This letter is written with respect to the June 28 Letter, subscribed by your organization and some thirty other U.S.-based scientific societies. I attach a copy of that June 28 Letter for your reference. Besides this letter to you, we are addressing letters similar to this one to each of those other societies.
On September 21, 2016 a major new Research Report was published on the ICECAP website and at other locations. The Research Report was undertaken by its authors because they were unable to find anywhere in the literature of climate change a mathematically rigorous validation of a statistically significant, quantitative relationship between rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and surface as well as tropospheric temperatures.
The Research Report provides the methodology and findings of a definitive study designed to validate or invalidate the principal scientific hypotheses underlying the EPA’s December 2009 Endangerment Finding with respect to so-called “greenhouse gases,” including the hypothesis that rising greenhouse gas concentrations are likely to be associated with harmful or dangerous increases in surface temperatures. The results of the Research Report apply equally well to the Physical Science reports issued by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change over the last few decades. In accordance with the scientific method, the Research Report used the best available temperature data from multiple sources, each of them structurally independent from the others, for the validation/invalidation exercise. The data used in the Research Report are fully available via links in the Report itself, and came from sources including satellites, weather balloons, ocean buoys, and also surface thermometer records.
The principal conclusions of the Research Report are as follows:
* “These analysis results would appear to leave very, very little doubt but that EPA’s claim of a Tropical Hot Spot (THS), caused by rising atmospheric CO2 levels, simply does not exist in the real world.”
* “Once EPA’s THS assumption is invalidated, then EPA’s climate models that rely upon the THS assumption are also invalid.
* “[T]his analysis failed to find that the steadily rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations have had a statistically significant impact on any of the 13 critically important temperature time series data analyzed.”
* “[T]hese results clearly demonstrate – 13 times in fact – that once just the ENSO [El Nino/La Nina] impacts on temperature data are accounted for, there is no “record setting” warming to be concerned about. In fact, there is no ENSO-Adjusted Warming at all.”
The June 28 Letter to which you subscribed contains statements strongly implying that there had previously been some sort of empirical validation of a quantitative causal relationship between increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and increasing global average surface temperatures. For example, you state: “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.” Later in the June 28 Letter, you state: “There is strong evidence that ongoing climate change is having broad negative impacts on society, including the global economy, natural resources, and human health.”
However, as noted above, the authors of the Research Report have been unable to find in any scientific study a rigorous empirical validation of a statistically significant quantitative relationship between rising greenhouse gas concentrations and tropical, contiguous U.S. or global temperatures. Indeed we can find no paper that actually provides mathematically rigorous empirical proof that the effect of increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations on world temperatures is different from zero with statistical significance.
As you might realize, we are concerned that prestigious scientific societies, including your own, have subscribed to a letter to Members of Congress purporting to convey scientific propositions as having been definitively established, when in fact there has never been a mathematically rigorous empirical validation of the propositions stated, and indeed there now appears to be a definitive scientific invalidation of those propositions.
Obviously, the June 28 Letter preceded the September 21 Research Report. We therefore ask you to reconsider your June 28 Letter in light of the Research Report. Alternatively, could you kindly:
* Refer us to the research study or studies that, in a mathematically proper and rigorous fashion, empirically validate a quantitative relationship between rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and global temperatures as reflected in all thirteen major data sets as used in the Research Report. Such a study must be very clear as to the analysis process and data utilized and must be able to be replicated.
* Refer us to the research study or studies that definitively empirically validate the so-called Tropical Hot Spot that is a critical underpinning of the “lines of evidence” on which EPA says it relies for its Endangerment Finding. (The term “Tropical Hot Spot” refers to the hypothesized warming pattern whereby increasing greenhouse gas concentrations cause the tropical mid-troposphere to warm more rapidly than the lower troposphere, which in turn warms more rapidly than the surface.)
* Refer us to the research study or studies that definitively empirically demonstrates that there is statistically significant warming to account for in the global troposphere after controlling for ENSO [El Nino/La Nina] effects.
In closing, we wish to remind you of the well-known quote from noted physicist Richard Feynman:
“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”As a leader of a major scientific society, you of course realize that Feynman’s aphorism captures the essence of the scientific method that underlies the entire project of science, including all of the work of your organization and its members. If you as a scientific society are going to use your authority to advocate for a government policy agenda, the American people are entitled to know the specific empirical work that validates your scientific hypothesis that greenhouse gases are warming the planet. Also, if there is apparently definitive empirical research, such as the Research Report, that would seem to invalidate the principal hypotheses that underlie your policy advocacy, the American people are entitled to your definitive refutation of that work before you continue your policy advocacy.
In short, if you have mathematically rigorous empirical validation of the hypotheses that underlie your advocacy, kindly provide it. If you do not, kindly say so.
Very truly yours,
Law Office of Francis Menton
85 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, New York 10004