NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Junk Science Belongs On Scrapheap

August 12, 2003

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has filed suite against President Bush to force the administration to obey the Federal Data Quality Act of 2001. The act forbids federal agencies from publishing information of doubtful scientific worth.

The offending piece of nonscience is a report titled "Climate Change Impacts on the United States," put out in 2000 by an office of the National Science and Technology Council (NTSC) during the Clinton administration. The report still appears on a federal Web site and in other federal publications and is used by environmentalists worldwide.

But it isn't science, says Investor's Business Daily -- according to climate experts:

  • The two climate models the report uses are the most extreme of the dozens available.
  • One predicts the sharpest rise in temperature; the other predicts the sharpest rise in rainfall.
  • But neither predicted the actual changes in U.S. temperatures through the 20th century:
  • Temperatures rose when the models said they should have fallen and fell when the models said they should have risen.

Patrick Michaels, Virginia's state climatologist, told a House panel in 2002 that a table of random numbers came closer to predicting what actually happened.

Before filing suit, CEI formally asked the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to withdraw the report, but it refused. It shouldn't take a lawsuit to do what good and honest government requires, says IBD, the White House should yank the report and every federal publication based on it.

Source: Editorial, "Clintonian Remnant," Investor's Business Daily, August 12, 2003.


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