now.
Since none of the angry articles thus far have done much beyond judging the book by its cover, I thought I’d share some points about the content. After all, it is the content that matters, right?
Some of my impressions from reading the Cato GCCIUS report:
1. The book is easily readable by laymen. The way it is written and illustrated makes for an easy read. Few scientific reports can pull this off.
2. It is well illustrated, with nearly every page having a descriptive image or graphic, for example here are the pages on the National Temperature trend for the last century:
The graph on the right is from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.
3. In fact the majority of the graphs in the Cato CCIUS are from NOAA and its different divisions, the remainder are from peer reviewed publications. I was hard pressed to locate references to “grey literature” such as has been rife with IPCC reports. One photo, showing small Eldarica pine trees with a man holding up signs for “Ambient, +150, +300, and +450” ppm of CO2 concentration (plus signs signify added to the Ambient of ~ 390ppm) I thought sure was grey literature sourced, but turned out to be provided by the Dept. of Agriculture Water Resources Lab, Phoenix, AZ.
4. The information, data, graphs, pictures, and illustrations are all well sourced. The section on Agriculture for example had 5 filled pages of 144 unique references to journal articles and government science reports at the end of it. The section on Agriculture itself was only 10.5 pages long, which works out to be about 13.7 references per page. That’s a factually rich environment.
5. Even with all the references, it is still easy to read, because the language isn’t stuffy like some science reports I’ve read where you have to run to a dictionary or science encyclopedia every few paragraphs to figure out what they are talking about. Rather than lecture to you, the report talks to you in an educational way.
6. In this Cato addendum report, you won’t find any photoshopped flooded houses like skeptics found in the original Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States from NOAA:
Last week on Friday August 1st you may recall that I commented on the release of the Draft report Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
In that post I mentioned that “The draft document reads more like a news article in many places than it does a scientific document, and unlike a scientific document, it has a number of what I would call “emotionally based graphics” in it that have nothing to do with the science.”
One of those graphics that tug at your heartstrings turns out to be a fabrication, pure and simple. Here is page 58 of the NCDC authored report:
Click for a larger image. Note the arrow pointing to this photo:
Image above taken directly from the CCSP report.
Simply go to IstockPhoto.com, where you can buy this photo online:
Click image for original source location
But apparently, the NOAA/NCDC authors of the report didn’t see the caveat that comes with the photo:
That photo was removed after we called out NOAA/NCDC on it, and the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States was delayed and rewritten. Our collection of naysayer bloggers and journalists seem to have forgotten this major faux pau by NOAA in the original in their zeal to condemn the Cato addendum.
7. Finally, there are the key findings.
1. Climate change is unequivocal and human activity plays some part in it.
There are two periods of warming in the 20th century that are statistically indistinguishable in magnitude. The first had little if any relation to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, while the second has characteristics that are consistent in part with a changed greenhouse effect. (p. 16)
2. Climate change has occurred and will occur in the United States.
US temperature and precipitation have changed significantly over some states since the modern record began in 1895. Some changes, such as the amelioration of severe winter cold in the northern Great Plains, are highly consistent with a changed greenhouse effect (pp. 34-55, 189-194)
3. Impacts of observed climate change have little national significance.
There is no significant long-term change in US economic output that can be attributed to climate change. The slow nature of climate progression results in de facto adaptation as, as can be seen with sea level changes on the East Coast. (pp. 44-45, 79-81, 157-160, 175-176)
4. Climate change will affect water resources.
Long-term paleoclimatic studies show that severe and extensive droughts have occurred repeatedly throughout the Great Plains and the West. These will occur in the future, with or without human-induced climate change. Infrastructure planners would be well-advised to take them into account. (pp. 56-71)
5. Crop and livestock production will adapt to climate change.
There is a large body of evidence that demonstrates substantial untapped adaptability of US agriculture to climate change, including crop-switching that can change the species used for livestock feed. In addition, carbon dioxide itself is likely increasing crop yields and will continue to do so in increasing increments in the future. (pp. 102-118)
6. Sea level rises caused by global warming are easily adapted to.
Much of the densely populated East Coast has experienced sea level rises in the 20th century that are more than twice those caused by global warming, with obvious adaptation. The mean projections from the United Nations will likely be associated with similar adaptation. (pp. 175-176)
7. Life expectancy and wealth are likely to continue to increase.
There is little relationship between life expectancy, wealth and climate. Even under the most dire scenarios, people will be much wealthier and healthier than they are today in the year 2100.(pp. 141-147, 160-162)
8. Climate change is a minor overlay on US society.
People voluntarily expose themselves to climate changes throughout their lives that are much larger and more sudden than those expected from greenhouse gases. The migration of US population from the cold North and East to the much warmer South and West is an example. Global markets exist to allocate resources that fluctuate with the weather and climate. (pp. 156-171)
9. Species and ecosystems will change with or without climate change.
There is little doubt that some ecosystems, such as the desert west, have been changing with climate, while others, such as cold marine fisheries, move with little obvious relationship to climate. (pp. 119-140)
10. Policies enacted by the developed world will have little effect on global temperature.
Even if every nation that has obligations under the Kyoto Protocol agreed to reduce emissions over 80 percent, there would be little or no detectable effect on climate on the policy-relevant timeframe, because emissions from these countries will be dwarfed in coming decades by the total emissions from China, India, and the developing world. (pp. 27, 212)
1National Climatic Data CCenter, U.S. Department of Commerce, at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html
Those key findings seem quite reasonable and pragmatic to me, and Cato came to those conclusions without needing photoshopped floods or emotional imagery like the original.
The only negative things I could say about this book are the choice of the word addendum in the title, and the lack of a word topic index at the end, making it hard to find specific references. Since what I was sent was bound draft copy, that may change in the final version when it is published.
Overall, my opinion is that Cato wrote an eminently readable and well sourced document, and I recommend it. Warmists of course won’t like it for the most part, even though there are many things in it they should be agreeing with since a good portion is sourced in the peer reviewed and government literature. But I doubt if few have even read it, since the modus operandi for discrediting it so far seems to be all about judging this book by its cover.
You can read the draft version of the report, free, here: