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William O'Keefe
CEO, George C. Marshall Institute

William O'Keefe

William O'Keefe is CEO at the George C. Marshall Institute, a think tank that promotes better use of science in public policy. He is a former COO at the American Petroleum Institute. ALL POSTS

Supplemental comments on climate science

This is a supplemental posting to respond to comments asserting that my focus on climate models was misleading and disingenuous. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Climate models are important because it is their projections of catastrophic warming from that is driving domestic legislative proposals like cap and trade and the global efforts to mandate reductions in greenhouse gases. If it wasn't for those projections of doom there would be little interest in climate outside of academic circles.

The models used by the IPCC have been widely criticized as unreliable and the IPCC acknowledges their weaknesses as well as the lack of understanding of many important climate drivers. All of the models assume an increase in atmospheric water vapor associated with increases in CO2. Without the positive feedback from the increased water vapor, a doubling of CO2 would lead to a 1ยบ f increase in temperature. Freeman Dyson, one of the world's pre-eminent physics has written extensively on the inadequacies of these models.

The potential importance of the lack of warming in the past decade is the fact that models have predicted a steady increase in warming associated with the increase in CO2 emissions. Since models have not been able to accurately predict recent temperatures, what is the basis for believing that they can predict them decades hence? As to the point that changes in recent temperatures are statistically insignificant, it should be noted that changes in temperatures between years and within decades are measured in tenths of a degree, not degrees. Indeed recent temperatures are not much different than those of the 1930s.

More information of the connection between science and policy can be found in the George C. Marshall Institute report Climate Science and Policy: Making the Connection.

By William O'Keefe  |  January 11, 2010; 4:45 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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