Stopping the 'National Climate Scare'

Guest opinion by Dr. Patrick J. Michaels

The Global Change Research Act of 1990 requires the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP; also established in the Act) to provide quadrennial reports to Congress on the effects of climate change on our country.  This hasn’t been explicitly followed (with such reports published in 2000, 2009, and 2014), and I have written extensive criticisms of each of them showing they are one-sided, incomplete, unscientific and highly misleading (see here, here and here).

Now the USGCRP wants to churn out a steady stream of similar quality work. The Trump Administration cannot possibly want this climate hype machine to proceed, but so far nothing has been done to stop it from becoming the perpetual national climate scare.

One reason for the lack of intervention is there is no one to stop it. Technically, the USGCRP reports to the head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the President’s science advisor. This position remains unfilled, and there’s no strong evidence it’s ever going to be filled in this administration.

The code name for USGCRP’s latest proposal is “Sustained Assessment.” It began about a year ago when the USGCRP convened a Sustained National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee (SNCAAC). This is a standard practice when cooking up a new federal activity–create a committee to recommend it.

The SNCAAC has now published the outline strategy document for its vision, which was subject to public comment—sort of. Verbal comments were relegated to a measly two hours. The thrust of the strategy is that the National Climate Assessment should continually produce “products” for “decision-support,” which is code for making things happen politically by scaring the hell out of people. In climate change, everything will be typically “worse than we thought.” It is also normal in government for intermittent study offices to want to become permanent operations.

In the most recent National Assessment Report (2014) the climate change impacts are almost all bad and projected to get much worse. Actual climate change in the United States is small. There is no increase in weather-related damages after adjusting for population and property values. Satellite data show virtually all landmasses are becoming greener. Bad weather is not climate change, but you would never know this from reading the 2014 report. Extreme weather in the U.S. was much worse in the 1930’s and 1950’s than in recent decades.

Rather than becoming continuous, the assessment process should either be terminated or “red teamed” by a broad collection of non-USGCRP people (i.e. those not in on the USGCRP’s $2+ billion a year), and in no case should it become permanent. Unfortunately, the USGCRP is semi-autonomous because it is an interagency office funded by 13 different federal Departments and Agencies. None of the member agencies has the power or the inclination to rein it in.

To remedy this, President Trump needs to name a science advisor who will have the authority to tone down this machine, which by law is merely required to produce the quadrennial reports to Congress.

It is ironic that a Trump Administration that has expressed considerable skepticism about humans causing dangerous climate change, has shown no control over the USGCRP’s climate apparatchicks from the previous Administration. Their “sustained assessment” proposal means more scary stories more all the time, the last thing we need in climate science.

Note: about 5 minutes after publication, some editing notes that were inadvertently published with the document were removed.


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Tom Halla
July 26, 2017 8:24 am

An unfortunate combination of Trump not being a long-time politician with an established group of followers and the Democrats slow-walking all appointments.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 26, 2017 2:19 pm

Unfortunately, any long-time politician with similar views to Trump would either have not been elected or would have been shut out just as Trump is. Elections are meaningless now.

July 26, 2017 8:29 am

Our government, schools, media, all of it…..have been taken over

Reply to  Latitude
July 26, 2017 10:04 am

I think the vast, VAST majority of people around the world with even a 7th-grade education realize that “The Planet” has been here for a very, very long time. By the time you’re 10 you realize that once conditions were different enough that we had dinosaurs, then they changed and they went extinct. By high school if you’re paying attention, you know that in the past we had “Ice Ages,” complete with animals like the mastodon, saber-toothed tiger and woolly mammoth–then they passed. An adult REALLY paying attention, knows about the Roman and Medieval warming periods and the Little Ice Age, and anyone with grandparents knows that “extreme weather” was much worse in the early 20th century. At this point the most egregious alarmists are looking like the jerks they are, and very, very few people are being fooled.

Reply to  Goldrider
July 26, 2017 10:14 am

Goldrider: You are, unfortunately, far too optimistic.

Reply to  Goldrider
July 26, 2017 10:18 am

A majority of people can’t recognize a photo of Al Gore

Roger Knights
Reply to  Goldrider
July 26, 2017 10:30 am

You haven’t watched enough episodes of Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” series.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Goldrider
July 26, 2017 7:00 pm

My daughter is 30 and does not believe the scare tactics. She escaped the indoctrination by a few years in our schools. My neighbor’s 16 year-old son fishes my pond frequently, so we’ve talked some. He told me he did not think humans control the climate and agreed when I told him I thought it is a weak cover for a socialist agenda. Smart kid. The folks I have the most trouble reasoning with are the MSM addicts who think they know all there is to know about everything currently pertinent.

John Bell
July 26, 2017 8:31 am

Remember how CC was for years a future threat, but we needed to act on it now, but there was not much action, so the doomsters started telling us that CC is happening now and oh boy it is worse than we thought, and still there is not much worry about it, and to this day it is at the bottom of peoples concerns. The boy is crying wolf and there is no wolf.

Reply to  John Bell
July 26, 2017 10:06 am

There is no wolf, and everyone realizes that. As I see it, the only place this even has traction anymore is California, where Moonbeam keeps confusing people that CO2 is “smog.” Greens who want to virtue-signal to others of their tribe are the sole audience for this crap at this point–the rest of us are waaaaay too busy working to MAGA!!!! 😉

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Goldrider
July 26, 2017 10:37 am

This goofy idea has a lot of life left yet. Kill it dead or it will continue to corrupt politics, science and economics until we can’t recognize our world. Socialism is riding the beast and won’t stop until the world lies in ruins.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  John Bell
July 26, 2017 7:23 pm

John, the boy is crying “There will be wolves in the future, just wait and see!”. Unfortunately, his models have been unable to correctly predict how many of what kind of wolves might exist and when they will come.

Svend Ferdinandsen
July 26, 2017 8:46 am

The climate community likes various NGO’s, so would it be possible to invite NIPCC?

I Came I Saw I Left
July 26, 2017 8:55 am

Is it possible that Trump has his hands so full that he can’t possibly do immediately everything that folks would like him to do? Or perhaps that he is developing a long range strategy that requires building infrastructure first?

Mary Brown
Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
July 26, 2017 9:33 am

It would help if he stopped watching the news and tweeting… and quit giving talks to the boy scouts, and instead, concentrated on running the country.

I Came I Saw I Left
Reply to  Mary Brown
July 26, 2017 9:56 am

The guy is actually quite a brilliant marketer. He knows his game.

Reply to  Mary Brown
July 26, 2017 2:34 pm

Yeah, you’re right he should just in the White House ignoring everything and everyone around him just to focus on writing new laws instead of inspiring young people to MAGA.

I Came I Saw I Left
Reply to  Mary Brown
July 26, 2017 3:33 pm

The legislative branch writes laws, not the president.

Reply to  Mary Brown
July 26, 2017 9:16 pm

Yeah, you’re right he should just in the White House ignoring everything and everyone around him just to focus on writing new laws instead of inspiring young people to MAGA.

Nice strawman.
He should act like a grown man and not a petulant adolescent.

Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
July 26, 2017 11:56 am

Are you inferring a hint of strategy from one of his Tweets? Which one?

Reply to  Trebla
July 26, 2017 2:20 pm

It’s classified.

Reply to  I Came I Saw I Left
July 26, 2017 1:41 pm

I Came I Saw I Left
Agreed. I looked at some analysis of his campaign, very clever. Not just marketing in the conventional sense but political cunning, with just a few clever tweaks.
The world has been calling for change to the political stagnation we have all reached, including the greens and the socialists. But when it comes, not on their terms, they scream and thrash about like dervishes because they aint calling the shots.
I wasn’t a great fan of Trump, he seemed personally repugnant, but he seems to have a family that likes him well enough, he couldn’t conduct a successful business without many allies, and he is one of the only politicians I can think of in the modern era who has actually started to implement precisely what he promised in his manifesto. And I mean big change, immediately he has taken office.
Most newly elected leaders pussy foot around their manifesto promises until they run for re election, then they start making changes. I see Trump making all the crappy decisions early so his run up to re election can be trouble free.
I have always maintained any decision is better than no decision. Good decisions delivered early have time to produce positive results. Bad decisions delivered early can be changed to good decisions. It seems Trump is way ahead of me.
Good luck to the man.

Reply to  HotScot
July 26, 2017 2:21 pm

No decision generally IS a decision.

July 26, 2017 9:01 am

As I mentioned before Obama has left so many landmines planted in the government it will be difficult to drain the Swamp. The head of the Senate needs to get moving to approve replacement for the miscreants.

Reply to  Catcracking
July 26, 2017 9:45 am

It wasn’t just Obama…this has been going on for decades….look at the choices they give us
…and it’s not just democrats….both teams know Trump is a threat to their Swamp…they want to keep their Swamp at all costs

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Latitude
July 26, 2017 7:27 pm

True story…

george e. smith
Reply to  Catcracking
July 26, 2017 9:53 am

“Get moving” is something the “head of the Senate” does not understand.
He’s like the hound dog that is howling out in the yard; he’s howling because he’s sitting on a thorn; and he’s too darn lazy to just move !
And my apology to whichever Country and Western star wrote that song.
There might be some merit in those who advocate for elimination of the Electoral College, (whose 435 members are appointed by the several States; one for each Congressional House district; elect the President on the basis of, it isn’t a one man one vote system); getting rid of the Senate at the same time since it isn’t a one man one vote system either.
MM wouldn’t even know which way to move to get off his thorn.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  george e. smith
July 26, 2017 8:34 pm

My hound is smarter than that, he howls when the UPS or FedEx truck comes up the lane.

Reply to  Catcracking
July 26, 2017 10:21 am

Clearly, Trump should shut down, and send home all employees (without pay) of all departments not approved by Congress.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Neo
July 26, 2017 8:36 pm

So they go on welfare? Same coat – different pocket.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Neo
July 27, 2017 4:15 am

Pop, that’s right. But they do no harm there.

July 26, 2017 9:04 am

Thirteen agencies, each contributing a dribble of money, and each agency requiring a special office to “oversee” its contribution to the USGCRP and their assessment. Fourteen different independent geese ready to squawk if their tailfeathers are plucked. It takes DC to turn a swamp into a sewer.

David Cage
July 26, 2017 9:05 am

May has once again betrayed our country and proved herself worthless as a leader.

Steve Case
July 26, 2017 9:18 am

I just sent an email off to Chip Knappenberger:

It’s taken me a while to finally unearth these two quotes about methane:
To get the global temperature impact, we’ll divide 7,064.96 MMT CO2 Eq. by 1,767,250 MMT CO2 Eq., which gives us 0.004 degrees Celsius, or four one-thousandths of one degree, of avoided warming by the year 2100. Mr. Knappenberger, with the Center for the Study of Science, has estimated the avoided warming from EPA’s methane rules to be even smaller: 0.002 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
Using the EPA’s own policy model, it’s easy to show that if the U.S. now and forever ceased emissions of all greenhouse gases, the amount of global warming that would be avoided would be about 0.15°C by the end of this century. Multiplying through the fact that the new regulations will reduce methane contribution from 3 percent down to 1.5 percent of this total, you can easily see that they will avert a whopping 0.002°C of global warming by century’s end.
I do a daily search on Methane in the news and they often contain the statement that pound for pound Methane is 86 or some lesser number more times potent/powerful than CO2. If there’s a comment section I write variations of the following
“Pound for pound methane is 86 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas over a 20 year period”
What exactly does that mean, but more to the point, armed with that knowledge and given the its current concentration and annual increase, how much will it run up global temperatures by the end of the century?
The two quotes above don’t exactly answer that question, but they’re close.
The old saw says, “When debating, never ask a question to which you do not know the answer.” And so I’ve worked it out.
You need to know:
400 ppm Concentration of CO2
1.2 K Raw climate sensitivity for CO2
44 Formula weight for CO2
16 Formula weight for CH4
1.8 ppm Concentration of CH4
0.006 ppm Average annual increase for CH4
86 GWP Global Warming Potential IPCC AR5
83 years until 2100
Setting up a formula and solving yields 0.05 K by 2100
The current meme of 86 times more powerful … blah… blah… blah, needs to be knocked down. It’s complete B.S. Nobody’s doing it. My comments on news articles, posts at What’s Up With That and Tony Heller’s blog is like a fart in a hurricane.
The methane bomb isn’t the only lie being pushed. President Trump isn’t enough he needs help.
Best regards
Steve Case
Milwaukee, WI

I hadn’t seen this post when I clicked send

Reply to  Steve Case
July 26, 2017 10:12 am

Steve: Nice job. Straight and easy to understand.

Reply to  Steve Case
July 26, 2017 11:21 pm

simplistic and

July 26, 2017 10:02 am

In essay Credibility Conundrums I deconstructed every single example in chapter 1 of the 2014 National Climate Report. All at best misleading, at worst just wrong.

Steve Case
Reply to  ristvan
July 26, 2017 10:54 am

Is that on line somewhere? Google doesn’t turn it up – well did I really expect it would?

Reply to  Steve Case
July 26, 2017 11:03 am

One of 52 essays in my 2014 ebook Blowing Smoke, with a foreword from Judith Curry.

Steve Case
Reply to  Steve Case
July 26, 2017 1:52 pm

ristvan July 26, 2017 at 11:03 am

July 26, 2017 11:11 am

Reports of birds dying on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Of course they blame global warming. Is there more to the story? thanks

Reply to  Loren
July 26, 2017 2:25 pm

It’s supposedly due to mosquito born illness, which, of course can only be caused by global warming. There was never an increase in mosquitos when CO2 was below 300 (/sarc).

July 26, 2017 11:14 am

From the article: “It is ironic that a Trump Administration that has expressed considerable skepticism about humans causing dangerous climate change, has shown no control over the USGCRP’s climate apparatchicks from the previous Administration.”
Trump has a lot on his plate. It may be that Trump feels he has already taken care of the climate change issue by pulling out of the Paris Accord, and no action by the USGCRP committee is going to reverse that action, so he may not feel a lot of concern about the report. Or he may not even know about it. That’s a distinct possibility. Which is another reason he needs to appoint a science advisor.
Trump has a very large swamp to drain and is being resisted at every turn, so be patient.

July 26, 2017 11:17 am

British government today shot itself in the wallet by announcing abolition of petrol & diesel vehicles by 2040 in favour of going all electric.
Two minor problems though:
– Electricity capacity required is equivalent to 10 new Hinckley Point nuclear power stations. Chinese are to finance the present ‘HP’ project but consumers will be paying for electricity well over the odds, god knows what would happen if they decide to build up to 10 new ones.
– In the last financial year the UK treasury collected around £28 billion in the fuel duty. In the present day terms income tax revenue needs to go up by 16% to compensate for loss of the fuel duty.
Prognosis: all electric vehicles will not happen by 2040 or any time soon after.

Reply to  vukcevic
July 26, 2017 12:43 pm

That is fake news, led of course by the BBC, it is only “conventional” petrol and diesel cars/vans that will be banned, most people will buy hybrids, probably with the smallest electric motor available. Nothing much will change, but the usual suspects are hyping it up, possibly trying to scare people off buying petrol/diesel cars.
In reality, sales of conventional cars will boom up to the deadline, especially if/when blackouts become more common.

I Came I Saw I Left
Reply to  climanrecon
July 26, 2017 3:48 pm

The Guardian said that the ban pertained to hybrids as well.

Reply to  climanrecon
July 26, 2017 5:36 pm

in reality its an empty and meaningless statement.

Reply to  climanrecon
July 27, 2017 4:44 am

Icame – yes, you are right, this would also ban hybrids

July 26, 2017 12:48 pm

In principle these assessments should be good at dampening alarmism, if they stick to providing actual data, recent and historical. The key is to stop them doing “projections”.

Reply to  climanrecon
July 26, 2017 11:18 pm

how would you estimate future
climate change without

July 26, 2017 5:39 pm

What happened to Dr. Happer becoming science advisor.
No money to help the poor get basic healthcare but plenty for junk. We are not asking Washington to get its priorities straight. We demand it

July 26, 2017 11:17 pm

pat michaels wrote:
“The Trump Administration cannot possibly want this climate hype machine to proceed….,”
notice how the author gives
no consideration to the scientific
truth of climate change……… seems to matter
only that trump doesn’t want it, as if
a wannabe king’s opinion
trumps facts and science

Reply to  crackers345
July 27, 2017 3:00 am

The author’s entire post is about giving consideration to the scientific truth

July 27, 2017 3:01 am

Excellent article, thank you Pat Michaels.

July 31, 2017 9:38 am

Climate is controlled by natural cycles. Earth is just past the 2003+/- peak of a millennial cycle and the current cooling trend will likely continue until the next Little Ice Age minimum at about 2650.See the Energy and Environment paper at
and an earlier accessible blog version at
Here is the abstract for convenience :
This paper argues that the methods used by the establishment climate science community are not fit for purpose and that a new forecasting paradigm should be adopted. Earth’s climate is the result of resonances and beats between various quasi-cyclic processes of varying wavelengths. It is not possible to forecast the future unless we have a good understanding of where the earth is in time in relation to the current phases of those different interacting natural quasi periodicities. Evidence is presented specifying the timing and amplitude of the natural 60+/- year and, more importantly, 1,000 year periodicities (observed emergent behaviors) that are so obvious in the temperature record. Data related to the solar climate driver is discussed and the solar cycle 22 low in the neutron count (high solar activity) in 1991 is identified as a solar activity millennial peak and correlated with the millennial peak -inversion point – in the UAH6 temperature trend in about 2003. The cyclic trends are projected forward and predict a probable general temperature decline in the coming decades and centuries. Estimates of the timing and amplitude of the coming cooling are made. If the real climate outcomes follow a trend which approaches the near term forecasts of this working hypothesis, the divergence between the IPCC forecasts and those projected by this paper will be so large by 2021 as to make the current, supposedly actionable, level of confidence in the IPCC forecasts untenable.””

Reply to  Norman Page
August 1, 2017 7:46 pm

sorry, Norman. E&E has
published so much junk over
the years that
no one takes it seriously
it is the last refuge of those
who can’t get published

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