date: Thu Jul 31 16:12:47 2003
from: Tim Osborn <t.osbornatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: Climate Research resignations
to: "Rob Wilby" <rob.wilbyatXYZxyzironment-agency.gov.uk>
did you know that Hans von Storch and Clare Goodess (and one other) resignations from
Climate Research have made the Wall Street Journal and the US Senate?!
are you considering your position?
July 31, 2003
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DEBATING GLOBAL WARMING
Global Warming Skeptics
Are Facing Storm Clouds
By ANTONIO REGALADO
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
A big flap at a little scientific journal is raising questions about a study that has
been embraced by conservative politicians for its rejection of widely held
The study, by two astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, says
the 20th century wasn't unusually warm compared with earlier periods and contradicts
evidence indicating man-made "greenhouse" gases are causing temperatures to rise.
Since being published last January in Climate Research, the paper has been widely
promoted by Washington think tanks and cited by the White House in revisions made to a
recent Environmental Protection Agency report. At the same time, it has drawn stinging
rebukes from other climate scientists.
This week, three editors of Climate Research resigned in protest over the journal's
handling of the review process that approved the study; among them is Hans von Storch,
the journal's recently appointed editor in chief. "It was flawed and it shouldn't have
been published," he said.
Dr. von Storch's resignation was publicly disclosed Tuesday by Sen. James Jeffords (I.,
Vt.), a critic of the administration's environmental policies, during a hearing of the
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee called by its chairman, Sen. James Inhofe
The debate over global warming centers on the extent to which gases released from the
burning of fossil fuels -- mainly carbon dioxide -- are trapping the sun's heat in the
Earth's atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect. The political fight has intensified as
the Senate votes on a major energy bill. Sens. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Joseph
Lieberman (D., Conn.) planned to introduce an amendment this week that would cap
carbon-dioxide emissions at 2000 levels starting in 2010 for select industries. The Bush
administration is opposed to imposing caps, and the measure isn't expected to become
The Harvard study has become part of skeptics' arguments. Mr. Inhofe, who is leading the
opposition to the emissions measures, cited the research in a speech on the Senate floor
Monday in which he said, "the claim that global warming is caused by man-made emissions
is simply untrue and not based on sound science."
The paper was authored by astronomers Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, and looked at
studies of tree rings and other indicators of past climate. Their basic conclusion: The
20th century wasn't the warmest century of the past 1,000 years. They concluded
temperatures may have been higher during the "Medieval Warm Period," the time during
which the Norse settled Greenland.
Dr. Soon couldn't be reached and Dr. Baliunas declined comment. In his testimony before
Mr. Inhofe's committee, Dr. Soon reiterated the findings of his study, which was partly
funded by the American Petroleum Institute.
Dr. Soon's findings contradict widely cited research by another scientist, Michael E.
Mann of the University of Virginia. Dr. Mann's reconstruction of global temperatures
shows a distinct pattern shaped like a hockey stick: Temperatures stayed level for
centuries, with a sudden upturn during recent decades.
A reference to Dr. Soon's paper previously found its way into revisions suggested by the
White House to an EPA report on environmental quality. According to an internal EPA
memorandum disclosed in June, agency scientists were concerned the version containing
the White House edits "no longer accurately represents scientific consensus on climate
change." Dr. Mann's data showing the hockey-stick temperature curve was deleted. In its
place, administration officials added a reference to Dr. Soon's paper, which the EPA
memo called "a limited analysis that supports the administration's favored message."
The EPA says the memo appears to be an internal e-mail between staffers but isn't an
"official" document. A spokesman at the White House's Council on Environmental Quality
says the addition of the citation to Dr. Soon's paper to the draft report was suggested
during an interagency review process overseen by the White House.
Dr. Mann and 13 colleagues published a critique of Dr. Soon's paper in Eos, a
publication of the American Geophysical Union, this month. They said the Harvard team's
methods were flawed and their results "inconsistent with the preponderance of scientific
Then, last week Dr. von Storch was contacted by Sen. Jeffords's staff, which was looking
into the paper in preparation for Tuesday's hearing, where Dr. Soon and Dr. Mann were
scheduled to appear. After hearing from Sen. Jeffords, Dr. von Storch says he decided to
speed an editorial into print criticizing publication of the paper.
But publisher Otto Kinne blocked the move, saying that while he favored publication of
the editorial, Dr. von Storch's proposals were still opposed by some of the other
editors. "I asked Hans not to rush the editorial," Mr. Kinne said in an e-mail.
That is when Dr. von Storch resigned, followed by two other editors.
--John J. Fialka contributed to this article.
Professor Michael E. Mann
Department of Environmental Sciences, Clark Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22903
e-mail: mannatXYZxyzginia.edu Phone: (434) 924-7770 FAX: (434) 982-2137