Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media

By Patrick J. Michaels | Go to book overview

10
The “National Assessment” Disaster

Finally, we come to the capstone document resulting from the inevitable culture of global warming distortion (discussed extensively in Chapter 11), the U.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change (also known as the U.S. National Assessment and the USNA), published right around election time, 2000.


10.1 Overview of the “National Assessment of Climate Change”

The USNA began with a January 1998 letter to the National Science Foundation's Global Change Research Subcommittee chair from John Gibbons, Assistant to President Clinton for Science and Technology. Gibbons was a popular speaker on the university circuit, lecturing on the evils of rapid population growth, resource depletion, environmental degradation and, of course, global warming. His visual aids included outdated population and resource projections from Paul Ehrlich in which “affluence” was presented as the cause of environmental degradation, a notion that has been discredited for decades (after all, environmental protection and low population growth correlate highly with per capita income). Gibbons's material on climate change was also dated, assuming growth rates for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that were known to many scientists to be gross overestimates at the time the USNA was in production (see Chapter 2).

In his capacity as the president's science adviser, Gibbons also led the National Science and Technology Council, which was established by President Clinton in November 1993. According to the USNA, “This cabinet-level council is the principal means for the President to coordinate science, space, and technology policies across the Federal Government.” Further, “[M]embership consists of the Vice President [Al Gore], the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology [John Gibbons], Cabinet Secretaries and Agency Heads with significant science and technology responsibilities, and

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