The disclosure of research “missteps” hasn’t shaken the consensus that manmade emissions from burning fossil fuels are contributing to climate change, President Barack Obama’s top science adviser said.
The release of scientists’ e-mails and errors in a report by a United Nations climate panel show researchers are human, John Holdren said today at an energy conference in Washington’s Maryland suburbs. The errors don’t alter the fact that carbon dioxide emissions are warming the earth, he said.
Opponents of limits on emissions from burning coal and oil have seized on the miscues to challenge Obama’s plan to put a price on gases that cause global warming. Climate-change legislation has stalled in the Senate and more than 80 lawmakers are seeking to curb the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to impose new greenhouse-gas limits.
“Fossil-fuel and biomass burning, and land-use change are almost certainly responsible for a large part of the changes that are being observed,” Holdren said. “Nothing in the recent controversies cast doubt on any of those fundamental propositions.”
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007, has been faulted for exaggerating the pace at which Himalayan glaciers are melting and for using reports by environmental advocacy groups as a basis for some findings.
Those errors followed the release of e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia in the U.K. in November. Scientists referred in the messages to a “trick” used to smooth out data showing an anomaly in the trend toward higher global temperatures, and wrote about blocking articles by climate-change critics from a report by a UN panel.
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, yesterday said the EPA must review the science of climate change because the prior “underlying science” used to make determinations about climate change turned out to be “invented, not measured.”
Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, said “climate scientists in England, the U.S. and around the world may have manipulated data to support their climate-change theories.”
Duke Energy Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jim Rogers, who said he believes humans are contributing to climate change, highlighted yesterday the damage done by the authors of the UN report.
“In a sense they overreached, they became partisan, they became biased,” Rogers said at the energy conference. “That really has raised some substantial issues with respect to the science, and it’s emboldened those who think we shouldn’t act.”