John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist
Texas’s own state climatologist can find no scientific basis in his state’s effort to roll back the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that greenhouse gases endanger the public. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R-TX) filed paperwork to challenge the EPA endangerment finding yesterday, with the approval of Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX). Dismissing threats like sea level rise, droughts, and floods that global warming poses to Texas, the petition calls for the finding to be reconsidered, based on the argument that the EPA relies primarily on the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an institution guilty of “serious misconduct“:
Thus, in light of the serious misconduct the State has demonstrated—data manipulation, loss or destruction information, reliance on questionable source materials, abuse of the peer review process, suppression of dissent, conflicts of interest, and failure to comply with freedom of information laws—the EPA should grant this petition and reconsider the Endangerment Finding.
Abbott’s petition takes the “Climategate” conspiracy theories of climate deniers as fact, spinning a tale of “a cadre of activist scientists colluding and scheming to advance what they want the science to be.”
If there is such a conspiracy, it’s extended its tendrils deep into the heart of Texas. In an email interview, Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon utterly dismissed the attacks on climate science in Attorney General Abbott’s petition. After explaining that natural concentrations of greenhouse gases are essential to life on this planet, Dr. Nielsen-Gammon continues:
However, it is also apparent that if atmospheric concentrations of the six greenhouse gases continue to rise due to human influence, the Earth would eventually reach a point where there would be massive disruptions of ecosystems, changes in sea level, decreases in air quality, and so forth that would, in particular, substantially harm the public welfare of those generations forced to experience them. So 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.
Nielson-Gammon — who notes at his blog Atmo.Sphere that he did not participate in preparing the petition — also concludes that the IPCC, United States Global Change Research Program, and National Academy of Science reports on climate change are the “most comprehensive, balanced assessments of climate change science presently available”:
Do I think that the EPA based its assessment on sound science? I think, by basing its assessments on the IPCC, USGCRP, and NAS reports, it was basing its assessments on the best available science. I have the expertise to independently evaluate the quality of these reports, and on the whole they constitute in my opinion the most comprehensive, balanced assessments of climate change science presently available.
Although he expressed concerns with the potential cost of greenhouse gas emissions controls, and believes that climate science has “a tendency to focus on the risks and bad consequences of global warming” instead of “potential benefits,” he knows of no reason to doubt that the planet is warming, that greenhouse gases are involved, and that sea levels are rising.
Full text of email interview with Dr. Nielsen-Gammon: