Texas State Climatologist Disagrees with Gov Perry, AG Abbott, and Ag Comm Staples on climate science

You may have seen the political bloviating earlier this week when Governor Perry announced he would sue the EPA over their endangerment finding on CO2.   Or that Attorney General Greg Abbott signed on, as did Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples, who all ended up calling the science behind climate change flawed, saying:

The state’s legal action indicates EPA’s Endangerment Finding is legally unsupported because the agency outsourced its scientific assessment to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been discredited by evidence of key scientists’ lack of objectivity, coordinated efforts to hide flaws in their research, attempts to keep contravening evidence out of IPCC reports and violation of freedom of information laws.

You may have also seen our response.  If you’re a regular reader here, I hope so!

Perry, Abbott, and Staples claim that the science is flawed on climate change, citing recent controversy surrounding the IPCC (a-hem, that’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, gentlemen. Maybe the legal brief should be thrown out due to citation of a ficticious panel? We’ll call it INTERNATL-PANELGATE! We’ve really got ’em now!).  Too bad the controversy hasn’t affected the main thrust of the underlying science, only some of the claims. Too bad the conclusions of the IPCC have also been independently adopted and verified by the US National Academy of Sciences and the collected opinions of 13 US Gov’t agencies (like those liberals at the CIA and the USDA), collectively put together in the US Global Change Research Program. Despite its problems, the main conclusions of the IPCC’s report, that temperatures were increasing and climate was changing due to greenhouse gas emissions, remains intact.

Too bad Perry, Abbott, and Staples (or maybe more accurately Larry, Moe, and Shemp?) didn’t seek the advice of…oh, actual scientists, like maybe the Texas state climatologist?  Didn’t know we had a climatologist?  (Maybe Governor Perry didn’t either?) Well, we do, and before you dismiss him as some granola-chewing-Austin-based-hippie-liberal, he’s actually anything but.

Meet Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, of the Texas A&M Department of Atmospheric Sciences, appointed to the position of State Climatologist by noted liberal and hater of greenhouse gases George W. Bush. (hope you caught the irony there).

In a sweeping interview with Brad Johnson’s Wonk Room blog, he fired back against Perry’s allegations that the endangerment finding is flawed:  “Anthropogenic increases of greenhouse gas concentrations clearly present a danger to the public welfare, and I agree with the EPA’s findings in that sense.”

To be fair, Dr. N-G also specifically added a caveat to his comments, “Just to be clear, I do not “utterly dismiss” the Texas petition. I have contributed to pointing out errors in the IPCC reports in my own blog, and it is appropriate for the State of Texas to inquire how much of the IPCC findings will ultimately be called into question. Nor would my considered scientific opinion constitute adequate independent grounds for an EPA finding.”

Wow.  A reasonable climatologist, but one who supports the broad scientific consensus.  What scientific consensus is that, you ask?  Well, as a result of this interview, Dr. Andy Dessler (who we have long been a fan of here at TexasVox) and the entire A&M Dept of Atmo Sciences released the following statement:

Dr. Andrew Dessler, a climatologist at Texas A&M University and author of The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change, tells the Wonk Room in an email interview that the entire Department of Atmospheric Sciences agrees with the IPCC:

I, along with all of the other faculty in the department, agree with the main conclusions of the IPCC.”In 2007, the Texas A&M Department of Atmospheric Sciences issued a statement that global warming from emissions of greenhouse gases risks “serious adverse impacts on our environment and society” — the key basis for the EPA’s endangerment finding:

1. It is virtually certain that the climate is warming, and that it has warmed by about 0.7 deg. C over the last 100 years.
2. It is very likely that humans are responsible for most of the recent warming.
3. If we do nothing to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, future warming will likely be at least two degrees Celsius over the next century.
4. Such a climate change brings with it a risk of serious adverse impacts on our environment and society.When asked if the latest attacks on the IPCC affect their stance, Dr. Dessler responded that “the Department stands by its statement. You can quote me on that.”

You can read the entire interview here.  But, when it comes to this one right here, it’s Science 1 – Perry, Abbott and Staples 0.

Or maybe no one is keeping score, and we just chalk this up as more election year posturing?


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