White House eyes nuclear weapons expert to lead challenge to climate science

From Science Mag

By Scott Waldman, E&E News | Apr. 12, 2019 , 8:20 AM

Originally published by E&E News

A controversial plan by the White House to review the connections between climate change and national security might be led by a former official with the Department of Energy (DOE) who oversaw talks about nuclear weapons tests with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Former Ambassador C. Paul Robinson, who served as chief negotiator for the Geneva nuclear testing talks from 1988 to 1990, is favored to lead the review panel, according to two sources involved in the talks. Robinson also directed DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 1995 to 2005 and was head of the nuclear weapons and national security programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Robinson has been quietly recruiting researchers outside the government to participate in the review panel, the sources said. He has been working with Steven Koonin, a New York University professor and former undersecretary for science at DOE during the Obama administration, to find participants.

They have focused their recruitment efforts on a small number of climate skeptics with academic credentials, including Judith Curry, a former professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in Atlanta; Richard Lindzen, a retired Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who has called those worried about global warming a “cult”; and John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and a newly installed member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Science Advisory Board.

Robinson’s involvement is notable because he doesn’t have a history of speaking about climate change, unlike other potential members of the panel. He earned a Ph.D. in physics from Florida State University and has spent much of his career specializing in nuclear weapons and national security.

The sky did not fall when you withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.

Letter to President Donald Trump signed by Paul Robinson

Robinson was among dozens of signatories on a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump in September 2017 encouraging him to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal signed by President Barack Obama. The letter compared the benefits of exiting the Iran deal, which Trump ultimately decided to do, to the president’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

“We are unconvinced by doom-and-gloom predictions of the consequences of a U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA,” the signatories wrote, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “The sky did not fall when you withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.”

The White House plan to review climate science resembles an earlier effort by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to conduct a “red-team, blue-team” review of climate science to highlight uncertainties in research methodology. Koonin and Will Happer, a member of the White House National Security Council who’s spearheading this review, were a driving force behind Pruitt’s plan.

Initial plans for the latest climate review included an effort to involve the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, D.C., but that appears to have been scuttled, according to one source involved in the discussions. Robinson sits on the executive committee of the governing board for the National Academies.

Insofar as an internal working group would consist of federal career scientists reviewing their own work, we think this alternative would be worse than doing nothing.

Letter to President Donald Trump, urging him not to use federal scientists for climate research review

another option that has been considered is to ask federal researchers to conduct the review, which would allow the panel to avoid federal disclosure laws. Last month, a group of prominent climate skeptics, energy industry officials and Trump allies wrote a letter to the president urging him to use outside researchers for the review.

“Insofar as an internal working group would consist of federal career scientists reviewing their own work, we think this alternative would be worse than doing nothing,” they wrote.

So far, the effort to recruit reviewers does not appear to include the nation’s top climate researchers at NASA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The head of each organization told E&E News that they are not involved in the process. Neil Jacobs, the acting NOAA administrator, said the panel should stick to peer-reviewed research. And he defended the National Climate Assessment, one of the overarching pieces of research that would be reviewed by the White House.

Read the full story here.

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68 thoughts on “White House eyes nuclear weapons expert to lead challenge to climate science

  1. This would have value if it disallowed the use of the words if, may, might, could, and perhaps and relied solely on empirical, uncorrupted temperatures in relation to slam dunk records of atmospheric CO2.

    • Getting the facts straight would seem to be another “slam dunk” value.

      “The sky did not fall when you withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.”

      Two problems with that: he has still not done anything real, tangible or legally meaningful in terms of withdrawing from Paris agreement.

      All he did do was ( temporarily ) refuse to make payments into the UN Green Slush Fund. A good move but certainly not a legal withdrawal. Any future pres. could reverse that choice and even decide to make up the ‘owed’ back payments.

      Comparing a worthless, non-binding “agreement” to a duly signed international treaty shows a lack of grasp or a willful distortion of reality. For someone with a history of top level international treaties, it favours the second interpretation.

      I would have preferred someone with more integrity ( like Keenan ) to head the red team.

      • Obama signed up for a 4 yr withdrawal period after giving notice of pulling out

        Perhaps get your facts lined up before mouthing off about the administration next time.

        Obama tried to take Trump out of tthe equation, typical progressive wankery.

        In accordance with Article 28 of the Paris Agreement, the earliest possible effective withdrawal date by the United States cannot be before November 4, 2020, four years after the Agreement came into effect in the United States and one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

        • In spite of their intention to withdraw and having paid nothing to the fund, the USA leads the world in % reduction in the emission of CO2.

          It is humorous that those who have pledged to do something have been outperformed by the one that pledged to do nothing.

          And what is their reward for having achieved this remarkable reduction? Scorn from those who are achieving nothing.

          When people read about this in a couple of centuries they will laugh – loudly.

      • Greg
        April 13, 2019 at 11:46 am

        Two problems with that: he has still not done anything real, tangible or legally meaningful in terms of withdrawing from Paris agreement.
        ——————

        Greg still you missing the point, I think.

        He, the POTUS Trump is and has not infringed on the will of the people.

        Meaning,
        whether considering a wishful thinking (crossing the fingers) or a worrying about a prospect about a worse POTUS than Obama or Hillary in the future to be,
        it still is up to the people
        and the popular decision, where the current POTUS DJT in this aspect is and has and may still wil be only offering as much as possible in the means of clarity, transparency and time too, to be considered in the consideration of information and knowledge as in as possible and as necessarily transparent as it could be, in the given matters and issues of concern for the Nation and the people…in all given means, I think.

        At the end of the day, still is up to the people about the choice of next kind of POTUS coming after DJT,
        but where still it will much depend within the realm of the clarity and transparency and accuracy of information about any and all matters of importance involved within such a process.

        From the point of my understanding, your argument stands in the line of;
        like considering that M. Gandhi was not efficient or good enough or actually successful enough because he was not given to violence or been violent, and therefore lacking authority and continuity of legacy in his activity and achievements.

        Hopefully this makes some sense.

        cheers

        • whiten,
          You should learn to use shorter sentences to express yourself. By the time I get anywhere near the end of a sentence, I have lost track of what you were saying.

      • In accordance with Article 28 of the Paris Agreement, the earliest possible effective withdrawal date by the United States cannot be before November 4, 2020, four years after the Agreement came into effect in the United States and one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
        An Obama stitch-up.

        Greg you need to get your facts lined up before the ant-Trump bs,,
        It wears a bit thin otherwise.

      • Neither the JCPOA nor the Paris Climate Accord rise to the level of a Treaty in the United States as neither were passed by 2/3 of the Senate.

    • Up to, from, may and could
      these are the words that mean we should
      be very careful to believe
      words that aim to deceive.
      So be careful, as you should, of the words
      Up to, from, may and could

  2. I try to be non-political on this site but President Trump has been the bravest and most politically independent president that I have ever witnessed in my long lifetime. Ronald Reagan was also very good but at least Reagan had the support many Republicans. President Trump is being attacked from both sides. God Bless Him!!!!

    • Salute!

      WoW! who’s who of climate folks, and I wonder how much of their portfolio was enriched by “big oil money”? sarc/

      Gonna be interesting.

      Gums ends…

    • Yup. The swamp is infested by both the Democrat and Republican establishments. It is wonderful to see President Trump discomforting all the swamp critters.

    • There were quite a few Republicans who opposed Reagan at every step as well.
      One of the even ran as an independent rather than accept Reagan as the Republican nominee.

      • Donald Trump was one of those who opposed Reagan at every step .. and made many nasty statements about Reagan throughout his presidency. Trump, of course, was a registered Democrat and major political contributor to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and other democrats in New York.

  3. So then, the White House prefers a neutral “outsider” scientist … an ACTUAL scientist … with a PhD in physics to review our “climate security”? My comment … it’s about time.

    • I know this won’t sit well with advanced degreed scientists who have nothing to lose when their theories don’t pan out. They climb under a rock and their peers circle the wagons to protect them.

      We Professional Engineers are also versed in the sciences. In many instances we have a more diversified background because we are tasked to apply that science from proven empirical data.

      Add an additional layer of ethics, protection of the public’s interest as paramount and you have liability and the loss of license if you violate any of these tenants. Perjury will void your license as well.

      That’s why we are better suited to chair these committees or run an organization than PhDs. Sorry but that’s my opinion.

      • No apology necessary! I assume this panel will be instrumental in policy discussions. Engineering is critical in making good policy. Apparently there were few engineers around when we decided to subsidise windmills.

      • I would trust an engineer’s opinion over a scientist’s any day of the week, and I’m a scientist (chemist).

      • Absolutely!

        Ever notice that you don’t find too many Professional Engineers in the halls of academia?
        I have a P.E. license and also taught Computer Science for a few years. Not quite as interesting as designing/building an Interstate, but it was fun to get the students thinking about the real world. Unfortunately many of them were just there for the money. I always made it quite clear that money and fame were the least things to strive for while integrity and ethics were far more important.

      • The public and politicians seem to think that scientists exist on some kind of higher plane. What the public and politicians need to understand is that scientists are orders of magnitude less reliable than engineers. When an engineer designs something, she’s making the prediction that it will work. In that regard, her predictions are approximately 100% correct. Scientists, on the other hand, are about as accurate as dart-throwing monkeys.

        It’s OK for scientists to be wrong most of the time because the only way for us to find scientific breakthroughs is to make a bunch of wrong guesses. What’s wrong is for them to claim way more expertise than they can possibly possess. The classic would be Dr. Mann’s risible claim that climate science is as solid as the law of gravity.

          • And lextraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
            Remember the story of the little old guy p😜sing from the pier and concluding that he is causing the tide to rise.

      • You make an extremely valid point. Posted as an engineer to a Research facility, years ago, I chaired several project technical committees comprised, in the main, of research scientists.

        I’m still amused by some of the proposals tabled for solving technical problems. It became routine to question whether or not the recommended solution to the problem had ever been applied anywhere or was it simply a theoretical fix. It surprised me how many times the answer went something like : No, material with the required properties doesn’t exist but it would fix the problem if it did.

      • A VERY GOOD opinion to have. To see a premier presentation of that opinion go to http://www.rps3.com and watch “An Engineers Critique of Global Warming “science”. Burt Rutan was the premier aircraft engineer of his time, and his “critique” is the best one I have found in 6 years of studying this issue from outside the “scientific community”. I am just a “curious” old fart, that when people with an axe to grind” tell me something, my immediate reaction is to say “prove it”. Reagan was right with his “trust but verify” line.

    • I think the only way the UK will manage Brexit is if they send one of their Tornado bombers over to nuke Brussels, otherwise you’ll never be out of the EUs clutches.

    • Roy

      How about asking America if we can borrow President Trump for a week now, then we might see us exit the EU on WTO terms the following week.

      We have spent 3 years on leaving a business transaction we were promised would not turn into a political agreement. We are now heading for 4 years dealing with the subject.

      We won WW1 in 4 years, what are these cretinous politicians doing to our country!?

      Don’t get me started on the subject…………

      • Hi HotScot,
        What exactly are your plans with regards the Good Friday accords? The UK and Ireland signed
        these in good faith to end the troubles in Northern Ireland. A key point of this is an open border
        between the UK and Ireland. Unless you are suggesting that the UK goes back on a signed international treaty I would be interested to hear how you intend to square the circle?

        • What “signed international treaty” are you making reference to? (Hint – there isn’t one).

          The border between the UK and Ireland is and will continue to be open to citizens who can choose to live and work in either country. The problem is goods, of all types. The EU has said that it will have to establish controls to stop non EU goods entering the EU if the UK leaves. The UK does not have the reverse problem in dealing with EU goods.

          Off topic – but happy to clarify…

  4. Slow but sure. It will take another term for Trump to see any results from this but with the actions of the Democrats to date I think he’ll get it.

  5. “How anchoring a ship to an ice floe will help fight climate change
    The Arctic is closely linked to weather in our latitudes,” says expedition leader Markus Rex, of the Alfred Wegener Institut in Germany. “We can already see climate changes in the Arctic that are shaping our weather and climate. However, we won’t succeed in accurately forecasting climate developments if we don’t have reliable prognoses for the Arctic.”
    Backed by an international consortium led by the institute, Mosaic will cost more than £100m to complete. At any one time, around 50 scientists will be working on its prime vessel or on the ice to which it is moored.”
    Only £100 million, that’s doing science on cheap
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/apr/13/mosaic-measure-climate-change-expedition-anchor-research-ship-arctic-ocean-ice-floe

    • “We can already see climate changes in the Arctic that are shaping our weather and climate.

      Typical meaningless claptrap from a supposed ‘scientist’.

      “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
      “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
      “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”
      (Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6)

    • “We can already see climate changes in the Arctic that are shaping our weather and climate. However, we won’t succeed in accurately forecasting climate developments if we don’t have reliable prognoses for the Arctic.”

      If they can see it already, what more they can see if they are going to spend over 100 million just for some imaginary reliability?

      We have very good satellite observations already. Why not just model it? Models are very accurate, they can forecast easily 10-1000 years. Ask IPCC.

  6. ““How anchoring a ship to an ice floe will help fight climate change”

    This is the academic equivalent of watching the grass grow!

  7. “Neil Jacobs, the acting NOAA administrator, said the panel should stick to peer-reviewed research.”

    This would skew the research to the Government’s advantage since it has been extremely difficult to get research published that goes counter to the AGW narrative.

  8. With Koonin involved, looks like solid progress is being made. Koonin did the review for APS that APS then quashed. So he has been through this mess once already. Christy, Curry, and Lindzen would nicely round out a group of 5 to ask the right questions and demand honest answers from the US climate community. NCA would collapse in a heartbeat.

  9. … the acting NOAA administrator, said the panel should stick to peer-reviewed research.

    … since they already have that one rigged solidly in their favour.

  10. “peer, noun l. one that is of equal standing with another: EQUAL; esp. one belonging to the same societal group esp. based on age, grade, or status….”
    “peer, verb “ l. to look narrowly or curiously…2. to come slightly into view: emerge partly.”

    Peer-reviewed research?

  11. So Robinson is tipped for the job,. I thought it was going to be Will Happer. They both seem excellent choices to me

  12. Here’s an analogy. It’s a bit like the little boy with his finger in the dyke and beside him Jack Pole Shift is ripping up the dyke with a chain saw.

  13. “They have focused their recruitment efforts on a small number of climate skeptics”

    None of the people mentioned are “climate skeptics”. They are scientists, who should always be properly skeptical. “Climate skeptic” is another loaded phrase like “climate denier”.

  14. Per E&E news:
    “A controversial plan by the White House to review the connections between climate change and national security might be led by a former official with the Department of Energy (DOE) who oversaw talks about nuclear weapons tests with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.”
    =============
    Controversy seems to be the accepted meme of late.
    Plans are only test balloons.
    Reviews are just another way of testing the prevailing political winds.
    National security just makes it sound like there are people that will rock your world.
    And never forget those darn Russians, when is the last time they ever raised the bet ?

  15. Neil Jacobs, the acting NOAA administrator, said the panel should stick to peer-reviewed research.

    My understanding is that The Lancet has published credible evidence that 50% of all peer reviewed science is not replicable and therefore worthless. I also understand Bayer believes it to be 75%.

    So which 75% of ‘peer reviewed climate science’ would the alarmists like to chuck in the trash?

  16. I can imagine Dr. CP Robinson has spent a lot of time thinking about what regional, theater-wide, or a global nuclear war means too, a sobering reality check of things that are important and that are not so much like climate change. His involvement and commitment to maintaining a credible deterrent when it is always the socialist-inspired Left that wanted the US to unilaterally disarm itself with Russia and China holding strategic nuclear weapons and the delivery means.
    So when we hear the absolute garbage from guys like Former Sec State John Kerry saying “climate change is an existential threat” meanwhile negotiating bad nuclear treaties with Iran that will allow horrible US and Israel hating regime there to get them, I have to constantly shake my head and wonder what it is that motivates the Left. Because if it is Power the Left craves, then putting the US in a position of geopolitical, economic, and military weakened state to be bullied by Russia or China, that would be a Pyrrhic victory.

  17. At the end of the day we climate deniers are up against a terribly violent and determined opposition. The ultimate aim of the Climate fraud instigators (socialists/communists or sympathizers)…is to take control of (i.e. confiscate/steal) $60+ Trillion of hard won fixed assets and another $50 Trillion in monetary assets (which will mostly flee the country before they can get their hands on them…leading to economic collapse). They cannot believe that this will happen WITHOUT ANY DETERMINED DEFENSIVE RESPONSE (a potentially fierce defense)…without any solid scientific evidence. They are the perpetrators, so the “blood” will be on their hands (to quote AOC…we did not start this) if there are actions taken to expropriate these $100+;Trillions without justice.

    This Climate Science Review is the skeptic opposition’s earnest desire to uncover the truth and nip the bud off this potentially terrible conflict.

    On the other hand, if the review panel finds that the science is solid (2 %…so, low confidence), we might then see a rational plan implemented to save the planet…as opposed to the TOTALLY BOGUS UN Plan that does not cut emissions enough to do anything. The UN Plan only transfers wealth without “decarbonizing” the world enough to reduce emissions at all (< 0.05 C effect by 2100) let alone achieve 1950 levels. Thus should be evidence enough that Alarmism is all a crock of crap…scientific evidence shouldn't even be needed).

  18. The persuasive value of a cherry picked and very small team of climate skeptics led a determined climate skeptic will be zilch. So what is the point?

    It will be no more persuasive than Trump has been funding on his wall, or on border security in general, or on the 2017 humongous tax cuts for the corporations and wealthy, or on terminating ObamaCare … issues on which overwhelming majorities of Americans continue to disagree with Trump and the Trumpkins to this day.

    Which is why come January 20, 2021, Trump will be focused on keeping his enormous ass out of Federal and New York State prisons … and his successor will begin a process of reversing virtually everything Trump managed to get done – which is very little – over the past 27 months.

    • I think you’re going to be so disappointed, Duane.

      It’s amazing how people can look at the same thing and come away with completely different impressions. I think one’s impression has a lot has to do with what one expects to see.

      People must be seeing Trump more favorably because his poll numbers keep going higher despite all the negatives thrown at him from the Left.

      Trump’s election was the best thing that could happen to this world. He’s showing us a new, better way. If you don’t like his bedside manner, well, that’s too bad. Get used to having a blunt New Yorker at the helm for another term.

    • I bet you were really upset after two years of constant lies by the MSM, that Trump is NOT a Russian agent. I wonder what else they’ve been lying about for the last several years which you apparently fell for, hook line and sinker.

    • My paycheck went up $50 per month due to reduced withholding.
      I also have the largest return in years.
      I’m not a corporation, I’m an individual.
      I’m not sure you understand what you are talking about.

  19. The alarmist cabals all over the world are petrified of the risks to their status quo. They are a small clique or cabal, which in some cases are 2nd rate meteorologists posing as climate scientists, and are motivated by Marxist ideology using climate alarmism to further their leftist viewpoint. These monopoly elite groups have successfully managed to simultaneously scare the wits out of policy politicians, and reap massive funding benefits from ill-informed government groupthink apparatchiks specializing in virtue signalling. The proposed broad & balanced scientific task force will evaluate matters properly, without the extremist alarmism propagated by the followers of Gore and Mann. Numerous skeptic scientists have felt intimidated by their alarmist peers, and many will be overjoyed that this new approach will expose some of the really fraudulent predictions being foisted on the world’s economy today.

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